German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pushed back against accusations by Donald Trump that have led to concerns about the strength of NATO. In a statement, he spoke out against what he called the “relativisation” of the alliance’s mutual defense clause, deeming it dangerous and only serving Russia.
Scholz did not mention Trump by name, but his comments come after Trump’s remarks implied that the U.S. might not defend NATO allies against a potential Russian invasion if they were not spending enough on defense. “Any relativisation of NATO’s guarantee of assistance is irresponsible and dangerous,” Scholz stated.
Following a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the German chancellor told reporters that the suggested defense clause from NATO is only in Russia’s interest, saying of NATO’s mission, “all for one, one for all.” This echoes a similar statement made by Tusk regarding the importance of a partnership between the European Union, NATO, and the United States in light of growing security concerns.
Tusk emphasized in Paris and Berlin that there is no alternative to strengthening Europe’s security and joining as allies against Russian aggression. As the war in Ukraine nears its third year, strengthening ties has become increasingly vital.
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 to reach that benchmark after drawing criticism from Trump while he was in power. In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Berlin has stepped up its defense spending and is anticipated to reach the designated benchmark this year.