NATO Chief Raises Alarm over Trump's Russia Stance: Nations and Troops at Risk

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 02/12/2024
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg issued a warning in a statement on Sunday, citing former US President Donald Trump's derogatory remarks on member nations' nonpayment of their fair part of the alliance's military expenditures as a reason to undermine the alliance as a whole. 

He reiterated that the EU was still "ready and able to protect all friends," saying that "any notion that allies would not defend each other weakens all of our security, including that of the US and puts American and European forces at heightened danger." 

According to Stoltenberg, there would be a "unified and powerful reaction" to any assault on a nation that is a member of NATO.

He said, "I hope that the US will remain a strong and devoted NATO partner regardless of who wins the presidential election."

Speaking on Saturday to a rallying audience in South Carolina, Trump had implied that in order to teach a lesson about fiscal discipline, Washington would decide to leave a NATO member that had not paid its dues on its own in the case of an assault. 

"You failed to make a payment? "You are a delinquent?" the former president remembered asking the unidentified country. "No, I would not keep you safe. Let [Russia] do whatever the heck they want, in fact, I would say. You must make payment. You must settle your debts.

By 2025, members of NATO agreed in 2014 to dedicate 2% of their GDP to defense. According to its own calculations, as of last year, just 10 out of the 30 members of the bloc had fulfilled their responsibilities, and 13 of them were spending no more than 1.5% of GDP. 

Although the media mostly presented Trump's alleged threat as a menace to Poland and the Baltic nations, Warsaw topped the bloc in military payments last year, contributing 3.9% of GDP, which was more than Washington's 3.49% share. All three countries—Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia—contributed more than 2% last year, putting them far outside the reach of any hypothetical breach in mutual defense under a second Trump administration. 

The "hot conflict" near Poland's border with Ukraine, however, worries Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who wonders whether the US would stand "full solidarity with other NATO nations in this confrontation that threatens to endure for a long period with Russia."

In an interview with Germany's Die Welt on Sunday, the NATO commander encouraged countries to increase armaments production to wartime levels in anticipation of a "confrontation" with Moscow "that may last decades." His remarks resembled those of Stoltenberg. 

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has always denied that his nation is interested in invading any member of NATO, including Poland or the Baltic States. It was instead western governments "seeking to frighten their own populace with an imagined Russian threat," he told journalist Tucker Carlson last week.


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