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NATO should prepare for US to leave – reports

Diplomats in Europe and beyond believe a Donald Trump reelection could lead to Washington quitting the bloc, the Telegraph says

NATO could face a serious risk of the US leaving the alliance if Donald Trump is re-elected in November, the Telegraph said on Saturday, citing several diplomats from the bloc’s member states. Europe’s NATO countries should develop some strategy to deal with the consequences of such an eventuality and reconsider the bloc’s defense capabilities, they warn.

The possibility of America’s withdrawal is a “concern,” one European diplomat told the paper. “Nobody knows what he’s going to do next,” he said, referring to Trump.

The former president secured his leadership in the Republican primaries earlier this week as he swept 14 out of 15 states at stake on Super Tuesday and got 995 Republican convention delegates’ votes. His only opponent, Nikki Haley, dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination soon thereafter.

He is now expected to face off against President Joe Biden in November since the incumbent American leader also came out on top in the Democratic primaries.

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Trump will leave NATO – ex Pentagon chief

Earlier, several former senior US officials claimed that a Trump White House could make America withdraw from NATO. Former US Defense Secretary Mark Esper made such a prediction in December 2023. According to him, Trump could start pulling US forces out of NATO countries, potentially causing “the collapse of the alliance.” Reuters also reported on such a possibility at that time.

In mid-February, Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, made a similar statement. “NATO would be in real jeopardy,” he said, adding that Trump “would try to get out.”

A European diplomat said that the rest of the bloc should “do the planning” for a scenario in which Trump follows through on such plans or just weakens America’s commitment to NATO. “Preparations need to be in place,” the paper’s source added.

Another official described NATO as “so overdependent on the US.” A “discussion” on hedging against risks of a US withdrawal was “necessary,” this person added. A third source quoted by the paper said European nations should check the adequacy of their own “defense planning” amid such risks.

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Russia is ‘a war machine’ – Trump

In the UK, similar concerns were previously voiced by Lord Kim Darroch, a former British ambassador to the US and a prime minister’s national security adviser. “If I were an official in any prime minister’s office around Europe, I would be commissioning the experts in government to start doing some contingency thinking about how a NATO without the United States would look and function – just in case,” he said in a piece he wrote for Prospect last month.

Trump himself has not made any comment lately about leaving the alliance. Instead, he said in February that he would not “protect” those NATO members that fall short of the 2% spending threshold in case of an attack, including by Russia.

Speaking at a campaign rally in South Carolina on February 10, he recalled what he described as a conversation with “the president of a big country” in Europe. When allegedly asked whether he would rush to the nation’s aid in case of an attack by Moscow, Trump said that if this nation hadn’t spent enough on defense, he “would encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want” to it.

Moscow itself has repeatedly denied any plans to attack a NATO member, adding that starting a global war would go against “common sense.”

 

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