According to Diario De Noticias, quoted by Rador Radio Romania, even before his inauguration as president in January 2017, Donald Trump had already shaken NATO more than any of his predecessors in the White House.

Donald Trump in the election campaignPhoto: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press / Profimedia Images

As a candidate, he said he considered it an “outdated” organization, questioning the weight of the United States’ contribution compared to European countries and Washington’s willingness to abide by NATO’s sacred Article 5 – to defend any ally under attack, saying it would depend on the appropriate ally and from whether it has “fulfilled its financial obligations”, alluding to the 2% of GDP spent on the defense of the Allies.

This weekend, as a candidate again, the Republican showed his disdain for the organization again, saying that if he is re-elected president of the United States, he will push Russia to do what it wants with countries that owe money to NATO.

At a rally in South Carolina on Saturday, Donald Trump retold the story of how an unnamed NATO leader asked him about the threat of not defending countries that failed to meet the Atlantic alliance’s funding plan. “One of the presidents of a great country stood up and said:

“Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we get attacked by Russia, are you going to defend us?” the Republican reported, before releasing his response: “No, I’m not going to defend you. In fact, I will encourage them to do whatever they want. You must pay your debts. You didn’t pay, you’re a criminal,” Trump added, recalling the episode.

Donald Trump’s favorite weapon of attack on NATO and the participation of the United States in the organization is related to the contribution of each country to its budget, pointing the finger at European countries. But the truth is that the former US president has a wrong view of how NATO funding works.

Since 2006, NATO countries have set a benchmark of at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product for defense spending by 2024, and member states have already increased their budgets since 2014, when Russia illegally annexed Crimea, a territory that is part of Ukraine. . And, according to Politico, 11 of the 31 countries met the 2% target last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — Poland became NATO’s biggest spender, with 4.2% of its GDP going to defense.

According to Trump’s version, there is a centralized NATO budget to which countries contribute, and its member countries, with the exception of the United States, fall short of the 2% target, forgetting that this is a guideline, not a binding rule, and refers to the budget of each country.

  • On the same topic: “We must send a clear message”: how Donald Trump’s comments on the defense of “poorly paid” NATO countries were received in Europe

The only time Article 5 was activated

This is not the first time that Trump has threatened the United States not to defend its NATO allies in the event of an attack by Russia. Speaking at the 2022 event, he recalled a meeting in which he told his foreign counterparts that he might not comply with Article 5 unless many member states increased their contributions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Politico also reported in January that Trump had already told the president of the European Commission in 2020 that the United States would not come to the defense of Europe if it were attacked.

“The only time Article 5 protections were invoked was in response to 9/11. Our allies then came to our aid, it would be shameful and disingenuous not to do the same,” Alina Polyakova, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis, told The Washington Post.

On top of all that, according to a January 2019 story from The New York Times, Trump has also come to consider a US withdrawal from NATO, discussing the possibility with his closest advisers. “I couldn’t care less about NATO,” he allegedly said, according to former national security adviser John Bolton’s account in his book, “The Room Where It Happened.”

Trump’s campaign website currently has this message: “We must complete the process we began during my administration to reevaluate the purpose and mission of NATO.”

  • On the same topic: Which NATO countries do not allocate 2% of their GDP to defense, and which keep their promises?

Increased risk

The White House reacted strongly to Trump’s proposal. “Encouraging the invasion of our closest allies by criminal regimes is disturbing and irresponsible,” said Biden administration spokesman Andrew Bates.

“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines the security of all, including the United States, and exposes American and European soldiers to increased danger,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, Diario De Noticias reported, citing Rador Radio Romania. .