Between 11 and 12 July 2018, a meeting of the heads of state and government of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) will be held in Brussels, Belgium. However, the European members of the alliance do not expect much this event. The reason lies in a person, like the US President Donald Trump. According to some observers of The New York Times, the US’ Atlantic allies are not quiet sure what to expect from the head of the White House on this summit. “No one knows in what mood Trump will arrive: aggressive, or insulted the allies for inadequate defense spending, or as a boaster, who brags of the recent cost increase”, notes journalist Steven Erlanger.
The EU allies are very concerned that they will face Trump what he was at the G7 leaders meeting in June. The present members described him as angry, sarcastic and rude, especially concerning Justin Trudeau and Angela Merkel. According to the former US ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, the focus of the meeting “should be Russian deterrent by the forces of the alliance in Eastern Europe, but Trump can ruin everything for Putin”. If Trump “arrives to enhance the dialogue with Russia and there is no clearity what Moscow will do in return, it will cause confusion in the North Atlantic alliance”, he said.
According to the president of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, François Heisbourg, “Trump can act instinctively, trying to arrange a bilateral deal with Putin and sacrifice the interests of NATO. He can lift sanctions imposed because of Crimea, put off maneuvers or withdraw US troops from the Baltic countries. We have seen it with Kim Jong-un”.
It is possible that Donald Trump can increase the expenses in common defense up to 2% of the GDP to the American allies of the NATO, that do not fulfill the condition. According to Defense News, Trump has already sent letters to some of his NATO allies in which he complained that they have not contributed enough to the Atlantic Alliance. In addition, the US leader has warned that this problem will be a key issue at the summit in Brussels.
The only document in this regard was published in Norway’s most important newspaper, VG, in which a letter was published to Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg on June 19. However, there is information that some NATO member states have received similar letters, and Foreign Policy magazine confirmed it.
The Norwegian letter says: “Norway however, remains the only NATO Ally sharing a border with Russia that lacks a credible plan to spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense…I understand domestic political pressures, as I myself have expended considerable political capital to increase our own defense spending. It will, however increasingly difficult to justify to US citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security commitments.
But there is an opposite version that lies in the fact that everyone needs the success at this forum. And the US side can make some efforts to soften the negative impression of the previous G7 meeting, in which the United States clashed with its European allies and Canada.
In any case, the next summit of the North Atlantic alliance promises to become one of the most interesting and unpredictable in recent years. And the United States will play a fundamental role there.
However, in the realities of modern world, it does not guarantee the strengthening of the European security.