Trump Pressuring NATO to Contribute More to the Fight Against Terrorism

Member of NATO Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan, May 13, 2014[President Donald] Trump has called NATO obsolete and pushed allies to focus more on counterterrorism….

[NATO Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg and other allied officials have long maintained that NATO’s best contribution to fighting terrorism is to train local forces and advise partner countries’ ministries of defense, efforts the alliance is pursuing in 40 countries.

But Mr. Trump has pressured the alliance to do more to fight terrorism. NATO is also looking at other ways it can expand its counterterrorism efforts in conjunction with efforts to bolster its special-operations command, Mr. Stoltenberg said in an interview before his call with Mr. Trump.

“Special-operation forces is one element in a wide range of tools NATO has,” he said. Exactly how the headquarters role would shift is still under discussion, he said.

Officials said NATO’s special-operation headquarters could be expanded and could also take a greater role in training partner nations’ forces. But some Republicans in Washington have said NATO should think even more expansively, examining a bigger operational role for the special-operation-forces command.

Mr. Stoltenberg also said the new alliance intelligence division is looking at improving information sharing on terror threats, including foreign fighters.

“In a more complex world, with new threats and new challenges, we need intelligence even more to understand the different threats we are faced with. And we need to work more closely together,” he said. “We also need better intelligence to address the threats from foreign fighters and terrorism.”

The secretary-general said allies need to share and understand intelligence “in a better way.”

Allies have disagreed on how involved NATO should be in counterterrorism efforts, arguing the threats are best addressed by national governments and law enforcement. But Mr. Stoltenberg says there is a role for the alliance and has been prodding the alliance to do more.

“I am looking forward to sitting down with the new administration and to discuss, with all allies, how we can strengthen NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism,” he said.

Image: Member of NATO Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan, May 13, 2014 (photo: NATO)