The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the world’s largest defense pact established in April 1949, is struggling with internal conflicts in the 70th year since its foundation. There are concerns that the summit to be held in London on Tuesday and Wednesday will exacerbate conflicts, rather than being a celebratory occasion for the 70th anniversary, due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s pressure on allies to increase their defense cost shares, the aftermath of the U.S. troops’ withdrawal from Syria, etc.
Leaders of 29 NATO member countries, including, President Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will be present at the meeting with the key agenda of defense cost sharing. The member countries have agreed to increase their defense budget to 2.0 percent of their individual GDP including the shared costs by 2024 and provide an additional 100 billion U.S. dollars for defense by the end of 2020. It’s been also decided that the U.S.’ share of operating costs will decrease from the current 22 percent to 16 percent from 2021, but the Trump administration remains unsatisfied and is adding more pressure on countries to further increase their shares.
According to CNN and other media, President Trump said before he left for London on Monday that it’s not fair that the U.S. is paying too much and that it is his responsibility to claim money from other countries that do not pay in return for the U.S.’ protection. “Heading to Europe to represent our Country and fight hard for the American People,” the president later tweeted on the plane. “About $130 billion in increased spending so far, several hundred billion more in increased spending over the next three or four years," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on the same day about the president's work on successfully convincing NATO member nations to increase security spending.
European countries are expressing discomfort with the U.S.’ unilateral demands. In particular, the U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Syria against the NATO’s opposition is widely criticized. In criticism of this matter, French President Macron went as far as to say that NATO is “brain dead” on November 7. “NATO is showing its age as the alliance turns 70. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is far from being brittle, but the alliance seems much less elastic than it once was,” reported CNN. “Trump re-election could sound death knell for NATO,” the Guardian said, referring to the possibility of the U.S.’ leaving the pact.
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