“I don’t mind NATO per se, but it has to be reconstituted, it has to be modernized,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends” programme on Monday. “You know, we’re dealing with NATO from the days of the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. We need to either transition into terror or we need something else, because we have to get countries together.”
Trump, whom his rivals accuse of isolationism, has also argued the United States puts too much of its own money into NATO.
“We’re paying the lion’s share,” he said on Monday. “We’re spending tremendous amounts of money on something that was many, many decades ago, and the world has changed. It’s a different place.”
The US is contributing 22% of NATO’s €222 million civil and €1.16 billion military budget.
Trump’s top rival for the nomination, Senator Ted Cruz, has said his comments betray a lack of foreign policy knowledge.
“Abandoning Europe, withdrawing from the most successful military alliance of modern times makes no sense at all,” Cruz said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If Donald were president [and] he actually did what he said he would do, withdraw from NATO, it would hand a massive victory to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, a massive victory to [the Islamic State]. ISIS would be dancing in the street at the weakness and isolationism of Donald Trump.”
The third Republican candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich, appeared open to a discussion on rethinking the role of the alliance, using an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this week to call for a “dramatically reformed NATO”.
“Right now we think of NATO as a military organization,” Kasich said. “I think it needs to involve itself in policing and in intelligence gathering because, when we look at Europe right now, we find there’s so many holes and an inability of — their ability to get their act together.”