During his first term as president, Donald Trump wanted the US to leave NATO. However, according to high-ranking sources, he was repeatedly persuaded by close colleagues within the administration not to pursue this issue.
Ahead of a potential second term in the White House, the outspoken Republican is already considering options to exit NATO – if his demands are not met.
According to Rolling Stone, Trump and his political allies are also contemplating how to “dramatically” reduce the American commitment to the military alliance and assume a much more passive role within the organization.
Donald Trump also wants to ensure that if he becomes president again, his administration will not be staffed with any “NATO-lovers”. According to sources, he is open to letting the US leave NATO entirely, but he could also consider keeping the US in NATO if the military alliance’s other members concede to several of his demands.
“This would include his desires for non-American members to further and steeply increase their defense spending, and for a reevaluation of the bedrock principle that an attack on one member is tantamount to an attack on all”, the newspaper writes.
Threatened to leave
Trump has previously openly criticized NATO’s Article 5, pointing out that it’s unreasonable for the US to go to war to protect what he sees as insignificant NATO countries, which most Americans have never even heard of. He has also stated that it would be utterly pointless to “start world war 3” for these countries by automatically sending American troops to them in the event of a crisis or war.
The president’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, also testifies about how Trump repeatedly threatened to leave the military alliance or significantly reduce American support during his time in office.
“In a second Trump term, we’d almost certainly withdraw from NATO”, Bolton commented in an interview with The Hill in August of this year.
Even during the war in Ukraine, Donald Trump has been very critical of the fact that the US bears most of the costs for NATO and Ukraine’s side – something he called “very unfair”. He has also informed representatives of other NATO countries that he will not protect them if they don’t pay their defense appropriations.
– He still wants out, says an anonymous Trump advisor, but adds that it’s unclear if he will really follow through with a NATO exit.
– But he wants a policy team around him nowadays that is much, much tougher on NATO than anything he’s done in the past.