Following scepticism previously voiced by Trump about the military alliance, Poles were eager to hear him clearly commit in Warsaw to NATO’s Article Five, which states that an attack on one member of the military alliance is viewed as an attack on all.
But, in his second trip to Europe as president, Trump did not give any guarantees as to how long Warsaw could count on a continuing US military presence in Poland.
“The United States has demonstrated - not merely with words, but with its actions - that we stand firmly behind article five, the mutual defence commitment,” Trump said in an address to Poles in Warsaw on Thursday.
Following his earlier meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump was asked if he had guaranteed the presence of American forces in Poland as long as a threat from Russia existed.
Trump said: “We did not discuss guarantees ... but certainly [US troops] have been here for a long time, we have quite a few troops here, up to 5,000, and we will continue to do that and we will continue to work with Poland”.
He added that US support in Europe justified his demands for allies to earmark two percent of GDP for military spending.
“As as a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to flow into NATO,” Trump said.
He said Europe must do more for its own protection, which included increased military spending.
He praised Poland both on its achievement of the investment threshold as well as on its Wednesday decision to go ahead with the purchase of Patriot missile defence systems from the US.
“The example you set is truly magnificent and we applaud Poland,” Trump said.
Trump also urged Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine and to withdraw its support for “hostile regimes”, including Syria and Iran, adding that NATO needed to adapt to be able to fight on new battlefields including cyber warfare, financial crimes and propaganda. (vb/pk)