Trump Unites Europe: Strong Criticism and a Call for Greater Military Autonomy

Almost all important officials of the European Union criticized Trump's statements that he would encourage Russia to attack countries that do not pay their obligations to NATO

by Sededin Dedovic
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Trump Unites Europe: Strong Criticism and a Call for Greater Military Autonomy
© Omar Havana / Getty Images

Recent remarks by former US President Donald Trump suggesting he would "encourage" Russia to attack any NATO member that does not pay enough for its defense have been met with disbelief and condemnation from European leaders.

Criticism came from all sides, and even the most loyal allies expressed their dismay at such statements. We remind you that Trump has previously stated that the USA may leave NATO because he does not see the purpose of the USA financing the rest of the alliance on its own.

Of course, this is not true, because other countries also receive funds according to their capabilities, and of course, considering the wealth of the USA and the allocation for armaments, the administration of the strongest country allocates the most funds.

There is almost no public figure associated with the NATO alliance that has not commented on such statements by Trump, and the Secretary General has also commented. "Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines our security," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with Norwegian TV channel TV2 on Sunday.

"I expect the United States to remain a strong and loyal NATO ally, whoever wins the presidential election," he added. Trump made the comments at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday, saying that during his presidency he had told NATO leaders that he would "encourage Russia to do whatever it wants" with allies that are "delinquent" in meeting the costs of defending a target.

These are outrageous statements that we have never heard from any US president. It is worrisome that such statements could have a background of their own, and that Trump just "ran out" with his statement. The President of the European Council agrees that these statements can have a positive impact on Russia and America's opponents.

"Impulsive statements about NATO's security and solidarity under Article 5 serve only Putin's interests," said European Council President Charles Michel. "They are not bringing more security or peace to the world," he wrote on Twitter, stressing the urgent need for the EU to further develop its strategic autonomy and invest in its defense to keep the Alliance strong.

Europe needs large investments in armaments in order not to depend on US aid. Large funds and investments are needed, mostly from the richest countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The arming of Europe alone would not have a positive effect on the USA, because the USA would gradually begin to lose its influence in Europe, which was mostly based on the order from 1945 and the end of the Second World War.

President of the European Council Charles Michel, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, G© Sean Gallup / Getty Images

European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton also spoke out, telling French TV channel TF1: "We cannot gamble with our security every four years.

... American democracy is sick." Statements like this by European officials are quite worrying, if Trump wins this year's elections, we are in for a turbulent four years to come. The rift in NATO, and especially between the USA and Europe, corresponds to Russia, which will certainly try to regain the influence in Europe that it once had.

Germany's foreign ministry responded to Trump's comments by tweeting: "One for all and all for one." Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paveł Zalewski called Trump's remarks "very worrying." "He's right to call on member states to spend more on defense, but he's also calling on Russia to attack," Zalewski told Politico.

"This is completely incomprehensible". Poland is one of the few countries in the European Union that invests huge funds and a significant amount of its GDP in arming and modernizing the army. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, reacting to the statements of former US President Donald Trump, said: "In the time we live in, a military alliance cannot function based on the mood of the US president, it is not 'yes, no, tomorrow, no, it depends'" Come on.

"NATO either exists or it doesn't," Borelj said. He said that he will hear a lot of things during the US election campaign and urged reporters not to count on him to comment on "all the stupid ideas that will be said during the national campaign in the US." The reaction of European leaders underscores the seriousness with which Trump's statements have been received, especially regarding their potential implications for transatlantic security and NATO solidarity in the most difficult times since the Cold War.

Stoltenberg's reaffirmation of the importance of US commitment to NATO regardless of election outcomes surely reflects a broader sense within the Alliance that cohesion and cooperation must remain steadfast amid tensions with Russia. For a long time, one piece of news has not united Europe like this.

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