There has been a lot of whining and moaning in the media about President Trump’s disposition towards our allies in NATO and the United Nations. They complain as though he’s irreparably harmed our relationships with our allies, but the reality is that most of our most important relationships are not just in tact they are better than ever. From the Middle East, to Asia, and Eastern Europe – our international relationships are more secure than at any time in the last decade. Only in Western Europe are our relations strained – but the President can fix that, it just doesn’t seem like the liberals or the media want him too.
However, even with liberal opposition, Western Europe may be coming around to President Trump’s way of thinking.
Over the weekend the Secretary General of NATO, General Jens Stoltenberg, praised President Trump and his commitment to our allies in NATO. Stoltenberg even agreed with the President that Canada and Europe had neglected their defense responsibilities until President Trump brought the issue up. He also added that the rest of NATO was now working to increase their own defensive capabilities so that the United States would no longer need to bear so much of the burden.
The simple truth is that President Trump was right, the wealthy Western world (and NATO in particular) has come to rely too heavily on the United States military to protect them. While the USA is willing to stand with and defend our allies, those allies must also play an active role in their own defense.
Here’s General Stoltenberg on CBS’ Face the Nation praising President Trump:
John Dickerson: NATO has weathered difficulties, but they’re — this isn’t alone, the Paris agreement departure and there was also some confusion about the president’s behavior at the NATO meeting. Do you believe that President Donald Trump believes in the mission of NATO?
General Jens Stoltenberg: Absolutely, partly because this is a treaty obligation and by all allies. It’s part of the Washington treaty, the founding treaty of the alliance. Second, because he has, in meetings with me, in public when I met him in the White House last month, stated that he is committed to NATO and his security team has also stated that very clearly.
But more important is that the U.S. is now increasing their military presence in Europe for the first time since the end of the second — the Cold War. And the — and the president, President Trump, just suggested a 40 percent increase in funding for U.S. military presence in Europe. We — we will have a new armored brigade. We will have more training, more equipment, more infrastructure. So actions speak louder than words and we’ve seen how actions, meaning increased U.S. presence in Europe.
John Dickerson: You mention words. Critics say the president didn’t mention Article 5 during this NATO meeting, the idea that an attack on one is an attack on all. So has that over blown people’s fixation on his not mentioning that?
General Jens Stoltenberg: First of all, he has stated several times that he’s — he’s committed to NATO and there’s no way you can be committed to NATO without being committed to Article 5 because NATO is about Article 5, collective defense, stand together, one for all, all for one. Second, it is in the U.S. interest to have a strong NATO because two world wars and the Cold War, total stability, peace in Europe is also important for the prosperity and the — and the stability or the security of the United States. You have to remember that the only time NATO has invoked Article 5 was after an attack on the United States.
John Dickerson: Has President Trump’s pressure on NATO members to pick up their commitments, their financial commitments, has that been effective?
General Jens Stoltenberg: It has helped to convey a very clear message about the need for increased defense spending across Canada and Europe. And a good thing is that the European allies now understand that we have to invest more in defense, not only to please the United States, but because it is in the interests of Europe to invest more in security, because we live in more dangerous world. And the good news is that the defense spending now has started to increase across Europe. We have started to increase and more allies we — we reached a 2 percent target this year or next year.