Trump’s words on conditional defense shock NATO allies
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s hardline nationalist election rhetoric is reverberating far beyond US borders. His words, in a New York Times interview, regarding the possibility of conditional US support for NATO allies in times of need has evoked a strong negative response in Europe and sent ripples of unease around the post-communist bloc.
“If any member state comes under attack then Article Five on NATO's collective defense applies no matter what the given country’s contribution amounts to.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that while he had no wish to interfere in the US election, there should be no question regarding the validity of Article Five. “Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO,” he said. “This is good for European security and good for US security. We defend one another. We have seen this in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of European, Canadian and partner nation troops have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with US soldiers.”
“Our expectations are that, no matter who wins the presidential election in the United States, the country will remain a solid NATO partner.”
Mr. Trump’s words also elicited a response from Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaorálek, currently on a working visit to the United States. Mr. Zaorálek said that questioning the solidarity principle on which NATO stands is dangerous. “Tabling new conditions for providing military aid beyond the framework of the Washington treaty would amount to burying that treaty," he said. The Czech Foreign Minister also emphasized that securing NATOs common defense is not only in the interest of Europeans, but also in the interest of the US. “In the 20th century, the US left Europe twice and in both cases it had to return, but with far greater costs and sacrifices. We are living a common story and we should never forget this," Zaorálek said.