02.11.2020 (Caucasian Journal) On the eve of U.S. presidential election, Caucasian Journal discusses the risk of America’s withdrawing from NATO, verbalized recently by President Trump’s former national security adviser. Though in Georgia it is also the election time, the NATO aspiration is not questioned by any party. But is NATO ready to accept new member?
Our guest today is Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben HODGES, Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis, Commander of United States Army Europe from 2014 to 2017.
Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal: Dear Ben, welcome to Caucasian Journal, many thanks for attention to our international readership. Obviously, one of our central discussion themes will be NATO-Georgia relationship. But let me start with something else, and even more fundamental: The NATO-USA relationship. President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has more than once expressed his concern over a “very real risk” of the U.S. withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, if Donald Trump wins a second term. Can you comment on what seemed unthinkable? After all, 2020 had proved already that unthinkable things happen.
Lt. Gen. Ben HODGES: No way the US will pull out of NATO, even if President Trump is re-elected. The Congress will oppose it, and I think that even the President realizes that the US needs allies, even if he doesn’t always say it or act like it. American prosperity as well as American security depends on a strong, stable, and prosperous Europe… That’s why we’ll remain committed to NATO, even if the President often says things about NATO that are unproductive. Of course it would also be helpful if other allies, particularly in Western Europe, would also demonstrate as much commitment to NATO as even the Trump administration has demonstrated. Despite the tweets, American boots on the ground in Europe have actually increased during this administration. I’d say that US commitment is far more tangible than some European allies.