- Trump called the alliance “obsolete” multiple times during the campaign
- NATO chief favors increased defense spending from allies
“I said it’s obsolete,” Trump said, referencing a favorite refrain. “Now it’s no longer obsolete.” He was speaking to reporters at the White House alongside NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, after giving him a warm welcome and praising the organization as “the bulwark of international peace and security.”
Trump’s stunning u-turns on NATO, China, Russia and Syria
But Trump’s about-face has more to do with those closest to him and the way Stoltenberg has focused on shared priorities with the new President, as well as the deterioration of another key relationship: that of the US and Russia. Here are four factors that have driven Trump’s dramatic 180 on NATO — for now.
Trump has appointed several pro-NATO figures to senior positions and appears willing to heed their advice. Secretary of Defense James Mattis once held one of the senior-most military commands in the alliance and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the US commitment to the collective defense of fellow alliance members “inviolable” during his confirmation hearings.
And it’s fitting that Trump made his comments…
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