Donald Trump deals a blow to NATO and needs an assist for Vladimir Putin’s Russia, adding further tension to an already precarious international framework. The former president of the United States, who is aiming straight for the Republican nomination in the race for the White House, dusts off an old warhorse by pointing the finger at the members of NATO who do not invest 2% of GDP in defense.
The Donald, however, exaggerates this time. At the rally in Conway, South Carolina, Trump harangues the crowd by stating that he would not hesitate to “encourage” Russia to attack NATO countries that do not respect their financial commitments. A disruptive message, in a context characterized by the war between Ukraine and Russia, with Kiev waiting for weapons from the USA to continue resisting Putin’s offensive. , in Washington, where Trump’s influence is being felt on a group of Republicans.
The former president shocks the Atlantic Alliance by saying that in the past, in a NATO meeting, he confided to another head of state that the United States under his leadership would not defend any country considered “delinquent”. “The president of a great country stood up and said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay, and if we’re attacked by Russia, who’s going to protect us?’” Trump responded on that occasion: “You don’t pay, you’re a criminal. Nobody would protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay, You have to pay your bills.”
Trump’s ‘exploit’ forces the White House to immediately rush to make adjustments, at an already complicated moment for President Joe Biden as he seeks to contain Israel’s strategy in Gaza. “Encouraging the invasion of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and insane and harms our national security, global stability and our economy,” says White House spokesman Andrew Bates. On the other hand, it is noted, the trend with respect to Trump’s denunciation has changed. By 2022, seven Allied countries (now 31) spent at least two percent of their GDP on defense. There were only three in 2014.
The secretary general of NATO also replies to Trump – and above all. “NATO remains ready and able to defend all allies, any attack on NATO will have a strong and united response,” says Stoltenberg, with words that respond in particular to the needs of Poland and the Baltic countries. Putin, on the other hand, in the recent interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson stated that – or Latvia. Reassurances which, needless to say, have no value for the Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian leaders.
“Any statement that allies will not defend each other undermines our entire security, including that of the United States – adds Stoltenberg in a statement – and puts American and European soldiers even more at risk. I expect that, regardless of who wins the presidential election, the United States remains a strong and committed NATO ally.”