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How does NATO’s principle of solidarity, which Trump is questioning, work?

Donald Trump has never hidden his distaste for NATO, but this is the first time he has been so radical. During a meeting in South Carolina on Sunday, the former US president criticized the functioning of the alliance, once again believing that member states’ financial contributions were too low compared to Washington’s.

He even hinted that if he were to win the presidency, he would not defend his allies if attacked by Russia if he felt the latter had not done enough to help the purse strings. “No, I won’t protect you. In fact, I would advise them to do whatever they want with you. You must pay your debts,” the ex-president insisted, angering his European allies.

Donald Trump is referring to the famous Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, according to which “an armed attack against a country or more NATO member countries (…) will be considered an attack directed against all parties.” In this scenario, each EU member state must assist the attacked country “by taking such action as it considers necessary, including the use of armed force.”

Thus, the United States could effectively decide not to respond if attacked by one of its allies. “It would be a geopolitical thunderclap because it would throw the United States out of the alliance, but it remains possible,” confirms General Jean-Paul Palomeros, who led one of the two states. 2012 to 2015.

But contrary to what Donald Trump is proposing, no ally should pay any “debt” to this organization or even to the United States. Since NATO does not have its own army, its strength depends on the national contingents of its member states: the more the latter invest in their national defense, the more they strengthen the alliance.

2% Directive

However, since 2006, member states have committed to devoting at least 2% of their GDP to their defense. But this is more of a goal than a real commitment: in 2023, only eleven member countries out of 31 will be able to fulfill it.

And contrary to what Donald Trump implies, “countries bordering or close to Russia and therefore most vulnerable to a hypothetical Russian invasion all have incomes above 2% and therefore are not bad payers,” recalls Lorik Henneton , lecturer at the University of Versailles. Saint-Quentin.

With the exception of the United States, spending by member countries has only increased since 2014, and even more so since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Lorick Henneton said the GOP nominee’s diatribe demonstrates “a kind of incompetence” because Trump “conspicuously has no idea how NATO works.”

But its withdrawal could have disastrous consequences: “The principle of solidarity is the basis of the alliance. But Trump is bringing uncertainty at a time when countries need certainty instead,” adds General Palomeros.

Source: Le Parisien

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