On Thursday Donald Trump eased a lot of jangled nerves by declaring in Warsaw that the United States stood firmly behind NATO and a united Europe.
Trump specifically cited Article 5 of the NATO treaty guaranteeing mutual defense in his words.
“I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment,” said Trump. The line prompted wild applause from Trump’s Polish audience who maintain a wary post-Communist relationship with Russia.
The words didn’t come easily, however, and were couched in a defense of Trump’s zealous committment to forcing NATO members to contribute more toward the alliance’s defense costs.
In addition to that, Trump also took a passing swipe at Russia, dinging Poland’s eastern neighbor and urging the country to “cease its destabilizing activities” in Syria and elsewhere.
Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet face-to-face for the first time on Friday on the sidelines of the G-20. Trump’s remarks in Warsaw can only be taken as an attempt to set the tone for his discussions with the wily Russian autocrat.
The strong case for Europe from the President of the United States comes in stark contrast to Trump’s last European visit in which he publicly upbraided NATO members for not ponying up more towards defense costs. During those remarks in the EU capitol of Brussels, Trump made no mention of Article 5 and according to some accounts specifically removed the language from his prepared statement.
[image via screengrab]
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