The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has responded to accusations made by Donald Trump that have raised concerns about the strength of NATO. In a statement, Scholz condemned what he referred to as the “relativization” of the alliance’s mutual defense clause, which he deemed dangerous and only serving the interests of Russia.
Scholz did not mention Trump by name, but his comments came after the former U.S. president suggested that the U.S. might not defend NATO allies against a potential Russian invasion if they were not spending enough on defense. “Any relativization of NATO’s guarantee of assistance is irresponsible and dangerous,” Scholz stated.
Following a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Scholz reiterated his stance on NATO’s defense clause, stating that it was only in Russia’s interest and that it was essential for Europe’s security. This echoed Tusk’s earlier statement in Paris and Berlin about the importance of strengthening Europe’s security and joining as allies against Russian aggression.
The controversy surrounding Trump’s remarks arose during a campaign rally when he suggested that he would potentially encourage Russia to invade NATO allies who were not meeting the defense spending target. NATO members are expected to dedicate 2% of their national income to defense, and Germany has been working hard to reach this benchmark after drawing criticism from Trump while he was in power. In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Berlin has increased its defense spending and is expected to reach the designated benchmark this year.