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Trump questions the core of NATO: Mutual self-defense



Montenegro was not a country that Mr. Trump normally discussed. During a NATO conference last year, video footage showed Mr Trump driving Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic away as he headed to a photo shoot of NATO leaders. Trump has been accused of gross misunderstanding of NATO's functioning, and he has distanced himself from the agreement by saying that he was in power before taking office. Trump's main conflict with NATO is his belief that the United States pays more for defense than other member countries.

"It was very unfair, they did not pay, so not only did we pay the most, but they did not even pay and we protect them," Mr. Trump said to Mr during an interview recorded on Monday Carlson aired Tuesday night. "Add that to your little equation to Montenegro."

Certainly, respected national security officials in previous governments have warned against giving NATO membership to new, smaller nations in a way that would not really enhance the security of the United States the Alliance as a whole

Robert M. Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense for former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, pleaded in 2008 for the importance of an unwavering commitment to Article 5 of the Alliance's Mutual Defense Agreement, which binds all NATO partners

But without Noting special nations, he noted the potential danger of new members joining the Alliance and taking increased risks. At the time, there was a debate over whether Georgia should be part of NATO. Russia and Georgia went to war in 2008, and Russia has since occupied parts of the country.

"We need to be careful about the commitments we make, but we must be prepared to honor the commitments we've made," Gates said. "In the case of NATO, Article 5 has to mean what it says: as the Allied forces fighting in Afghanistan can attest, NATO is neither a talk shop nor a renaissance weekend on steroids."


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