Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has said that the United States, under his leadership, may not come to the defence of some Nato members, if Russia were to attack them.
Trump said he would decide whether to protect the Baltic republics against Russian aggression, based on whether those countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”
He made the comments in an interview with The New York Times, before he was to formally accept the Republican nomination for president.
Trump’s remarks about US obligations, under Nato, to come to the aid of other members of the 28-nation alliance, are in line with his questioning of the United States’ global role.
In 2014, the 28-member alliance created a rapid-reaction force to protect the most vulnerable Nato members from a confrontation with Russia.
Trump also said in the Times interview that he would not criticise Turkey for cracking down on political opponents and restricting civil liberties, following last week’s attempted coup.
Of Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said: “I give great credit to him for being able to turn that around. ... Some people say that it was staged, you know that. I don’t think so.”
The US has no “right to lecture” Turkey, and other countries, when “people are shooting policemen in cold blood,” Trump said.
With decades in business and no prior political experience, Trump cast the projection of American military might abroad in economic terms.
For example, he said it might not be necessary to station American troops abroad, though he agreed that it would be preferable.
“If we decide we have to defend the United States, we can always deploy” troops from the US, Trump told the newspaper, “and it will be a lot less expensive.”
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