Trump Return Would Be 'Geopolitical Catastrophe,' Warns Ex NATO Chief

  • Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned that a potential return to U.S. politics by former President Donald Trump could be a "geopolitical catastrophe" due to his views on the Russia-Ukraine war.
  • Rasmussen is concerned that Trump winning the Republican presidential nomination could endanger support for Ukraine.
  • Trump told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that opposing Russia in Ukraine is not a matter of vital strategic interest for the U.S.

A former NATO secretary general said Donald Trump's return to U.S. politics could be a "a geopolitical catastrophe" because of his views on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who advises the Ukrainian government, told Politico in comments published on Wednesday that Trump winning the Republican presidential nomination could make it harder to secure congressional support for Ukraine.

His remarks come after Trump told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that opposing Russia in Ukraine is not a matter of vital strategic interest for the U.S. and suggested he would engage in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin if he were to be re-elected next year.

Rasmussen, who was head of NATO from 2009 to 2014, told Politico he believes Trump "will be a loser" as he expressed his concerns about endangering support for Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion that began more than a year ago.

Donald Trump Addresses CPAC in Maryland
Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 4, 2023, in National Harbor, Maryland. A former NATO secretary general has warned that Trump's return to politics could endanger support for Ukraine. Alex Wong/Getty Images

He described Trump's policy on Ukraine as "surrender" and said: "I call it a geopolitical catastrophe if Trump were to be nominated, because in the campaign his influence would be destructive."

"The mere fact that his thinking appeals to a certain element, a certain segment of the American public, will push American politics in the wrong direction," said Rasmussen, who is also a former prime minister of Denmark.

He added that he hoped "not only from a European perspective but from a global perspective, that Republicans will nominate a candidate that is much more attached to American global leadership than Trump and Trumpists."

Rasmussen is lobbying President Joe Biden and Congress to provide more weapons to Ukraine and for the U.S. to make long-term security guarantees to the country.

Trump addressed the war in Ukraine in answers to a questionnaire from Fox News, which Carlson published on his Twitter account on Monday.

When he was asked if opposing Russia in Ukraine was "a vital American national strategic interest," the former president replied: "No, but it is for Europe. But not for the United States. That is why Europe should be paying far more than we are, or equal."

Trump was also asked what limit he would put on funding and materiel for Ukraine, and he responded that it "would strongly depend on my meeting with President Putin and Russia. Russia would have never attacked Ukraine if I were President, not even a small chance."

"If I were President, that horrible war would end in 24 hours, or less. It can be done, and it must be done -- now!" he said.

Other Republicans have also levied criticism at U.S. support for Ukraine and questioned the Biden administration's approach.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is seen as a likely challenger to Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, told Carlson that: "While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them."

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a major Trump supporter, told The Guardian on March 4: "I think the U.S. should be pushing for peace in Ukraine instead of funding and continuing a war that seems to be escalating and putting the entire world at risk of world war three."

And Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, another Trump ally, recently turned down an invitation to visit Ukraine from the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and reiterated that he does not support giving Ukraine a "blank check."

"Let's be very clear about what I said: no blank checks, OK? So, from that perspective, I don't have to go to Ukraine to understand where there's a blank check or not," McCarthy said.

"I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don't have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it. And my point has always been, I won't provide a blank check for anything," he said.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump's office via email for comment.