THE WORLD

John Bolton: If Donald Trump wins, he will leave NATO

John Bolton was President Donald Trump's national security adviser. After just one year, he left due to disagreements with Trump. Now Bolton speaks in an interview about the danger of Trump's victory.

"If Donald Trump wins, he will leave NATO." This is what John Bolton is convinced of and he says this openly in an interview for the newspapers "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (München) and "Tages Anzeiger" (Zürich). According to Bolton, Trump was very close to the decision to leave NATO during the Alliance Summit in 2018. Trump "does not want European dependence on Russian gas and oil, nor trade agreements with the EU," says Bolton.

Trump's latest statement against NATO, Bolton says, should be taken very seriously. Trump complained that Europeans are not paying enough into the NATO budget and warned that if he became president in November he would encourage Russia to attack those NATO states that do not pay.

Bolton said that leaving NATO would be a disaster for both the US and the North Atlantic Alliance. But, Bolton added, Trump doesn't understand these things. "You can't convince Trump with arguments, because he doesn't care about content, but about attention. He wants the biggest headlines ever written for an American president: that he pulled the US out of NATO."

Bolton said Trump has no governing philosophy. He sees everything as a transaction where the decisive factor is how much Donald Trump benefits. Bolton suggests that the Europeans should think about how to coddle Trump to take his attention away from NATO. He said it is a shame that Europe and the US are not trying to harmonize common interests and values ​​in terms of security policies, not only towards Russia, but in a broader sense. Bolton recalled that it is not only Trump who criticizes the Europeans; even Obama, said Bolton, compared the Europeans to "freeriders", which in the vocabulary of politics falls on him: a person who benefits from the other without contributing.

With Russia's attack on Ukraine, the geopolitical situation has changed dramatically, Bolton says, so he proposes that NATO countries increase their defense budget to 5 or 6 percent of gross domestic product. For years, the USA has been insisting that the Europeans pay at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product to the NATO budget. Bolton proposes to double that amount.

Bolton criticized the current approach of the Americans and Europeans towards Ukraine. "The West has done little for Ukraine. The weapons were sent little by little and after long debates. This has made a strategic war impossible, so the fronts are frozen. Why did this happen? Because we have often heard from Joe Biden that he does not want an expansion of the war. We are allowing ourselves to be intimidated by Russia, while we have failed to prevent Putin's invasion. This fear has prolonged the war. As for strategy: whoever misjudges the type of conflict is unable to react properly. I call this the biggest mistake of Joe Biden's government," Bolton emphasized.