Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, criticized Donald Trump’s recent comments suggesting that the US would not protect NATO allies failing to meet defense spending targets. Trump, during a rally in South Carolina, claimed he would “encourage” Russia to attack NATO members not meeting the alliance’s 2% GDP spending target.
Stoltenberg warned that such remarks undermine security and put US and European troops at greater risk. President Joe Biden called Trump’s comments “appalling and dangerous,” accusing him of giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a “green light for more war and violence.”
Trump recounted a hypothetical scenario presented by a leader of a “big country” during a NATO meeting, prompting him to rebuke and insist on payment before offering protection. The specific leader and time of the conversation were not disclosed. NATO’s 2023 spending figures reveal 19 of its 30 member nations spending below the 2% GDP target.
Stoltenberg emphasized NATO’s readiness to defend its members, but any suggestion that allies won’t defend each other undermines security. Biden expressed concern about Trump’s stance on Putin and Ukraine, while Nikki Haley, Trump’s rival for the Republican nomination, cautioned against siding with Russia.