NATO Chief Claims Donald Trump’s Remarks ‘Compromise Our Collective Security’


The head of the Western military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has stated that Donald Trump’s suggestion that the US would not protect NATO allies who fail to spend enough on defence “undermines all of our security”. Stoltenberg also implied that such a stance puts US and European troops at increased risk. Trump, a Republican, had previously stated that he would encourage Russia to attack any NATO member that failed to meet the alliance’s target of spending 2% of their GDP on defence.

NATO members commit to defending any nation within the bloc that is attacked. President Joe Biden described Trump’s comments as “appalling and dangerous”, suggesting that Trump intended to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a green light for more war and violence.

Trump made his comments about Russia during a rally in South Carolina. He recalled a previous meeting with NATO leaders where he had rebuked a leader of a “big country” who was not meeting his financial obligations within NATO and had come under attack from Moscow.

According to NATO’s own figures for 2023 spending, 19 of its 30 member nations are spending below the target of 2% of their annual GDP on defence. However, most countries bordering Ukraine, Russia, or its ally Belarus, are exceeding this guideline.

Stoltenberg emphasised that NATO remains “ready and able” to defend its members and any attack “will be met with a united and forceful response”. He also stated that any suggestion that “allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security”.

Following Stoltenberg’s comments, Biden criticised Trump’s admission that he intends to give Putin a green light for more war and violence. Nikki Haley, Trump’s only remaining rival for the Republican nomination, warned against siding with Russia and Putin.

Trump has long criticised NATO and what he perceives as an excessive financial burden on the US to guarantee the defence of 30 other nations. Dr Patrick Bury, a defence and security expert and former NATO analyst, told the BBC that Trump was reflecting anger in the US that some European NATO countries were not spending 2% of their budget on the military, as NATO wants.

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, after Trump left office. He has since criticised the amount of US money sent to Ukraine, which is not a NATO member. The US has provided Ukraine with more financial support than any other country – totalling more than $44bn (£34bn) since the 2022 invasion, according to White House figures from December.

However, Republicans in Congress have blocked all new funding since the turn of the year, demanding tough measures to restrict migration into the US on its southern border. Trump celebrated that rejection during Saturday’s rally, saying the proposals made by President Biden had been “disastrous”.

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