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Will encourage Russia to do whatever it wants if Nato allies don’t pay up: Trump

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WASHINGTON: Alarm bells are ringing in Washington’s traditionalist foreign policy establishment and in European capitals after former president Donald Trump indicated he would throw Nato allies under the Russian bus unless they paid protection money to US.
Although he made similar remarks during his first term and claimed he had got Nato countries to commit to greater military spending, Trump went much further during a rally Saturday, virtually threatening he would encourage Russia to attack them if they did not pay for protection.Treaty obligations enjoin Nato nations to spend 2% of their GDP on defence.
In language evocative of a mob boss running a protection racket, here’s how Trump related a conversation he claimed he had with a leader of a presumably Nato ally he did not name. “One of the presidents of a big country stood up, said, “Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?'” “I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent.'” “He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.'” “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You’ve got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”
The remarks alarmed the White House, which has hewed to a traditionalist foreign policy that adopts quiet diplomacy in these matters. “Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged – and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home,” the White House said, asserting “Thanks to President Biden’s experienced leadership, Nato is now the largest and most vital it has ever been.” “Rather than calling for wars and promoting deranged chaos, President Biden will continue to bolster American leadership and stand up for our national security interests – not against them,” it said.
At the same rally, Trump also railed against a Senate foreign aid bill to channel money to Ukraine and Israel, saying Washington should “give it to them as a loan.” The former president is tapping into growing scepticism and weariness in America, particularly among his MAGA faithful, about the US having to foot the bill for the security of its allies and partners, without taking care of its own borders that is being being overrun by illegal immigrants.
Trump torpedoed a recent bipartisan bill negotiated by his own party lawmakers that combined foreign aid and border security reforms, arguing that it effectively legalised entry of 5,000 illegal immigrants into the US every day, and calling it a “death wish” for his party. Trump loyalists have alleged that Democrats are deliberately facilitating illegal immigrants into the country to change demographics that will allow them to win elections in perpetuity.

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