The Obama Administration and Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton have come out in support of NATO, disapproving of Republican Donald Trump’s non-interventionist approach when he called for a review of US involvement in the 28-nation military alliance.
“It is a critical alliance for the United States,” the State Department Spokesman John Kirby said. “There are lots of relevant issues for NATO to consider and to contribute to and, frankly, to lead in,” he said, adding that the US is very committed to its role in NATO.
“I don’t see that changing,” he said, responding to Republican presidential front runner Trump’s statement a day earlier that the US needs to rethink its involvement in NATO.
“We are confident in the integrity of the NATO alliance. The Secretary has been very honest about the fact that we know that not all nations are contributing the two per cent of GDP that was required coming out of Wales to NATO commitments and other nations are. So we continue to support that requirement,” he said.
“But we also value the individual skills and capabilities that so many armed forces belonging to NATO bring to the mission,” Kirby said in response to a question. Meanwhile, Clinton also strongly backed NATO, underlining its importance in the wake of yesterday’s terror attacks in Brussels, incidentally, also the headquarters of NATO.
“I am a very strong supporter of NATO. It’s the best international defence alliance I think ever,” Clinton told CNN in an interview. Trump has argued that NATO is a big financial strain on the US and that its allies are not chipping in as much.
Responding to Trump’s criticism, Clinton said: “I think it would be a grave error to walk away from Europe, to walk away from NATO, to turn our backs on countries with whom we have a long history and shared values, and frankly, who we need to be working closely with as we defeat ISIS and other terrorist threats. I think NATO has a role to play,” Clinton said.
“I would certainly, as President and Commander-in-chief, be looking to define that role to make sure that the capacities, the tools and assets that NATO has are at the disposal of member nations, like Belgium, during this terrible event that they are experiencing,” Clinton said.
Advocating a light footprint in the world, Trump has said that the US involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years. “We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore. NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we are protecting Europe with NATO, but we are spending a lot of money,” he has said.