Donald Trump’s latest campaign appearance continues to cause a stir. Both alliance partners and the EU reacted with consternation to his threats against NATO states that failed to meet their financial obligations. The Kremlin, on the other hand, currently sees no reason to comment on the Republican campaigner’s statements.
He is still President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, “but not Trump’s,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow on Monday. On Saturday, during a campaign appearance in the US state of South Carolina, Trump questioned the obligation of NATO states to provide assistance in an attack on an alliance member state.
The 77-year-old told supporters that the president of “a great country,” which he did not name, asked him whether the United States would still protect the country from a Russian attack if it did not adequately meet NATO budget obligations . Trump then said he said, “No, I wouldn’t protect you. I would even encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay.”
White House: “Horrible and crazy”
The White House called Trump’s statements “appalling and insane.” NATO spoke of an “undermining of our security”. Any suggestion that the alliance’s states would not defend each other undermines the security of all members, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday. This also applies to the US. “This puts American soldiers and European soldiers at greater risk.”
The EU and Poland also criticized Trump’s statements. EU Council President Charles Michel said “reckless statements” about NATO security only served the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is necessary for the EU to become more independent, invest in its defense and show solidarity.
Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz emphasized that the NATO principle “One for all, all for one” is “a concrete obligation”. On the X platform (formerly Twitter), the conservative politician said: “Undermining the credibility of the allied countries means weakening the entire North Atlantic Treaty Organization. No election campaign should be an excuse to play with the security of the alliance.”
Berlin: “Hopefully everyone in Europe wakes up!”
Trump’s “misguided statements” would prove once again “how unpredictable, unscrupulous and unreliable he is,” the German federal government’s transatlantic coordinator Michael Link (FDP) told the “Tagesspiegel” (Monday). It is all the more important “that the EU and NATO prepare for all possible scenarios and do everything they can to make the EU and NATO more decisive and competitive,” Link added.
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag, Michael Roth (SPD), sees Trump’s threats as a wake-up call to invest more in defense. “Hopefully everyone in Europe will wake up now! Money laundering and burying your head in the sand is not a strategy,” he told the Tagesspiegel. “If Trump really returns to the White House, anything can be expected. Even with the worst.”
Green foreign politician Anton Hofreiter reiterated his call to lift the debt brakes to provide more money for the Bundeswehr. “Ultimately we need a new package of 100 billion euros,” the Bundestag president of the European Commission said on Monday.
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