DGerman foreign policy experts reacted with dismay to Donald Trump's statement that he would not defend defaulting NATO allies in the event of re-election and warned against a re-election of the former US president. “Trump's erroneous statements about the US's contractual obligations in the event of an attack on a NATO member prove once again how unpredictable, unscrupulous and unreliable he is,” said the German government's transatlantic coordinator, Michael Link (FDP), to the “Tagesspiegel”.

It is all the more important “that the EU and NATO prepare for all possible scenarios and do everything they can to make the EU and NATO more capable of acting and more competitive,” Link added.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael Roth (SPD), sees Trump's threats as a wake-up call to invest more in defense. “Hopefully everyone in Europe will wake up now! Sugar-coating and burying your head in the sand is not a strategy,” Roth told the newspaper. “If Trump really moves back into the White House, anything can be expected. Even with the worst,” he warned.

Röttgen calls for preparation for Trump's election victory

If Trump relativizes the alliance commitment resulting from Article Five of the NATO Treaty, he will “open the door to Russian imperialism.” There is an “acute danger for all of us in NATO,” Roth told the “Tagesspiegel” and demanded that the Europeans must “now, above all, support Ukraine’s fight for freedom more resolutely and far-reaching.”

The CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen warned in the “Bild” newspaper that Germany must “prepare for the possibility that Donald Trump wins the US election in the fall.” This would plunge NATO into an existential crisis because Trump sees the defense alliance in purely transactional terms, said the former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag. “Anyone who, from his point of view, does not pay enough will not be protected by the USA.” From Trump’s point of view, he declares states that do not pay “fair game. This primarily refers to us Germans.”

Germany must therefore “understand that we will soon have no choice but to defend ourselves at a time when there is war in Europe. We have to do this as Europeans because anything else would be a capitulation to Putin,” said Röttgen. In concrete terms, this means “that we have to massively increase arms production in Europe,” he demanded.

Trump, currently the most promising candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, reported on Saturday at a rally in the US state of South Carolina about an unspecified meeting with the president of a NATO country. “One of the presidents of a major country stood up and said, 'Well, sir, if we don't pay and we get attacked by Russia, will you protect us?' I said, 'You haven't paid, you're delinquent?'” Trump reported. In that case he will not protect the country.

Trump said he would even encourage Russia to do “whatever they want.” The former American president had repeatedly emphasized in the past how unfair it was that the USA had to stand up for the defense of the 30 other member states. Above all, he criticized the fact that the Europeans were not spending enough money on armaments.