“President” Trump wouldn’t automatically rush to NATO allies’ aid

Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona, in March 2016. Courtesy: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia

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.

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Cover: Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona, in March 2016. Courtesy: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia

About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.

  • Charles

    God help us if he is elected…

  • Bane

    Various people in the US have criticized NATO members over the decades for their apparent lack of commitment and resources to NATO. This was mainly due to NATO members choosing to cut their military budgets to fund their domestic agendas.
    They did so knowing the US would pick up their slack, and like a bunch of naive school children we did.
    NOW….all of a sudden, criticizing NATO is a problem????
    Per the NYT.
    “”Defense Secretary Warns NATO of ‘Dim’ Future
    By THOM SHANKER JUNE 10, 2011″”
    SNIP
    “”BRUSSELS — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly criticized NATO nations on Friday for what he said were shortages in military spending and political will, warning of “a dim if not dismal future” unless more member nations scaled up their participation in the alliance’s activities.
    NATO has struggled for a generation to define its place in a post-cold war world, and its member nations have frequently quarreled about the scope of the alliance’s commitments and their individual responsibilities.
    With little indication of any change in policy among the more reluctant member nations — notably Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Turkey — Mr. Gates’s harsh words seemed likely to increase pressure on an alliance already deeply strained by differences over sharing the burden in Libya and Afghanistan.””

    • Bob

      Criticizing NATO is not the problem. Trump is willing to unilaterally ignore existing treaties. That is dangerous foreign policy and certainly does not support his claim that he is strong enough to deal with Vladimir Putin.

      • Bane

        First a disclaimer, I’m no fan of Trump.
        That said…..NATO has had problems for a long, long time as Sec. of Def. Gates pointed out and we’ve borne the brunt of NATO members preferring to spend their budgets of their various social agenda’s at the expense of NATO.

        He’s right to confront these governments and its about time somebody in the US told it like it is.

        “””That is dangerous foreign policy and certainly does not support his claim that he is strong enough to deal with Vladimir Putin.”””
        Excuse me.
        The EU is well on its way to creating its own Euro-centric military and supporting EU military command infrastructure.
        Fine by me, then we dont need NATO anymore…..the EU can take care of it on their own without us.
        Time for the US to move on.

  • Soviet Union

    If Newt Gingrich thinks that Estonia is a suburb of St Petersburg (not really an independent nation), is Poland a satellite state of Russia/Soviet Union? Estonia a suburb of a city in Soviet Union, or how to interpret his comments? Would he allow that? Perhaps Finland (my country, not part of NATO currently) would then also be a substate of such a country, USSR, and USA would not help any of these countries?
    I like that the threat of Islamism is taken seriously, but I do not like these comments about Estonia, etc. Estonia has suffered a lot when it was part of Soviet Union!

    • zick

      What if your country were a suburb of US?
      Like Texas once was.

  • Route 66

    I find Gingrich´s statement on Estonia utterly shameful. Writing from Prague…