NewsTrump's controversial stance on NATO sparks backlash: Advocates Russian intervention for non-paying members

Trump's controversial stance on NATO sparks backlash: Advocates Russian intervention for non‑paying members

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Images source: © Getty Images | Bloomberg

2:45 AM EST, February 11, 2024

While at a political rally in Conway, South Carolina, Trump claimed that NATO was already "broken" before he assumed the presidency. He emphasized that all member nations should contribute 2 percent of their GDP towards defense.

He discussed a conversation with an unnamed NATO leader during the rally. Trump said the leader asked if the U.S. would come to their defense should they fail to spend sufficiently on their military and subsequently come under Russian attack.

"No, I would not defend you. I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever they like. You have to pay your bills," Trump replied.

Response from the White House

The White House immediately reacted to Trump's statement. "President Biden has rejuvenated our alliances and bolstered our global standing, understanding that every leader's first duty is safeguarding American citizens (...). Advocating for murderous regimes to invade our closest allies is horrifying and absurd, and it jeopardizes American security, global stability, and our economy," conveyed spokesman Andrew Bates.

Following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO countries agreed to raise defense spending to 2 percent of their GDP by 2024. The Guardian reports that only seven of the 31 member nations achieved this target in 2022. However, the pace of increase quickened after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Online Reactions Pour in: "Not Funny, Rather Frightening"

Trump's statement has led to a barrage of online reactions.

"This is insanity. Eight years on, Trump still doesn't comprehend how NATO functions!" exclaimed Michael McFaul, an American academic and diplomat.

CNN points out that the 2 percent GDP contribution isn't a legal obligation or a "bill to pay." Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty interprets an attack on any single NATO member as an attack on the entire Alliance.

Trump has been a vocal critic of NATO throughout his career. The New York Times revealed that he allegedly threatened to pull the United States out of the Alliance during confidential discussions in 2018.

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