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Ex-NATO commander destroys Trump and Fox News host for questioning alliance

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The former commander of NATO forces smacked down President Donald Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson for questioning the importance of the alliance.

Retired admiral James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” the pair’s questions were ridiculous and ahistorical.

“It’s a treaty,” Stavridis explained. “We’ve made an international agreement. We have an obligation and it stood in place for 70 years.”

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Carlson and the president asked Tuesday night on Fox News why the U.S. should back tiny Montenegro, whose people Trump claimed were “aggressive” and might trigger a world war, but Stavridis said the reason was simple and important.

“By defending Montenegro, we buy the partnership of 28 nations that collectively have 52 percent of the world’s GDP,” Stavridis said. “By the way, the Europeans have the second largest defense budget in the world after the United States. Bigger than China’s and bigger than Russia’s.”

Stavridis, current dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said the U.S. had benefitted from the treaty possibly more than any other member state.

“They went with us to Iraq, to Libya, to the Balkans, to Afghanistan,” Stavridis said. “When I was a NATO commander I signed, sadly, thousands of condolences, about third of them to Europeans who died fighting because the United States has been attacked. The only time Article 5 has been invoked was after 9/11 — we were the beneficiaries of that. I think that’s a pretty good equation in terms of NATO.”

In an earlier segment, Stavridis compared Trump’s acceptance of a soccer ball from Russian president Vladimir Putin to a volleyball that served as a companion to Tom Hanks’ stranded character in “Castaway,” and the retired admiral clearly was disturbed by that image.

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“The big beneficiary is the guy who flipped the soccer ball to the president,” Stavridis said. “That’s Vladimir Putin, because that creaking sound you’re hearing is the transatlantic bridge between the United States, Canada and our European allies, and it’s creaking under pressure from Donald Trump.”

“That’s a very bad place for the United States of America to be,” he added, “because in Europe we find our greatest pool of allies, partners and friends, and to walk away from that is a big mistake.”

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Monster storm strengthens in Pacific, lashing Vanuatu

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A deadly Pacific cyclone intensified as it hit Vanuatu on Monday, threatening a natural disaster that experts fear will undermine the impoverished nation's battle to remain coronavirus-free.

Tropical Cyclone Harold, which claimed 27 lives when it swept through the Solomon Islands last week, strengthened to a scale-topping Category 5 superstorm overnight, Vanuatu's meteorology service said.

The cyclone is now packing winds of up to 235 kilometers per hour (145 miles per hour), prompting red alerts across several provinces.

It made landfall on the remote east coast of Espiritu Santo island on Monday morning and was heading directly for Vanuatu's second-largest town Luganville, which has a population of 16,500.

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COVID-19

Coronavirus: What you need to know today

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Here’s the latest coronavirus news from around the world:

No clear ‘Plan B’

Britain’s constitution offers no clear answer to the question now on many Britons’ minds: Who takes over if Boris Johnson gets too sick to lead the country?

Unlike the role of vice president in the United States, Britain has no formal deputy or caretaker prime minister, although Downing Street has already said that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will deputise if necessary.

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John Oliver busts Trump, ‘moron’ Jared Kushner and the GOP governors: ‘I pray you never show your face again’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver told Stephen Colbert in an interview that filming his show during the shutdown has been difficult because he has technological issues. He described it as being akin to a civilian being forced to land a plane. But the host managed to make it through to bash President Donald Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the governors of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

Oliver began by attacking Trump for praising himself for only 200,000 people, likely dying of coronavirus in the U.S. instead of millions.

"OK, setting aside the fact that leading disease forecasters are mystified at how Trump got to those numbers, trying to spin 200,000 deaths as a good job because it's not millions, is the most callous way to minimize the deaths of Americans imaginable," Oliver said. "Were it not for the fact that Trump responded to 9/11 on 9/11 by pointing out that he used to own the second tallest building in downtown Manhattan, now he owns the tallest. And the thing is, that wasn't just offensive, it wasn't even true."

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