How big is too big?
President Trump visited Brussels, Belgium for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meetings and he had some sharp words for allies of America.
Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium… pic.twitter.com/l0EP3lzhCM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
BREAKING: White House: Trump suggests NATO allies commit to spending 4 percent of GDP on defense; current goal is 2 percent.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 11, 2018
Critics of the president have often charged his “America First” policy as a statement that really means “America alone.”
The Washington Post reports:
The president’s approach also has been corrosive to relations with allies who increasingly believe that Trump — on trade, NATO and diplomacy — is undercutting the post-World War II order in pursuit of short-term, and likely illusory, wins.
And these meetings ended…awkwardly.
Trump arrived 30 minutes late to today’s NATO summit, missed his scheduled meetings with at least two world leaders, prompted the secretary general to call an emergency session, held an impromptu 35-minute news conference, and is now leaving for the airport go fly to London.
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) July 12, 2018
With American foreign policy that seems to change every moment, can the alliances that have sustained the West survive? This take from The Atlantic suggests that they can.
As a general rule, things that are rotten tend to collapse under pressure; things that have value tend to endure. The West has endured, as a strategic concept and a geopolitical reality, because it has value. Rather than writing its obituary or predicting its imminent collapse, those who believe in the transatlantic alliance should therefore look to the future with a measure of confidence in our ability to defend the order we have built and to persevere beyond the strains of the moment. We have done so before, and we can do so again.
But Axios quotes Karen Harris, managing director at Bain Macro Trends, who isn’t so sure. She says the new order will be the U.S., Russia and China, “multiple parallel great powers pushing against each other in the two new borderlands of cyberspace and (actual) space.”
“That, she said, “will lead to a more fragmented geopolitical order and by extension, a more fragmented international trade and finance order.”
How does NATO materially affect American lives? If most Americans feel like it doesn’t, does a changing relationship between allies matter? But broadly, what are the implications of a new world order?
- Jonathan Tepperman Editor-in-chief, Foreign Policy; author, "The Fix: How Countries Use Crises To Solve The World's Worst Problems"; @j_tepperman
- Frances Burwell Distinguished fellow, the Atlantic Council; @FranBurwell @FranBurwell
- Rudy deLeon Senior fellow, Center for American Progress; former deputy secretary, Department of Defense; former undersecretary, U.S. Air Force; former staff director for the U.S. House Armed Services Committee
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