Three former U.K. generals and an admiral recently warned of a possible Russian invasion or aggression if President-elect Donald Trump pulls the U.S. out of NATO as he has suggested he would.
Sir Michael Graydon, who used to head Britain's Royal Air Force, told the Daily Mail that NATO would not be able to fend off a Russian invasion of Eastern Europe without U.S. help:
We can expect Trump to be quite serious on this one, he will not forget it. If European nations do not raise their game then there are real concerns over the future of NATO. If the U.S. leaves NATO it would be absolutely disastrous and just what [Russian President] Vladimir Putin would like.
If a situation occurs in the Baltic where we need to take a firm stance, the credibility of this would be lacking without the U.S.
Gen. Richard Shirreff, NATO's deputy supreme allied commander for Europe until 2014, added:
We have to hope the rhetoric we heard during the campaign is rapidly replaced by a very sober and serious statement that if there is any question of a NATO member being attacked then Trump will without any hesitation or equivocation come to the defense of the country. Anything less would be really bad news for NATO.
Gen. Lord Dannatt, former head of the British Army, stated:
We’ve seen Donald Trump threaten all sorts of things, we should take that threat seriously. From a U.K. point of view we have to think about increasing our own defense expenditure. We should actually realize that Trump means it and states have to do more about their own role in NATO.
If the U.S. walks away, NATO ceases to exist, almost by definition, so we would have to invent something else. In the context of Brexit that is ridiculous.
In March, CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Trump if the U.S. should rethink its involvement in NATO, and Trump replied:
Yes, because it's costing us too much money. And frankly they have to put up more money. They're going to have to put some up also. We're playing disproportionately. It's too much. And frankly it's a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea. And everybody got together.
But we're taking care of as an example the Ukraine. I mean, the countries over there don't seem to be so interested. We're the ones taking the brunt of it. So I think we have to reconsider keep NATO, but maybe we have to pay a lot less toward the NATO itself.
Trump said during his foreign policy speech in April:
In NATO, for instance, only four of 28 other member countries, besides America, are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense.
We have spent trillions of dollars over time -- on planes, missiles, ships, equipment -- building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense -- and, if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves.
The whole world will be safer if our allies do their part to support our common defense and security.
A Trump administration will lead a free world that is properly armed and funded.