For President Trump: Article V Is Not Transactional

Although two of his close associates said “of course” President Trump supports Article V of the NATO Charter, the President strangely refused to endorse Article V during his recently concluded Europe tour.

What does Article V say: the key phrase is the following: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them...shall be considered an attack against them all.”

Why is Trump behaving this way on such a crucial issue? He probably regards it as something transactional. He will endorse Article V when he gets his way: when the other NATO countries pay their share of the cost of NATO.

But Article V is not transactional. It is the strategic bedrock of the Atlantic Alliance guaranteeing, inter alia, that the United States will consult with the others on coming to the aid militarily of any NATO member that is attacked.

This casting into doubt of Article V — and Mr. Trump has done it before — leaves the frontier countries — Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria — in a new state of uncertainty as to the possibility of Russian penetration. Poland is too big to be swallowed --- again — by Russia.

Our President should make a categoric and binding statement in support of Article V. There can be no room for less than clarity.

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