Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s apparent conditional support for NATO allies sent shock waves around the globe Thursday, prompting reaction from foreign leaders, the US national security establishment and figures in both political parties.
Trump, in a New York Times interview, appeared to dismiss a foundational principal of US national security policy, when he said if Russia attacked the Baltic states he would decide to come to their aid based on whether those countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”
He added: "If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes."
Trump was quoted as saying he would force allies to share defense costs that the United States has borne for decades, cancel longstanding treaties he views as unfavourable, and redefine what it means to be a partner of the United States.
"The United States has always stood by its European Allies. Now the U.S. is stepping up its support once again, and increasing its presence," said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's Secretary General who added that for the first time in years, European members of NATO have increased their defence spending.
Trump's choice as his running-mate, Mike Pence, says he's confident that Trump would stand by the nation's NATO allies, but insisted those countries must now pay their fair share.
Pence told Fox News that a Trump administration would tell U.S. allies "the time has come for them and for their citizens to begin to carry the financial costs of these international obligations."