Donald Trump is now almost daily undermining a cornerstone of NATO's defense that has never been tested in the real world | Foreign countries

When Finland joined NATO last year, the Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Talked about ironclad security guarantees.

The reality is that since NATO's collective defense has never been tested in real action, no one knows for sure whether the guarantees are iron or paper.

An important aspect of NATO's collective security Section Five of the Agreement. Accordingly, an armed attack against one or more NATO countries is considered an attack against all member states.

Researcher and former officer of the British Royal United Services Institute Ed Arnold The fifth article says that we don't know how well it provides.

– The fifth article is not used for what it was used for. It was implemented only once after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Arnold says it is a political demonstration of unity and solidarity with America.

A NATO country has never been attacked by conventional military means. The success of the defense alliance is based on the fact that the country considering the attack actually believes that NATO will work together to deter the attack.

If the aggressor, i.e. Russia implicitly in the current situation, does not see the threat as credible, the situation is dangerous.

Immunity is weakened by talking

The deterrent effect of the fifth article can be weakened by speech. State Donald Trump He is likely to be the Republican presidential candidate in the upcoming election. And Trump speaks.

President Donald Trump with then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the NATO summit in London in December 2019. Credit: Peter Nichols / EPA

Speaking at a campaign rally last Saturday, Trump recalled warning the European president that the U.S. would not protect defaulters. Trump will encourage Russia to attack.

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There are countries in NATO that have yet to meet the target of spending at least two percent of GDP on defense.

On Wednesday, Trump reiterated His threat not to defend NATO countries that “do not pay”

“I've said if they don't pay, we won't defend,” Trump said during a campaign rally in South Carolina.

– Trump could weaken NATO's deterrence while campaigning or, for example, at a press conference. It is difficult, and NATO has not used this kind of approach from the US. Ed Arnold says Article 5 can be damaged even if Trump is not in office.

US Marines on ski training in Norway.

US Marines training in Norway in January 2024. Qua: Operation 2024 / Alamy/All Over Press

A bold promise of aid from the American will

Article V's commitment to public safety is loosely written. The article states that if one or more member states come under attack, NATO countries will take the necessary measures. It may be armed force, but the record gives a lot of leeway.

According to Arnold, when NATO was founded in 1949 looser wording was the US preference.

The United States stayed out of the early stages of both World War I and World War II because public opinion was against going to war.

– Wanted to ensure that America was not drawn into war in Europe against its will.

Implementation requires consensus

Implementing the fifth article is straightforward, at least on paper.

NATO's main political decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, meets at the diplomatic level and says the situation calls for the implementation of Article Five.

The decision must be unanimous, and even in situations where ambassadors decide on the matter, the heads of different countries will naturally be closely involved in the decision.

During a visit by President Putin to the battle scenes of the Victory Museum in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits battle scenes at the Victory Museum in Moscow in 2021. Availability: EPA-EFE

– Presumption that shooting is in progress when concluding the fifth article. Troops of the attacked country can mount a resistance and other countries can help. Ed Arnold says waiting for a North Atlantic Council decision won't prevent military action.

According to Arnold, in the case of Finland, the assumption would be that the Nordic countries and perhaps the Baltic countries would come to the rescue. Britain will also help under the Mutual Security Treaty. U.S. troops could also participate in the battle, Arnold describes possible scenarios.

The Fifth Article is not automatic toward a major war

The fifth article can come up in different situations. In September 2022, a Russian fighter jet A missile was fired at a British spy plane Over the Black Sea. The missile did not hit and the Russian pilot attempted to fire another missile, but it apparently fell into the sea.

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– If a missile fired by a Russian fighter had hit the spy plane, Article Five would have been invoked and either Britain or the US could have attacked the base from which the Russian plane had taken off. After that, there would have been continuity depending on Russia's reaction. Ed Arnold elaborates that if Russia leaves it at that, the situation will be over and we'll move on to de-escalation.

According to him, the biggest misunderstanding regarding the fifth article is the assumption that things will proceed automatically.

– Let's imagine that we are heading towards World War III or the use of nuclear weapons once the shooting starts. Everything starts at the lowest level, says Arnold, and countermeasures may not even be military.

“Finland's NATO Membership Changed the Situation”

According to researcher Ed Arnold, NATO has more time to strengthen its defenses in Europe. The war in Ukraine and Finland's NATO membership complicate the situation for Russia.

– Finland's NATO membership changed the situation. Russia doubled the anti-NATO border line where troops were to be maintained. Wherever Ukraine's front line settles, it will tie up Russia's resources in the future, says Arnold.

Earlier, Russia could have concentrated a significant number of troops against the Baltics, but now the situation has changed.

According to Ed Arnold, NATO can still be trusted. The point is that European countries must take more responsibility.

– Even if Trump doesn't return to the White House, the president will Joe Biden Begin moving military resources in the direction of Asia. So Europeans need to do more to defend themselves anyway, and NATO is the perfect organization for this.

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