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Vladimir Putin can exploit this NATO loophole to attack the US and NOT trigger Article 5

Experts have warned that Vladimir Putin could use a NATO loophole to attack the US and not trigger Article 5.

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the course of World War 2 changed forever when Japan launched a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Consequently, it led then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt to join the Allies and declare war on the Axis – a move that would eventually lead to the use of nuclear weapons to force Japan into surrender.

However, experts warn that if Vladimir Putin did the same thing today, the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would not be obligated to rise to the Aloha State’s defence.

David Santoro, president of the Pacific Forum think tank in Honolulu, said: “It’s the weirdest thing. People tend to assume Hawaii is part of the US and therefore it’s covered by NATO.

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“The argument for not including Hawaii is simply that it’s not part of North America.”

The clue is in the alliance’s name – the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Hawaii is, of course, in the Pacific, and unlike California, Colorado, or Alaska, the 50th state is not part of the continental US that reaches the North Atlantic Ocean on its eastern shores.

And while Article 5 of the treaty provides for collective self-defence in the event of a military attack on any member state, Article 6 limits the geographic scope of that.

It reads: “An armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America.”

However, such an attack would likely trigger Article 4.

A US State Department spokesperson confirmed to CNN that Hawaii is not covered by Article 5, but said Article 4, which says members will consult when “the territorial integrity, political independence or security” of any member is threatened, should cover any situation that could affect the 50th state.

NATO has not responded to a request for comment.

John Hemmings, senior director of the Indo-Pacific Foreign and Security Policy Program at the Pacific Forum, says Hawaii’s exclusion from NATO removes “an element of deterrence” from those who threaten the Western way of life.

He said: “For Americans, there is a direct link between this state and our involvement in the Second World War and ultimately our help in contributing to the victory over the Axis (the alliance of Nazi Germany, Japan and Italy).”

Hemmings also makes an argument for Guam, the US Pacific island territory some 3,000 miles farther west than Hawaii, to be included in NATO’s umbrella.

It comes after Vladimir Putin said Russia has no plans to attack any NATO countries but would target bases holding F-16 used in Ukraine.

He said: “We have no aggressive intentions toward [NATO] states.

“Of course, if they are used from airfields of third countries, they become a legitimate target for us, no matter where they are located.”


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