Last week, President Donald Trump embarked on his first big wave of foreign travel since his January inauguration. For Europe-watchers, the most anticipated event during this trip will be Trump’s first meeting with NATO heads of state and government in Brussels on May 25. On the docket for the day will be a tour of NATO’s shiny new headquarters, and a dinner serving up discussions on counterterrorism, burden sharing and other important topics. While this meeting may not be as long or as jam-packed with deliverables as usual NATO Summits, just having the meeting is consequential in and of itself. But for the president, Trump will likely hone in on one specific issue: European allies meeting the 2 percent of GDP target for defense spending.
For transatlanticists, increasing alliance defense spending is an issue on which all agree. But the issue is broader than just how much nations spend on defense. The issue is burden sharing, namely, is the burden of a common defense equally shared among the allies? The definition of burden sharing is not agreed among all, and each nation has its own narrative describing how it help carry the burden. But that wider definition of burden-sharing should be the context within which Trump judges how well allies are carrying their fair share of the load, not just how much they spend on defense.
Read the full article in The National Interest.
More from CNAS
CommentaryIt’s Still Hard to Be America’s Ally
The drive to enshrine a U.S. foreign policy for the American middle class may, in particular, pose new dilemmas for long-term allies....
By Richard Fontaine
PodcastRussia's Military Buildup on the Ukrainian Border, with Maxim Samorukov and Michael Kofman
What is motivating Russia's recent military buildup on the Ukrainian border? On April 6, 2021, Maxim Samorukov and Michael Kofman joined Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Maxim Samorukov & Michael Kofman
America’s increasing focus on rivalry with China ensures that U.S. Africa policy will continue to be viewed, at least in part, through a China lens....
By David Shullman & Patrick Quirk
PodcastTechnology Policy in the Transatlantic Alliance, with Frances Burwell and Tyson Barker
Frances Burwell and Tyson Barker join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Carisa Nietsche to discuss transatlantic technology policy, the EU’s Digital Compass, and where the U.S. and Eu...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche, Frances Burwell & Tyson Barker