Trump called NATO "obsolete" - Europe is worried, Moscow is glad

Author : Rostyslav Hotyn

Source :

Inauguration of Trump as 45th US president to be held on 20 January and some observers say that the best thing we can do today is to wait for his actions at the presidency, rather than to respond to each of his statements, interviews or posts in Twitter
23:17, 19 January 2017

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US President-elect Donald Trump has already criticized the NATO, doubting that this organization meets the requirements of modern times, and by this action he immediately  caused positive statements from Moscow. Also, praising Brexit US president said that Britain might not be the last country of the EU, asking for withdrawal from the European Union. The leaders of NATO and the EU reacted critically to his interview, but there are also voices that call not to hurry with assessments and wait for the inauguration of new US President and his accession to office.

Moscow welcomed the statement of Donald Trump about NATO as "obsolete" alliance, while a key US ally in Europe - Germany - expressed concern about such a statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that "NATO is truly a relic (of the past) and we agree with that."

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Peskov also said that "given that NATO is centered on confrontation and the whole structure of it was created for ideas of confrontation, then of course one can hardly call it a modern organization that meets the criteria and ideals of stability, sustainable development and security."

NATO has repeatedly rejected Russian allegations that the alliance wants confrontation, saying that strengthening the eastern flank is a response from NATO to Russia's actions in the region, which frightened many members of the alliance. In particular we are talking about Kremlin's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Trump and NATO

Germany - one of the key US allies in Europe - has expressed disquiet over Trump’s statement. "My views on transatlantic relations are well known. The newly elected president again expressed his views. When he will enter the office - for now we are waiting for his accession to office - of course we will work with the US government. Then we'll see what cooperation we can establish ", said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In his big interview with British newspaper The Times and German Bild, which was published on Sunday, Donald Trump called NATO "obsolete”, but added that the alliance is still "very important for me. "

"I have said for a long time that NATO has problems. Problem number one - the organization is obsolete because it was established many years ago. Problem number two – member countries do not make financial contributions that they have to ", said Trump in an interview.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was in Brussels on 16 January said that the Trump’s statement is inconsistent and contrary to the fact about NATO that was expressed by the candidate for Secretary of Defense James Mattis during the Senate hearing last week.

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"The statements that are made in an interview by newly elected president, provoked surprise and concern here in Brussels and I think - I even convinced - not only in Brussels. I just had a conversation with NATO Secretary General Mr. Stoltenberg, and I can say that especially in NATO the statement of newly elected president was received with concern - his statement that he considers NATO as an obsolete organization. "

NATO reacted to an interview with the statement that the alliance is fully confident in the US commitment to European security. NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungesku said the head of NATO Jens Stoltenberg is looking forward to working with Trump and his team.

Trump and the EU

As to the other topics of the interview with British and German newspapers - Trump praised Britain for the fact that it comes out from the European Union, saying that "Brexit will end well" and that he wants to make a free trade agreement between the US and Britain.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson described as "good news" that the United States wants "a good free trade agreement with us." Spokesperson of the British Prime Minister Theresa May also expressed the same thoughts.

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Some senior EU officials rejected Trump’s compliments regarding Brexit and his words that other EU members may want to follow the British example.

"Brexit is not a good thing,”  said EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moskovichi, adding that the price of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU would be "significant" and that it will reflect the desire of other member states to follow Britain.

Margaritis Schynas, spokesman for the European Commission responded to interview of Trump: "I know that journalists usually complain when we say that we do not comment on comments. So I respond to this question with statement such as: "We have read this interview with interest."

Chancellor Merkel criticized Trump's prediction that other EU countries will want to follow Britain in its exit from the EU. "I think that we Europeans are creating our destiny with our own hands," said the German leader.

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"I think that the European Union will stand together. I am 100 percent confident in this. I respect the views of the future President of the United States, President-elect, almost president, but I think that the European Union will be all right, "- said the head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini.

Merkel, for her part, rejected Trump’s criticism of her migration policy. Trump in an interview called Merkel "a fantastic leader," but added that Germany "got the distinct impression" of the effects of her migration policy during the December terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, during which 12 people died.

"I personally look forward to the inauguration of the US president. Then, of course, we will work with him at all levels ", said Merkel.

Inauguration of Trump as 45th US president to be held on 20 January and some observers say that the best thing we can do today is to wait for his actions at the presidency, rather than to respond to each of his statements, interviews or posts in Twitter.

"I think the most important thing today is to keep quiet and wait until they (the new administration) will actually work, - said the Foreign Minister of Denmark, Anders Samuelsen. - I think we have to wait and go away from twitter diplomacy to a real politics."

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