Trump's NATO Criticism: A Reagan Upset

Former President Trump's recent remarks spark global concern

by Zain ul Abedin
Trump's NATO Criticism: A Reagan Upset
© Win McNamee/Getty Images

Ex-President Donald Trump had dared to mention a pretty controversial thing, as he had said that he would "encourage" Russia to attack NATO allies that are not living up to the financial commitments. His comment, during a Saturday night rally in South Carolina, provoked strong reactions from many Democrats and some Republicans.

Trump remembered an imaginary conversation with a certain foreign leader, asking himself on the account of the obligation to protect the NATO member country not contributing much to the defense. "If you're delinquent, why should we protect you?" he was telling himself, signaling his preparedness to let Russia do what they like with those countries.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) warned that this sort of tweet made by Trump on social media was of a magnitude grave enough to put the country in with regard to Russia. And in a similar tone, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) criticized Trump's comments, which he said could be damaging to the U.S.

relations with its allies and to U.S. national security. The bold position seems to be contentious compared to that taken by President Joe Biden in international relations and defense. "Biden, who has taken flak for his mental acuity since taking office, has overseen an administration that has taken aggressive steps to restore alliances abroad and combat domestic challenges from job growth to environmental protections," noted Rep.

Rick Larsen (D-Wash.).

Undermining NATO Stability

President Truman called the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, which established NATO, to guarantee mutual defense between the member countries. Suggesting what Trump proposed pulls the rug out from under a bedrock principle which has been such a pillar of international security for decades.

The White House called the comments by Trump "unhinged" and warned about the dangers of such rhetoric for global stability and the interests of the United States. European leaders also condemned the comments, including NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and European Council President Charles Michel, who said the comments were "surprising and unacceptable.

On the Republican side, there were mixed reactions to Trump's stance on NATO and his apparent warmth towards Russia. Some, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), played down the import of the comments, but others, such as former U.N.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ambassador Nikki Haley were noticeably not in approval. Former National Security Adviser to Trump John Bolton has warned of dire consequences of Trump's attitude to NATO should he be re-elected.