#FactOfTheDay 12/07/2018 – Like a bull in China shop, Trump at the NATO summit
Even those who did not expect much of the NATO summit currently held in Brussels may end up disappointed. At the last minute, Jens Soltenberg, the secretary-general of the organization announced the holding of a last-minute meeting, following Trump’s last declaration about NATO’s budget. Almost caricatural, the American president keep putting the topic on the table, in what seem to be an effort to undermine both the organization and its European “allies”.
Trump’s move was expectable, as he kept talking about how few Europe contributes to NATO, conveniently forgetting that NATO never had to defend Europe – and even failed at it when it came to Ukraine – and that most of his NATO allies contributed to the US campaign in Afghanistan, effectively militarily defending US national interests on the field. At least, he did not try to officially recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, as many experts feared, considering previous declaration of the president and its love (or fear?) for the Russian autocrat.
Surprisingly, the former tv-reality star tackled the issue of Russia, in an effort to humiliate its German ally, when he declared that Germany was controlled by Russia, as they bought most of their gas in Russia. Pathetic, for sure, but still explicit: Trump is not going to give any relief to its allies until he got a financial effort from them. It seemed to be the point of the last-minute in Brussels.
Few information have filtered, yet, regarding this meeting, but Trump eventually declared that NATO’s countries agreed to rise their military expenditure up to 2% of the GDP. He also repeated his faith in the transatlantic alliance, leading Merkel to believe that this last agreement is a very clear agreement in favour of the NATO from all the allied countries.
However, it is dubious that this summit would have settled any issue. It is doubtful that the promise to raise the military expenditure will take shape before the end of Trump first mandate. Also, none of the geopolitical issues have been solved, as the position of Trump on Crimea is still shady, and as his relation to Russia is still being investigated by a special prosecutor in Washington… Plus, he seems to be fully dedicated to the undermining of its European allies, and the European Union. Nothing good came out of this summit, except, maybe, a certain unity of the European countries who seemed to have eventually understood that they could not trust, nor influence, the American president anymore. When he got out of his plane in Brussels, there was no high ranking official to welcome him, but simply the Belgian head of protocol. What a symbol.