United States

  • Trump-Putin Summit: Expect the Unexpected

    Just in the past few months, US President Donald J. Trump has blown up the G7 summit in Canada, berated the United States’ NATO allies, criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May on her handling of Brexit, described Germany as a “captive” of Russia, characterized the European Union as a “foe,” and directed the Pentagon to review the cost of withdrawing US troops from Europe.

    In sharp contrast to remarks directed at US friends and allies, Trump has been reluctant to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin whom he has described as “fine.” Acting against the advice of his advisers, Trump went so far as to congratulate the Russian president on his victory in an election widely viewed as unfair. He even suggested that Russia be invited back to a G8—a grouping Russia was expelled from after it annexed Crimea in 2014. On July 16, Trump will meet Putin in Helsinki for the leaders’ first summit. The rest of the world will be watching anxiously.

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  • Donald Trump and Theresa May: On the Issues

    Donald J. Trump and Theresa May attempted to paper over their differences—at least in public—at a joint press conference on July 13. This interaction followed a controversial interview Trump gave to the British tabloid The Sun in which  the US president criticized the British prime minister’s approach to Brexit.

    Here’s a look at where the two leaders came out on some key issues as they fielded questions from journalists at the prime minister’s country residence, Chequers.

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  • Trump Reveals He was ‘Very Firm’ with NATO Allies

    [Excerpts from remarks by President Trump at press conference after NATO Summit, July 12, 2018.
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  • This is How the Liberal International Order Dies

    Last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, after meeting US President Donald J. Trump at the NATO Summit in Brussels, “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over…We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” That she said it on Memorial Day weekend—the day the United States honors veterans of World War II—seemed an especially sharp rebuke.

    Worse than the rebuke was this: Merkel might not be wrong.

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  • Trump’s NATO Strategy: Shake, Rattle, and Commit

    US President Donald J. Trump on July 12 reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to NATO after declaring that allies had agreed to his demands to spend more on defense. This affirmation came hours after the US president chastised allies for not spending enough on defense and even threated to pull the United States out of the Alliance.

    “The United States was not being treated fairly, but now we are,” Trump said at a news conference in Brussels after NATO leaders held an emergency meeting to address the US president’s complaints that allies are not spending enough on defense.

    “Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment,” Trump said, “And now we're very happy and have a very, very powerful, very, very strong NATO, much stronger than it was two days ago.”

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  • Trump Believes US ‘Paying a Lot of Money to Protect’ NATO Allies

    [Excerpts from remarks by President Donald Trump and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, June 11, 2018.]
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  • The Trump-Merkel Showdown

    Managing a growing rift within NATO

    US President Donald J. Trump traveled to Europe this week with his rhetorical guns loaded, taking aim at NATO allies for failing to adequately pay for their own defense. The primary target of Trump’s ire is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Despite positive trajectories in both German and NATO allies’ defense spending over the past two years, which allies promised to increase to 2 percent of GDP by 2024, Trump is not looking to take a “victory lap” in Brussels and take credit for positive momentum in NATO defense spending.

    Instead, Trump will sharply accelerate American calls to end European “free-riding” to a new crisis point, directly linking U.S. political and security commitments in Europe with European willingness to raise defense spending, turning a security partnership into a transactional relationship. Trump’s rhetoric and actions in the following months has the potential to do more damage to the Alliance than any previous US president, more than even Russian President Vladimir Putin could have conducted or dreamed of.   

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  • Sixteen Former Foreign Ministers Send Letter to Trump Calling for Unity at NATO Summit

    Madeleine Albright and 15 other former foreign ministers from around the world are urging President Donald Trump to shore up America’s “deteriorating relationship” with its Western allies
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  • ‘We've Got a Good News Story to Tell’

    Interview with NATO’s James Appathurai

    It's no secret people are nervous at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, and not just with jitters that would be normal ahead of any major event with the eyes of the world upon it. With twenty-nine heads of state and government on their way to the Alliance’s sleek new headquarters, there are many variables, the most unpredictable being US President Donald J. Trump. The US leader continues his tirade against European under-spenders, who are angry over US trade policies. The Alliance is doing everything it can to avoid a category G7 catastrophe.

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  • NATO’s 2 Percent Guideline: What About the United States?

    At the NATO summit four years ago, the allies declared their commitment to “reverse the trend of declining defense budgets, to make the most effective use of our funds and to further a more balanced sharing of costs and responsibilities.” To that end, the heads of state and government gathered in Wales that summer recommitted themselves to increasing defense spending in real terms and achieving the NATO guideline to spend a minimum of 2 percent of each member’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense by 2024. In the buildup to this July's NATO summit in Brussels, US President Donald J. Trump is both publicly and privately pushing the allies to live up to this commitment, which fewer than half NATO’s twenty-nine members have plans to achieve.

    But what about the United States: Does the United States spend at least 2 percent of its national wealth on its commitment to European allies?

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