Europe faces an increased threat of aggression from Russia if Trump withdraws troops from Nato
Ben Hodges, the Commander of the US Army in Europe, stressed Putin would be ready to “exploit” America’s “vulnerability” and “weakness” once they pulled out from the treaty.
The Commander’s comments emerged days after the newly-inaugurated leader used his inauguration address to say America had “defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend” their own.
If the United States was not there participating, and contributing to the stability and security of Europe, then the threat would be more significant
Ben Hodges, the Commander of the US Army in Europe
During an event held by the Policy Exchange think-tank, General Hodges said: “The Russians only respect strength. If there’s vulnerability, if there’s weakness, if there’s an opening, they will exploit that.
“They have always believed they are entitled to a sphere, and if people in Poland, Ukraine or Lithuania didn’t want to be part of that sphere, that was not their choice.
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A round is fired from an M1A2 Main Battle Tank belonging to 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during the first Live Fire Accuracy Screening Tests at Presidential Range in Swietozow, Poland
“The United States has been here to help be a part of the most successful alliance in the history of the world to ensure those nations that wanted to be free, could do that.
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“If the United States was not there participating, and contributing to the stability and security of Europe, then the threat would be more significant.”
According to sources, General Hodges is not the only military figure that condemns Trump’s defence stance as a British military figure told the sun; Trump’s new defence secretary James Mattis would rather than see the US walk away from Nato.
The source told the Sun: “If it gets to the stage that Mattis feels his credibility is being compromised, he will walk.”
Theresa May has pledged to highlight the importance of Nato when she visits Trump
The decorated General Hodges, who was wounded in Iraq, slammed Trump’s previous comment branding Nato as obsolete because America’s “own stability and security” was tied “to the stability and security in Europe”.
Theresa May has promised to stress the “importance of Nato as the bulwark of our defence” during her meeting with the President at the White House later this week.
President Trump has made a number of critical remarks against the Nato alliance
Downing Street said the billionaire has expressed his commitment to the alliance in his two conversations with the Prime Minister so far, despite his public explosive comments.