Trump outburst on Nato may push Europe to go it alone and to consider its N-arsenal

Feb 13, 2024

Berlin: long before Donald trump Threatened over the weekend that he is ready to do so Russia Against “do whatever they want” nato Associates who don't contribute enough collectively protectEuropean leaders were quietly discussing how they could prepare for a world in which the United States removes itself as the centerpiece of the 75-year-old alliance.
Trump may now push the Europe debate onto a much more public stage. His statement stunned many in Europe, especially three years after President Joe Biden has repeatedly said the US will “defend every inch of NATO territory.” And while the White House has condemned Trump's comments, they have resonated with those who have argued that Europe cannot depend on the US to deter Russia.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, which comprises Europe's heads of government and defines their common policies, wrote that “reckless statements” like Trump's only serve Putin's interest. He wrote that they are making greater efforts to “invest in developing and defending Europe's strategic autonomy.” And in Berlin, Norbert Röttgen, a member of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee, wrote on Twitter: “Everyone must watch this #Trump video to understand that Europe will soon have no choice but to defend itself “
All this doubt is sure to dominate the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday and then the Munich Security Conference, the annual gathering of national security leaders, on Friday. In fact, that reassessment has been going on for months. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has started talking about how Germany should prepare for the possibility of a decades-long conflict with Russia. Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen has said that within 3 to 5 years, Russia may attempt to break the alliance by “testing” NATO's cohesion by attacking one of its weaker members. That others will not come to his rescue.
At its core, the ongoing debate in Europe turns on the question of whether alliance members can be assured that the US nuclear umbrella – the ultimate deterrent against Russian aggression – will continue to cover the 31 NATO members. Britain and France have their own small nuclear arsenals. If, next year, NATO's European members doubt that the US will remain committed to Article V of the NATO treaty, which declares that an attack on one is an attack on all, it will almost inevitably revive the debate over whether and Who Europe needed its own nuclear weapons – starting with Germany. This year, Germany will finally reach the goal of spending 2% of its GDP on defense – a target set for all NATO countries – several years later than first promised.

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