Author: Rohan Malpure Date: 6-12-17
On Friday, President Donald Trump said that he backed the NATO charter’s demand that all members nations should be prepared to defend each other. He made this statement at a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. This requirement is found in Article 5 of the NATO charter.
“I’m committing the United State to Article 5,” said Trump. “And certainly, we are there to protect and that’s one of the reasons that I want people to make sure we have a very, very strong force by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force. But yes, absolutely, I’d be committed to Article 5.”
In May, during a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Trump did not mention U.S. support for Article 5. This worried a number of American allies. Instead, Trump used the speech to demand that member nations pay more for the alliance’s defense. Later, a senior White House official said that the U.S. did support Article 5 simply by agreeing to the charter. Vice President Mike Pence also expressed U.S. support for the charter.
Politico reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Lt. General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, had all lobbied for Trump to voice support for the article in his speech at Brussels, but it ultimately did not happen.
Article 5 states that “an armed attack against one of more” members in Europe or North America “shall be considered an attack against them all.” According to The New York Times, this article has been the bedrock of trans-Atlantic relationship for nearly seventy years.
Trump used the meeting with Iohannis to repeat his insistence that NATO allies increase their military spending. Not counting Montenegro, which just joined NATO, only five of 28 members devoted at least 2% of their economic output to their militaries in accordance with a NATO goal. Iohannis promised to raise his country’s military spending to 2%.
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