If Donald Trump becomes President of USA, it could prove dangerous for the stability of the western world and its security, as he has doubted NATO’s reliability and unity of the alliance’s member states, former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said an interview to LETA and Defence Matters portal.
«Trump has increased doubts about the reliability of NATO’s collective defence. He has indicated that he would make American commitment to defending allies dependent on their economy and economic contributions to NATO. I am afraid that would tempt Mr Putin to test the resolve of NATO if Mr Trump were to be elected president. Which I do not think he will but if he might then he would undermine the credibility of NATO,» – Rasmussen said.
«I fear this could tempt [Russian president Vladimir] Putin to test NATO’s commitment if Trump becomes president. I doubt he will become president, but if that happens, he could reduce trust in NATO. If Hilary Clinton is elected instead, I expect a much stricter position against Russia. I do believe that’s exactly what we need.»
The former NATO secretary general is also confident that Europe’s sanctions against Russia should be extended by at least twelve months.
«For instance, I think we should strengthen sanctions, the European Union should extend sanctions for at least twelve months instead of the current six months. That would also harmonise sanction regimes between the EU and United States. Actually, in the long term, I think we should make sanctions open-ended so that we could send a very clear signal to Russia that it could be lifted if Russia changes its behaviour. So, we should strengthen sanctions and, secondly, if Russia continues to destabilise Eastern Ukraine, I also think we should consider delivery of weapons to Ukraine. Defensive weapons so that the Ukrainian army improves its capability to defend itself,» – Rasmussen said.
As Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s advisor, Rasmussen does not exclude the possibility of the Ukrainian conflict becoming another lasting conflict. «I do not think the Russians want to solve these problems. And now we see that Mr Putin has the ambition to keep these conflicts simmering or frozen. On the one hand, I would not expect Russia to try to integrate more Ukrainian land into Russia as we have seen in Crimea because that would be much too expensive for Russia. He has achieved his goal just by supporting the Ukrainian separatists in the east. I do believe that the West should be tougher on Russia in that respect.»
He believes sanctions should be extended for twelve more months also because of the lack of unity in the EU.
«Now we have a discussion every six months and we also see that Russia tries to exploit that situation every six months. So it only serves the purpose to create additional instability, which is why we should either make them open-ended or at least extend them for twelve months,» – said the politician.