If the New York businessman Donald Trump, who tonight is to accept the Republican nomination for president, would be elected in November, he wouldn’t automatically rush to NATO allies’ aid, he said in an interview.
In an interview with the New York Times, published on Wednesday, Trump questioned whether he, as president, would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back.
When the newspaper asked him about Russia’s threatening activities that have unnerved Estonia and the Baltic States, Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us”.
“If they fulfil their obligations to us, the answer is yes,” he then added, without specifying which “obligations” he exactly had in mind.
Along the same lines, the former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, a staunch Trump ally in the Republican Party and this year’s presidential campaign, today on “CBS This Morning” programme said “Estonia is in the suburbs of St Petersburg”.
“The Russians aren’t going to necessarily come across the [Estonian] border militarily,” Gingrich said. “The Russians will do what they did in Ukraine. 40% of Estonia is Russian. They’re suddenly going to say they’re being mistreated. They’re going to have a militia. I’m not sure I would risk a nuclear war over some place which is the suburbs of St Petersburg.”
According to Statistics Estonia, as of 1 January 2016, only 25.1% of the Estonian population are ethnic Russians.
Trump and his allies’ takeover of the GOP marks a significant change in the party’s line of defending American allies, especially the members of NATO that the United States, according to Article 5 of the NATO charter – the collective defence article – has promised to protect.
Cover: Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona, in March 2016. Courtesy: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia