Foreign Policy

Trump Reassures NATO After Winning Concessions

Based on Trump's final remarks at the NATO summit, he managed to get what he was after.

Jordan Candler · Jul. 12, 2018

As this week’s NATO summit was closing, President Donald Trump professed: “I believe in NATO. I think NATO is … very important… But the United States was paying for anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent of it.” He noted that “I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially” while also stating that “the United States was not being treated fairly, but now we are.” According to Trump, “Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment.”

The Hill reports, “Trump on Wednesday told other leaders behind closed doors he wants them to spend 4 percent of their GDPs on defense… He later pressed allies to hit the 2-percent goal ‘immediately,’ rather than through a gradual increase. It remains unclear if any commitments were made to accelerate spending. French President Emmanuel Macron denied that NATO allies will increase defense spending beyond previously set goals, according to The Associated Press.” But Trump wouldn’t have said what he did if his goals weren’t accomplished.

As we noted yesterday, Trump’s focus is more about balancing the economic playing field rather than securing military alliances. The tariffs he has imposed are directly targeting unfair trade deals. And based on Trump’s remarks at the NATO summit, he managed to get what he was after. We’ll see exactly how this all plays out in the months ahead.

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