Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The Message NATO Needs to Hear From Trump

| May 23, 2017

Last July, the 28 leaders of NATO’s member states met in Warsaw, Poland, to confront the most severe challenges to security in Europe since the end of the Cold War. A series of disorienting events began in 2014 with Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, a part of sovereign Ukraine. This was the first instance of using force to change borders in Europe in over 70 years. President Vladimir Putin had violated blatantly every agreement that had governed the long peace, including the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the NATO-Russia Founding Act. A few months later Putin moved further, using the Russian military and covert means to sponsor separatist proxies and destabilize two key provinces in eastern Ukraine. Russia also challenged NATO more directly with an ambitious military modernization program, aggressive new doctrine, and numerous large exercises that violated agreements designed to promote transparency and stability. At the same time, to NATO’s south, the instability in Syria and Iraq enabled the Islamic State to declare a caliphate after seizing large swathes of territory including Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. Meanwhile, the largest mass migration since World War II arrived on the borders of Europe.

These events combined to stun NATO, bringing a sense of urgency to the summit. The 28 NATO leaders gathered at Warsaw were forced to respond to the most severe set of security challenges in Europe in over 25 years. NATO stood at a pivotal moment, faced with diverse challenges coming from outside the alliance.

…..As President Donald Trump prepares to meet his counterparts for the first time at NATO headquarters in Brussels this week, it is worth recalling [President Obama’s message to NATO] from a year ago. Troops, tanks, ships, and planes are not the core of NATO’s strength…

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Lute, Douglas.“The Message NATO Needs to Hear From Trump.” Foreign Policy, May 23, 2017.