When the leaders of NATO’s 28 member countries gather in Brussels on May 25, all eyes will be on U.S. President Donald Trump. Russia, Afghanistan, and questions about America’s commitment to Europe will be on the allies’ agenda, but the elephant in the room will be burden-sharing — and in particular the president’s demand that there be more of it.
While Trump has backed off many of his previous criticisms of NATO — even declaring the alliance “no longer obsolete” after a meeting with its secretary-general last month — his administration’s emphasis on the need for allies to spend more on defense has endured. Trump has pointed out that just five members currently meet the defense spending target that NATO set in 2014. In February, Secretary of Defense James Mattis offered “clarity on the political reality in the United States” to his fellow defense ministers, saying that if the allies do not want to see America reduce its commitment to them, “each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense.” In March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told his counterparts that they should prepare action plans to meet their defense spending commitments. And after meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, Trump tweeted with characteristic bluntness that “Germany owes … vast sums of money to NATO.”
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
PodcastDefense Priorities in a New Administration, with Michèle Flournoy
Michèle Flournoy joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss how a Biden administration can work with NATO to confront transnational threats. Flournoy has been a l...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Michèle Flournoy
CommentaryDuda’s Unnecessary Gamble
Polish President Andrzej Duda will visit the White House on Wednesday, a mere four days before the first round of Poland’s presidential election. While the United States and P...
By Adam Twardowski & Carisa Nietsche
PodcastGermany, Nuclear Sharing, and the U.S. Drawdown with Ulrike Franke and Frank Sauer
Ulrike Franke and Frank Sauer join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to break down the U.S. proposal to drawdown in Germany, nuclear sharing, and more on a joint Brussels...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Ulrike Franke & Frank Sauer
PodcastThe Russia-China Defense Relationship, with Mike Kofman and Alexander Gabuev
Mike Kofman and Alexander Gabuev join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to explain the Russia-China defense relationship on the latest episode of Brussels Sprouts. Kofman...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Mike Kofman & Alexander Gabuev