Former President Donald Trumpwho have failed to meet their defense spending targets “put our entire security at risk”, NATO Secretary General Jans Stoltenberg said on Sunday.
At a campaign event Saturday, Trump recounted a story he told an unidentified NATO member when asked about his threats not to defend allies who weren’t meeting their defense spending objectives against an aggressor.
“‘You haven’t paid? Are you a delinquent? No, I wouldn’t protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do what they want. You have to pay. You have to pay your bills,'” said Mr. Trump recounted saying.
In a written statement on Sunday, Stoltenberg said: “NATO remains ready and able to defend all Allies. Any attack on NATO will result in a united and forceful response. Any suggestion that allies will not defend themselves undermines our entire security. including that of the United States and exposes American and European soldiers to increased risk. I hope that whoever wins the presidential election, the United States remains a strong and committed ally in NATO.
What are NATO’s defense spending objectives?
NATO Allies have committed to spending at least 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense to ensure their military preparedness. According to NATO data from 2023, 19 of NATO’s 30 members spend less than that, although most NATO countries close to Ukraine, Russia or Russia’s ally Belarus Russia, spend more than 2% of their GDP on defense.
Finland, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all spend between 2.3% and 2.7% of their GDP on defense, while Poland spends more than 3.9%.
The United States spent 3.49% of its GDP on defense spending in 2023, according to NATO figures.
President Biden condemned Trump’s comments, saying “Donald Trump admitted that he intended to give Putin the green light for more war and violence, to continue his brutal assault on a free Ukraine, and to extend its aggression to the Polish people and the Baltic States.” , [is] terrible and dangerous. »
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday: “Let’s be serious. NATO cannot be an à la carte military alliance, it cannot be a military alliance that functions according to the daily mood of the American president.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Zalewski said Mr Trump’s comments were “very worrying”.
“He rightly calls on member countries to spend more on defense, but he also calls on Russia to attack. It’s completely incomprehensible,” Zalewski told POLITICO newspaper.
European Council President Charles Michel said in a statement on social media that “the Transatlantic Alliance has supported the security and prosperity of Americans, Canadians and Europeans for 75 years. Reckless statements about NATO security and solidarity under Art 5 serve “only Putin’s interest. They do not bring more security or peace to the world.” Michel said such remarks “reemphasize the need for the EU to urgently develop its strategic autonomy and invest in its defense. And to keep our alliance strong.”
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