Nato alliance protection: Trump ups the ante

Donald Trump said on Saturday that he was against Nato members benefiting from full protection if they fail to meet the alliance's spending targets and would not support such states if they were attacked by Russia. He added that in such cases he would encourage Moscow to do "whatever the hell they want". Europe's press voices concern in light of Trump's chances of re-occupying the White House.

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Echo24 (CZ) /

Like a mafia boss

Donald Trump's motto is "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", Echo24 observes:

“Trump sees foreign policy as a pure business opportunity. He wants an immediate, tangible quid pro quo for American aid. And a quid pro quo that goes directly to him, Trump, would be even better. His behaviour resembles that of a mafia boss demanding 'protection' money. Long-term American strategies and interests elude him.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Trump is lying but Europe still has to pay up

El Mundo partly agrees with Trump:

“After tweaking the data to minimise the EU's contribution, he claimed that the US has allocated 200 billion euros to Ukraine, when in reality it was 71.4 billion euros. Nevertheless, his untruths do not absolve the EU of its obligations. The allies have agreed on the goal of spending two percent of their GDP on military expenditure by 2024. Galvanised by the Ukraine conflict, Russia's neighbouring countries have met this target which Spain will not achieve until 2030 at the earliest. The confrontation with Russia is forcing the EU to accelerate its commitment to defence.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Jolting recalcitrant Nato members into action

Trump's statements on Nato protection are dangerous but could also prove useful, says The Spectator:

“Trump, as most people will have worked out by now, doesn't really mean much of what he says. A lot of it is just bombast. He knows how to handle dictators because he shares many of their personality traits himself. ... If his remarks do as intended and quickly jolt recalcitrant Nato members into action to beef up their defences then hopefully the end result might be to make Putin less inclined to strike. Not for the first time, Trump's sheer unpredictability may prove to have its uses.”

Spiegel Online (DE) /

Putin's strategy is working

The danger of the US Republicans delivering Ukraine into the hands of Russia is also the result of decades of efforts on Russia's part, Spiegel Online explains:

“Vladimir Putin has been beguiling the radical right not only in the US, but worldwide, for many years with much effort - and, as we now know, a lot of money. ... Almost all the typical talking points of the radical right and conspiracy ideology scene in Europe and the US tie in with Russian propaganda narratives. ... Just how useful this strategic influence can be is highlighted by what is happening now in the US Congress: When the goal is to prevent Ukraine from receiving further military aid, a lot of money and many hours of work by trolls and agents can be considered a small price to pay. Putin’s strategy seems to be working.” (PL) /

Saying what he thinks

Journalist Bartosz Węglarczyk worries on Onet:

“I don't know which way America is heading. Looking at the Republican Party and its extreme aversion to strengthening freedom and democratic values in the world, I predict the worst. Europe must prepare for this. We have to assume that for Trump, signing a contract for the construction of one of his skyscrapers in Moscow will be more important than showing solidarity with Nato because he will make money with the former and not with the latter. Trump says this explicitly. And I believe him.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Isn't Trump right though?

Lidové noviny tries to put itself in Trump's shoes:

“His statement seems to be a betrayal of the West and a gesture of sympathy for Putin. But isn't Trump - even if the way he says it is arrogant and rude - also right? The EU has 450 million inhabitants, the US 335 million and Russia 145 million. Europe's population is therefore almost on a par with the US and Russia combined. ... Europe prides itself on being the world champion of the green transformation. Why is it not just as ambitious when it comes to defence? That is precisely Trump's message.”

La Stampa (IT) /

His re-election would be the end of Nato

Europe should listen carefully, warns La Stampa:

“Trump has said what he thinks about Nato. And if that's what he thinks, that's what President Donald Trump will do if he is re-elected. He will dissolve Nato. Europeans should be under no illusions. Without a firm commitment to collective defence in the event of aggression, and even more so without that of the main ally, Nato as we know it will be finished. And without Nato, the transatlantic bond that has held North America and Europe together for three quarters of a century will become a menu à la carte.”

Adevărul (RO) /

The dream of full coffers

Adevărul fears that Trump's strategy could work at home:

“It's true that the US is Nato's biggest contributor. But Nato defends the free world, especially Europe, against Putin's imperial instincts. That's also in America's interest. Trump, on the other hand, takes a different view. Anyone who wants to be defended by Nato should pay the bills for this protection. The bills are issued by the American president - who else. Trump is already imagining huge amounts of cash flowing towards America. ... To top it all, there are a lot of people in the US who think like Trump and are hoping that they will also benefit from the stream of cash. It wouldn't be surprising if Trump won the election with this philosophy.”

Postimees (EE) /

Europe must do more for its defence

This debate is not just about Trump, Postimees believes:

“To ensure Europe's independent defence capabilities, EU countries should increase their budget spending on defence to three percent of GDP or more. ... Both the EU and other Nato members should take defence more seriously, regardless of who is elected US president in the autumn. It would be most dangerous to hope that if Biden is re-elected, life under the US umbrella will continue as it is. ... Europe cannot count on constant military support from the US, which has always had a habit of withdrawing into itself from time to time.”