Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Trump's Attitude to NATO Is Yet Another Gift for Putin to Savour

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Trump's Attitude to NATO Is Yet Another Gift for Putin to Savour

Article excerpt

WITH the poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, Vladimir Putin sent his most powerful message yet to the rest of the world - no longer is he playing by the rules.

As both father and daughter fought for their lives in hospital, the condemnation over the act of terror was swift.

It saw leaders from around the world, including Canada's Justin Trudeau, French leader Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, all united behind the people of Britain.

There was one, however, who showed a reluctance to say or do anything - Donald Trump.

Now it has emerged, just months after the Salisbury attack in March last year, the US leader began touting the idea of America withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

So concerned are politicians about what Trump might do, this week the Democratic-controlled House approved a bill that would reiterate strong support for NATO, stating that it is US policy to remain a member.

It comes as senior administration officials have revealed how, during the course of 2018, Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from NATO.

In the days around a tumultuous members' summit meeting last summer, Trump is said to have told his top national security officials he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he argues is nothing more than a drain on the States.

As well as arguing allies are not paying enough to maintain NATO, Trump's more worrying concern is that he views the organisation as an institution that has become outdated.

A withdrawal of America under Trump would be tantamount to dismantling the organisation and the ramifications would be long felt.

The news must come as a belated Christmas gift to Putin as there are few things the Russian leader desires more than the weakening of NATO.

For 70 years the military alliance between the UK, the United States, Europe and Canada has been the key deterrent preventing Soviet and Russian aggression, helping maintain peace around the world. …

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