July 11, 2018

What to Expect from Trump’s Marathon Week of Diplomacy

Allies are right to be worried.

By Rachel Rizzo

Donald Trump’s first full NATO summit is expected to be contentious, if not downright hostile. The U.S. president’s sole goal for Brussels appears to be hammering allies on their defense spending, and it’s even less clear what he wants to do with the remainder of his Europe trip, which includes meetings with a severely weakened Theresa May and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. What should Europe watchers expect?

Trump’s animosity toward some of the United States’ closest allies and partners in Europe is straining the multinational institutions upon which the U.S.-European relationship is built. He has had borderline obsessive focus on NATO allies’ defense budgets since the beginning of his presidency, and has no problem railing on allies to spend more. Recently, Trump sent a harsh letter to some of the allies excoriating them for not spending enough, saying it is “increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries do not share NATO’s collective security.” When allies meet in Brussels, more harsh words are to be expected.

By all means, Europe must be able to provide for its own defense, and U.S. calls to spend more are neither new nor unwarranted. But Trump is unpopular in Europe, and his constant bullying of NATO allies may actually make it harder for European leaders to gain public support to increase defense spending lest they be seen as kowtowing to the U.S. president. The good news is that Europe recognizes its need to spend more—NATO has seen four consecutive years of allied real increases in defense spending, with each ally not only spending more, but contributing more to NATO missions and operations. Because of this, it is time for the U.S. president to declare victory on the defense spending front and move on to more important issues. Much could be accomplished at this summit, but if Trump only focuses on money, it will be a missed opportunity for the U.S. to reaffirm its commitment to European allies. Unfortunately, expectations are not high.

Read the Full Article at Defense One

  • Reports
    • October 20, 2020
    Charting a Transatlantic Course to Address China

    Working together to collectively strengthen the United States’ and Europe’s ability to compete with China provides an opportunity for a reinvigorated partnership....

    By Julianne Smith, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche & Ellison Laskowski

  • Podcast
    • October 16, 2020
    European Outlooks on the Transatlantic Relationship, with Jana Puglierin

    Jana Puglierin joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss how Europeans are thinking about the United States and a future transatlantic relationship. Puglierin is...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Jana Puglierin

  • Commentary
    • The Washington Post
    • October 13, 2020
    No, Trump has not been ‘tough’ on Russia

    The simple fact is that even harsh-looking sanctions have little impact when there’s zero political will to enforce them....

    By Edward Fishman , James Lamond & Max Bergmann

  • Podcast
    • October 9, 2020
    Prospects for Democracy in Belarus, with Judy Dempsey and Jonathan Katz

    Judy Dempsey and Jonathan Katz join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss the ongoing protests in Belarus and the country’s prospects for a democratic political tr...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Judy Dempsey & Jonathan Katz

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia