The former president criticized and cautioned the NATO alliance, saying he would not support member countries failing to meet the spending target.
Here are the details of the news.
Donald Trump Warns NATO, Says He’d Let Russia Do as They Please
The United States former President Donald Trump appeared to threaten NATO’s existence in his presidential campaign on Saturday while claiming that he might not support European nations if Russia attacks them and allows Russians to do whatever they want.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an intergovernmental military alliance of 31 member states, 29 European and two North American, was formed in 1949.
The organization is based on the principle of collective defense, which means an attack on one member country is considered an attack on the entire alliance, and member states have to protect each other against a third-party attack.
Although a military alliance, it also has a political dimension.
Trump has frequently attacked NATO for the inadequate defense contribution made by member nations.
In his recent campaign rally in Conway, South Carolina, on Saturday, he warned NATO allies that he “would encourage” Russia “to do whatever they want” to countries who do not fulfill the trans-Atlantic alliance’s defense spending targets.
While speaking at a rally, the former president recalled a story he told about an unknown NATO member who went against him for his warning not to support members who do not meet the targets.
Trump said, “One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well sir if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’ He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No, I would not protect you.”
Trump then added, “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”
As per the NATO rules, members are required to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense.
Trump has long emphasized that the United States should not be a member of NATO as very few member nations have met the spending target on defense.
According to NATO estimates, in 2023, 10 out of 30 member states were close to or above the 2% target, while 13 were spending below 1.5% or less.
Trump said that if he gets elected in 2024, his support to the NATO alliance would be based on whether they adequately contribute to defense.
Many high-profile personalities have commented on Trump’s criticism of NATO at his rally.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.
“I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the U.S. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally,” added Stoltenberg.
The White House said, “Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged, and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home.”
The statement added, “Rather than calling for wars and promoting deranged chaos, President Biden will continue to bolster American leadership and stand up for our national security interests, not against them.”
Former South Carolina Governor and Trump’s opponent in the 2024 election, Nikki Haley, has also criticized Trump for his recent comments on NATO.
Also, read “Nikki Haley Loses to ‘None’ in Nevada Primary.”
She described NATO as a success story for the last 75 years, saying, “Now, we want NATO allies to pull their weight. But there are ways you can do that without sitting there and telling Russia, have your way with these countries.”
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