Indignation and horror
Trump’s NATO threats alarm politicians
February 12, 2024, 6:05 p.m
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Trump is questioning the assistance pact and causing outrage. Sharp criticism comes from Germany and NATO. Trump is “unpredictable, unscrupulous and unreliable,” says the German government’s transatlantic coordinator, Michael Link. More military spending is now required.
Statements by US presidential candidate Donald Trump about NATO support have met with sharp criticism in Germany. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said during a visit to Cyprus in the capital Nicosia: “These statements are irresponsible and even play into Russia’s hands.” Nobody in the alliance could have an interest in this. Several foreign policy experts expressed alarm. The federal government made it clear that it is continuing to build on a functioning alliance.
Previously, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had criticized the former US president’s statements about not defending defaulting NATO allies in the event of re-election. “Any suggestion that allies will not defend themselves undermines all of our security, including that of the United States, and puts U.S. and European soldiers at increased risk,” Stoltenberg said in Brussels.
Deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said that Trump’s statements had “of course been noted”. She: “In its security and defense policy, the Federal Government clearly relies on the transatlantic alliance and the transatlantic community of values and sees its security guaranteed in NATO.”
Former US President Donald Trump and current Republican presidential candidate has sparked criticism and calls for more military spending with his threat to withdraw American protection from a Russian attack from unpopular European countries. In Europe, his statements were also seen as a wake-up call to do more.
Germany must do its homework to strengthen the location and its own defense capability. FDP leader and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner said this during a visit to London. “I am convinced that the transatlantic partnership is in the overriding interest – no matter who is in power in the White House.” If Germany does its homework, it will also be interesting as a partner for the USA. The same applies to Europe.
Threat to common security
The Green Party leader Omid Nouripour reacted with dismay to Trump’s statements about NATO’s obligation to provide assistance. Unfortunately, the statements did not surprise him, said Nouripour. Trump has often made similar statements, including regarding his “emotional closeness” to Russia. Nevertheless, this is and remains a threat to common security and “reckless towards NATO”. The defense alliance plays a central role in the security of both the USA and Europe.
Nevertheless, the co-leader of the Green Party emphasized: “In an emergency, the European Union and the European states must also be able to defend themselves.” Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the EU has shown time and again that it stands together when in doubt and is capable of acting. “This is extremely gratifying, and we will have to expand this ability to act. And we will also have to stand by one another, regardless of the outcome of the elections in the USA.”
Steinmeier said in a press conference with Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulidis that there was an election campaign in the USA: “Some things are provocative. But even if they are provocative, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take them seriously.” At the same time, he appealed to Europeans not to act as if the election in the USA had already been decided. During his term in office, Trump repeatedly accused Germany of spending too little money on defense.
“Unpredictable, unscrupulous and unreliable”
The Federal Government’s Transatlantic Coordinator, Michael Link of the FDP, told the “Tagesspiegel” “Donald Trump’s erroneous statements about the US’s treaty obligations in the event of an attack on a NATO member prove once again how unpredictable, unscrupulous and unreliable he is. ” Green Party leader Omid Nouripour described the statements as threatening to common security and “reckless towards NATO”.
Former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the statement was like an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to test the defense alliance. “He won’t test us in Germany, but perhaps in the Baltics,” warned the SPD politician on Deutschlandfunk.
CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen said a Trump victory in the presidential election in the fall would plunge NATO into a crisis. “Anyone who, in his opinion, does not pay enough will not be protected by the USA,” he told “Bild”. Germany must therefore “understand that we will soon have no choice but to defend ourselves at a time when there is war in Europe. We have to do this as Europeans, because anything else would be a capitulation to Putin were.”
Federal government committed to the two percent target
On behalf of the federal government, spokeswoman Hoffmann basically pointed out that Germany is now meeting NATO’s two percent target for defense spending. “We rely on a strong and capable NATO,” she said. And: “We are now committed to the two percent target and are also determined to continue to adhere to it. And we are very aware of the dangers that an imperialist Russia poses for Europe and what this also means for Germany’s and the country’s defense capability NATO means.”
The NATO countries agreed in 2014 to spend two percent of their economic output on defense by 2024. The federal government says it will achieve this goal in 2024, also thanks to the 100 billion euro special loan for the Bundeswehr. Finance Minister Christian Lindner had also assured that this would remain the case beyond 2028, when the money from the special pot has been spent.