April 02, 2019

NATO Needs Solidarity for Its 70th Birthday

By Julianne Smith

NATO marks its 70th anniversary this week—a remarkable milestone for a military alliance made up of 29 (soon to be 30) separate member states. But the big commemoration, scheduled for April 3 and 4 in Washington, has faced trouble from the start.

Given U.S. President Donald Trump’s past behavior at NATO gatherings (last year, he called allies “delinquent”), the alliance wasn’t even sure hosting an anniversary summit was a good idea. Last fall, it wisely downgraded the event to the foreign minister level. No Trump, no drama, the thinking went. Unfortunately, even without Trump, the gathering is shaping up to be anything but a celebration. As policymakers in NATO capitals draft flowery speeches for their ministers, and caterers in Washington place their orders for just the right vintage of champagne, allies are making a series of decisions that are rapidly eroding alliance unity. Too few members today—the United States included—see a need to prioritize NATO solidarity. That’s weakening members’ collective hand against the alliance’s adversaries and casting a dark shadow over the 70th anniversary.

Read the full article in Foreign Policy.

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