Retired Three-Star General Ben Hodges Slams Trump As 'Mafia Type'

Retired Three-Star General Ben Hodges Slams Trump As 'Mafia Type'

Gen. Ben Hodges

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump's recent comments suggesting he would compromise the US' agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has alarmed and angered national security experts, including retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.

During an interview with British newspaperThe Times, Hodges called out Trump for signaling that he would violate Article 5 of NATO, which pertains to the collective agreement between NATO countries that they will rally to the defense of any ally who is attacked by Russia. In a recent speech, Trump spoke about a conversation with "one of the presidents of a big country" who "stood up and said, 'Well, sir, if we don't pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?' Trump then said he "would not protect" that country if it wasn't contributing enough funding to NATO, and "would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want."

"You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills," Trump said.

"Trump hates alliances. He hates an obligation where he'd have to live up to something," Hodges said. "Mafia type that he is, he doesn't want anybody restricting his options. He couldn't care less about moral obligations. He's willing to chuck the whole thing away."

Hodges warned that if Trump was elected to a second term in November, America's European allies would have every reason to worry about the former president not honoring his predecessors' commitments to preserving the NATO alliance.

"We would be foolish not to take at face value exactly what [Trump] says," Hodges said. "In his last term, he did have people around him who were able to moderate certain things, at least for a period of time. He won't make that same mistake again."

The NATO alliance has become particularly important as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his incursion into Ukraine's Donbas region and maintains his occupation of the Crimean Peninsula. NATO added Finland to its alliance last year, and Sweden is on the verge of joining the alliance as well. Putin argued that NATO's expansion into eastern Europe constituted encroachment by the West necessitated his attack on Ukraine in 2022. However, Ukraine has countered that Putin's aggression since its 2014 annexation of Crimea — which led to its expulsion from the G8 — will only worsen, adding that they want to regain control of both the peninsula and the disputed Donbas territory.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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