Trump’s re-election “would dissolve NATO”

Trump’s re-election “would dissolve NATO”

On last Saturday US presidential candidate, and in fact, president 2017 – 21, Donald Trump sparked another transatlantic debate.

At a campaign rally on Saturday in Conway, South Carolina, Trump recounted what he said was a conversation with the “president of a big country”.

“Well sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia – will you protect us?” Trump quoted the unnamed leader as saying.

“I said: ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’ He said: ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay,” Trump said.

US magazine Foreign Policy reported about the statement with the title “Trump’s NATO Bashing Confirms Europe’s Worst Fears”.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg responded: “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.”

The “reckless” statement would “serve only Putin’s interest,” Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We have a hot war at our border,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Sunday, voicing concerns about whether the United States will show “full solidarity with other NATO countries in this confrontation that promises to last for a long time with Russia.”

Ben Hodges, former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, told NBC News that it was “disgusting and despicable that a former American president, and now a presidential candidate, would say something that is so dangerous for American security, as well as the security of our allies.”

The European press has started to debate about Trump’s statement – which actually comes as no surprise, given that he voiced similar demands during his presidency.

Some newspapers have an understanding with his position, others call Europe to wake up, while a third group sees the end of NATO on the horizon. And there’s of course who more than oppose him.

An example for the last group is the Czech newspaper Echo24 that calls Trump a “Mafia Boss”.

“Trump sees foreign policy as a pure business opportunity. He wants an immediate, tangible quid pro quo for American aid. And a quid pro quo that goes directly to him, Trump, would be even better. His behaviour resembles that of a mafia boss demanding ‘protection’ money. Long-term American strategies and interests elude him.”

The Polish website Onet.pl even thinks that Trump is after “signing a contract for s skyscraper in Moscow”.

“I don’t know which way America is heading. Looking at the Republican Party and its extreme aversion to strengthening freedom and democratic values in the world, I predict the worst. Europe must prepare for this. We have to assume that for Trump, signing a contract for the construction of one of his skyscrapers in Moscow will be more important than showing solidarity with Nato because he will make money with the former and not with the latter. Trump says this explicitly. And I believe him.”

The German Spiegel Online observes that “Putin’s Strategy is working”.

“Vladimir Putin has been beguiling the radical right not only in the US, but worldwide, for many years with much effort – and, as we now know, a lot of money. … Almost all the typical talking points of the radical right and conspiracy ideology scene in Europe and the US tie in with Russian propaganda narratives. … Just how useful this strategic influence can be is highlighted by what is happening now in the US Congress: When the goal is to prevent Ukraine from receiving further military aid, a lot of money and many hours of work by trolls and agents can be considered a small price to pay. Putin’s strategy seems to be working.”

Then, there are those who, though rejecting Trump’s statement, at the same time agree with it and call Europe to “wake up”. For instance, the Spanish El Mundo:

“After tweaking the data to minimize the EU’s contribution, he claimed that the US has allocated 200 billion euros to Ukraine, when in reality it was 71.4 billion euros. Nevertheless, his untruths do not absolve the EU of its obligations. The allies have agreed on the goal of spending two percent of their GDP on military expenditure by 2024. Galvanized by the Ukraine conflict, Russia’s neighboring countries have met this target which Spain will not achieve until 2030 at the earliest. The confrontation with Russia is forcing the EU to accelerate its commitment to defense.”

The British Spectator considers the statements as “useful”.

“Trump, as most people will have worked out by now, doesn’t really mean much of what he says. A lot of it is just bombast. He knows how to handle dictators because he shares many of their personality traits himself. … If his remarks do as intended and quickly jolt recalcitrant Nato members into action to beef up their defenses then hopefully the end result might be to make Putin less inclined to strike. Not for the first time, Trump’s sheer unpredictability may prove to have its uses.”

The Estonian Postimees says Europe “must do more for its defense”.

“To ensure Europe’s independent defense capabilities, EU countries should increase their budget spending on defense to three percent of GDP or more. … Both the EU and other NATO members should take defense more seriously, regardless of who is elected US president in the autumn. It would be most dangerous to hope that if Biden is re-elected, life under the US umbrella will continue as it is. … Europe cannot count on constant military support from the US, which has always had a habit of withdrawing into itself from time to time.”

Others meanwhile see a profound change on the horizon. His re-election would be the end of NATO, says the Italian La Stampa.

“Trump has said what he thinks about NATO. And if that’s what he thinks, that’s what President Donald Trump will do if he is re-elected. He will dissolve NATO. Europeans should be under no illusions. Without a firm commitment to collective defense in the event of aggression, and even more so without that of the main ally, NATO as we know it will be finished. And without NATO, the transatlantic bond that has held North America and Europe together for three quarters of a century will become a menu à la carte.”

Having won over the Republican Party and leading in the primary elections, a possible victory of Donald Trump is prone to raise the waves high in the Atlantic.

Yunus Soner

Political Scientist, former Deputy Chairman of Vatan Party (Türkiye) Soner has participated in diplomatic visits to China, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico, among others. He has conducted meetings with President Bashar Al Assad (Syria), President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Mexico), Manuel Zelaya (Honduras) and Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Finances and Representatives of Parliament from various countries. He has worked on Turkish-Russian, Turkish-Syrian, Turkish-Chinese and Turkish-Egyptian relations as well as on Latin America. Soner has had media participation in various international media channels, among them Russia Today and Sputnik (Russia), CGTN (China), Press TV (Iran), Syrian TV, El Mayaddin (Lebanon) and Telesur (Venezuela) and Turkish media. He has been a columnist to Turkish daily newspaper Aydınlık




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May 2024