The world "would be far less stable" if proposals floated by billionaire businessman Donald Trump are implemented as U.S. foreign policy, former Secretary of State James Baker told a Senate panel Thursday at the same time the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was meeting party leaders on Capitol Hill.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a former Trump rival in the presidential race, asked Baker what the world would be like if the U.S. left the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or let South Korea and Japan obtain nuclear weapons, proposals floated by Trump during the campaign.
FILE - Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker
"We've a got a lot of problems today, but we'd have a hell of a lot more if that were the case," Baker said. "NATO has been the foundation of peace and stability in Europe. The more countries that obtain nuclear weapons, the more instability there will be in the world."
Trump has been critical of NATO, arguing that the alliance no longer serves its founding purpose and that it is too costly to the United States. The presidential hopeful also has suggested that Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons if that means they could defend themselves independently from their adversaries.
The hearing, on "America's Role in the World," was called by the committee's Republican chairman, Senator Bob Corker, who praised a foreign policy speech Trump gave in Washington last month.
Baker was joined in the discussion by former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, who served under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2013. Donilon said he agreed with Baker's comments on NATO and South Korea, and he thanked Rubio for offering the "thought experiment."
"It's not just a thought experiment," Rubio of Florida responded. "It's actually been proposed."