Looking at all that has been said by President Trump regarding NATO it is clear that he doesn’t appreciate all that much the alliance and what it has done since its inception in terms of preserving democracy and peace all the way from World War II.
It is clear that the new president doesn’t see the alliance the way his predecessors looked at it. What NATO managed to achieve over these last few decades of its existence is to hold off Russia, contain Germany’s expansionism, projecting American power and securing democracy on the Old Continent and all over the world. It looks like he doesn’t remember all those boys that went to Europe in two world wars and he clearly doesn’t appreciate the fact that there weren’t any major conflicts on the EU soil since the NATO has been established.
Before becoming the president of the US, Trump was a businessman, and it appears that he looks at the alliance as a contracting service requesting other members to pay a lot more than they are paying at this moment. Here is what Nicholas Burns, former US Ambassador to NATO stated regarding presidents politics: “I felt the President treated the NATO allies almost with contempt.” He continued by adding “It is important that we not normalize this. He is the first American president since Harry Truman … to not believe that NATO is central to American national security interests.”
Knowing all this, it is unclear what is the main goal of POTUS and what he wants to do with America’s long-time allies. On top of that, he is set to meet with Russian President Putin in Helsinki on Monday, right after the summit with NATO.
For other NATO countries, it is important to take Trump’s words seriously as he is the most important leader in the alliance. The good thing is that he already announced that other members are already increasing their spending which makes him satisfied.
While we do not think that the US will leave the alliance, there is no doubt that this type of behavior is damaging its power level. On top of that, all disputes between traditional allies are allowing Putin to strengthen the position of Russia in other regions and impose governments that are either controlled by Kremlin or are more eager to work with them.