Transatlantic solidarity appeared strained on day one of the NATO summit, as leaders parried rhetorical blows from President Trump, including his charge that U.S. allies "owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back."
Trump criticized countries spending less than 2% of GDP on defense, before making an unexpected call to boost the figure to 4%. He also said Germany was "totally controlled" by Russia, denouncing a planned gas pipeline that would link the two countries and yet speaking little about the Russian threats across Europe.
Yes, but: There have been meaningful policy and security agreements that risk getting lost amid the rhetoric.
The details: The 29 leaders — including President Trump — agreed on a "30-30-30" readiness initiative that would shorten the time necessary to assemble a force of aircraft, warships and land battalions. They condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea as "illegal and illegitimate," and pledged not to recognize it — just before Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki next week. They made progress on counterterrorism and military mobility, and began to sort out NATO cooperation with the European Union.
The bottom line: For all the superficial battering the alliance may take, its underlying strategic logic remains sound. The transatlantic partners are likely to get through the present crisis as they have through ones before. In many ways, the alliance works. While the current friction is unwelcome and largely unnecessary, reports of NATO's death are greatly exaggerated.
Read more from Axios
More from CNAS
CommentaryChina and Russia’s Dangerous Convergence
Any effort to address either Russia’s or China’s destabilizing behavior must now account for the two countries’ deepening partnership....
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor & David Shullman
PodcastU.S. and Allied Withdrawal from Afghanistan, with Federica Mogherini and Lisa Curtis
What does President Biden’s decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan mean for American allies? Federica Mogherini and Lisa Curtis join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim To...
By Carisa Nietsche, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Federica Mogherini & Lisa Curtis
CommentarySharper: The Next 100 Days
As the administration marks its 100th day in office, what lies ahead?...
By Anna Pederson & Chris Estep
CommentaryWhy Berlin And Washington Should Compromise On Nord Stream 2
Progress on several pressing transatlantic issues in the next four years will depend on deep coordination and healthy relations between the United States and Germany. That bil...
By Rachel Rizzo