U.S. President Barack Obama says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's suggestion that Washington may withhold military aid to fellow NATO members in the Baltics if they were invaded by Russia demonstrates a "lack of preparedness" for foreign policy.
Obama said in a television interview aired on July 24 that Trump's recent comments that he would first review whether these countries had "fulfilled" their financial obligations to NATO before deciding to defend them against a Russian invasion undermines the alliance's "most central tenet."
"There is a big difference between challenging our European allies to keep up their defense spending, particularly at a time when Russia's been more aggressive, and saying to them, 'You know what? We might not abide by the central tenet of the most important alliance in the history of the world,'" Obama told the CBS News program Face the Nation.
Not coming to the aid of a NATO ally under attack would violate Article 5 of the alliance's charter, which states that an attack on any member state is considered an attack on every member.
Obama added that Trump's comments in an interview with The New York Times published on July 20 were "an indication of the lack of preparedness that he has been displaying when it comes to foreign policy."