Donald Trump said he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO member that fails to meet the Alliance’s financial obligations. The 45th US President, who is seeking a second term, made the statement during a campaign rally in South Carolina on Feb. 10, ahead of the state’s Republican primary.
According to Trump, “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’redelinquent?’”
“No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”
This, however, is not how NATO membership works: there are no “bills” or “membership fees” to be part of the alliance.
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The White House described the remarks as “appalling and unhinged.”
“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,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump alarmed Western allies by warning that the United States, under his leadership, might abandon its NATO treaty commitments and only come to the defense of countries that meet the Alliance’s 2% defense spending target.
Earlier, the German newspaper Bild, citing its own sources in the intelligence of a European country, reported that Russia might try to attack Europe in late 2024 or early 2025, when the United States will be “without a leader” and will be able to save European states only after some delay.
Read also: NATO official urges civilians in the West to prepare for ‘all-out war’ with Russia
On Jan. 10, French European Commissioner Thierry Breton said that Donald Trump warned the European Union in 2020 that America would not come to the rescue if Europe was attacked militarily.
According to the European commissioner, the former U.S. President also said that “NATO is dead” and that the United States would leave the alliance. Trump, according to Breton, made claims against Germany for allegedly underpaying $400 billion in defense contributions.
Trump’s open encouragement of one of America’s biggest geopolitical enemies, Russia, a country that is currently carrying out an unprovoked, genocidal war against Ukraine, comes as no real surprise. He has made it clear that he sees NATO as a drain on American resources by freeloaders. He has held that view for at least a quarter of a century, the New York Times reported on Dec. 9.
Read also: NATO reportedly wants to coordinate arms supplies to Ukraine instead of US
In his 2000 ghost-written book, “The America We Deserve,” Trump wrote that “pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually.”
As President, he repeatedly threatened a United States withdrawal from the alliance.
Western militaries, as well as civilians, need to be prepared for an ‘all-out war’ with Russia that may significantly affect their lives, Britain’s Sky News reported on Jan. 19, citing Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer, chairman of the NATO Military Committee.
Read also: Borrell: EU to deliver over one million artillery shells by year’s end
New intelligence shows that Russia is rearming faster than expected and could attack a NATO country within three to five years, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said on Feb. 9, Reuters reports.
NATO is moving forward with its plans to take over the coordination of arms supplies to Ukraine, which has been previously done by the United States, Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Feb. 9, citing government officials and diplomats.
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