Trump’s policies will 'cloud' upcoming NATO summit

Trump’s policies will 'cloud' upcoming NATO summit

U.S. President Donald Trump’s interference in European politics and deterioration in transatlantic relations on climate, Iran, and trade will "certainly cloud" the prospects for next week’s NATO summit, according to an official from the U.S.-based think tank German Marshall Fund. Anadolu Agency reports in its article Trump’s policies will 'cloud' upcoming NATO summit that the leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries will meet for the 29th formal meeting in Brussels on July 11-12.

During the gathering, the alliance is expected to “make important decisions to further boost security in and around Europe, including through strengthened deterrence and defense, projecting stability and fighting terrorism, enhancing its partnership with the European Union, modernizing the Alliance and achieving fairer burden-sharing,” according to its official website.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in Brussels ahead of the summit, Ian O. Lesser, vice president of the German Marshall Fund, said: “... The sharp deterioration in transatlantic relations overall, on climate, Iran, trade and the [Trump] administration’s interference in European politics, will certainly cloud the prospects for a 'surprise-free' summit.”

“Allies have begun to spend more, partly due to American urging – itself nothing new. But with key members, above all Germany, still, well below the two percent benchmark, there will be scope for President Trump to renew his sharp critique on this front.”

Last month, Trump rescinded his earlier promise to sign the communique traditionally issued following G7 summits and blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “meek” and “dishonest” over Twitter.

His comments came hours after leaving the G7 summit in Quebec, Canada.

Trump also called for Canada to drop all trade tariffs, such as the one designed to protect Canada’s small dairy industry and threatened more trade action if Canada did not acquiesce.

In response to a question on if there is a similar risk during the NATO summit that the U.S. administration may initially accept yet withdraw later from agreed upon decisions at the gathering, Lesser said: “These outputs are generally very well scripted. But after the G7 experience, nothing is certain.”

He also noted that such unpredictability in the political atmosphere would affect NATO's strong message of deterrence and solidarity.

“It would send a very bad signal across a range of challenges facing NATO, not least a more assertive Russia," he added.

Trump in January 2017 also sharply criticized NATO in an interview with German daily Bild, calling the organization “obsolete”.

He argued that NATO had failed to address terrorism and today’s challenges.

"NATO had problems. Number one it was obsolete because it was, you know, designed many, many years ago. Number two -- the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay,” he had said.

However, last month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he is “absolutely confident that the US is committed to NATO and the transatlantic bond". Speaking at a press conference in London, Stoltenberg said: “The U.S. commitment to NATO is not only words but also in deeds.” “Action speaks louder than words and we see that now the U.S. is strengthening, increasing their presence in Europe,” he said. Stoltenberg added that he believes that the leaders of the 29 NATO member states would look into how to “further strengthen that transatlantic bond” at the July summit in Brussels.

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