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
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