At the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump pushed aside Duško Marković, the prime minister of Montenegro:
Did Trump just shove another NATO leader to be in the front of the group? pic.twitter.com/bL1r2auELd
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017
But France’s newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, demonstrated that it is actually possible to make Trump wait his turn and not come first.
CNN reports: When President Donald Trump lectured NATO members on their contributions to the trans-Atlantic alliance, he demonstrated a lack of understanding about how the group works and potentially alienated the US’ closest allies, analysts said.
The speech comes at a time when Washington’s longstanding partnerships with the UK and Israel have endured friction over intelligence gaffes by the new administration.
“Diplomatically, the speech was inept at best and deliberately insulting at worst,” said Jeff Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Trump’s remarks Thursday, alongside his continued misrepresentation of how the alliance works and his failure to reaffirm US commitment to the group, is likely to further unsettle US allies, sowing doubt about US leadership and possibly making it harder for NATO leaders to convince their people of the need to spend more on defense.
Ivo Daalder, a former US ambassador to NATO, said that “this was a perfectly scripted event to deliver a very simple message that every president of the United States has delivered at the first possible opportunity, which is that the United States stands firmly behind its commitment to the defense of NATO.”
“We signed a treaty, we uphold it. It was really easy,” Daalder said. “And the fact that he didn’t do it was disturbing and will take a long time to overcome in Europe.”
Trump was making his first visit to the alliance in Brussels, where leaders had carefully scripted his visit, unveiling a memorial to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to mark the only time NATO has invoked Article 5, which holds that all members will defend any one of them that’s attacked.
The NATO-led alliance that came to the United States’ aid in Afghanistan and Iraq sent more than 3,000 soldiers home in body bags.
Against this backdrop, the President accused NATO allies of shortchanging US taxpayers by not meeting the shared target of spending 2% of GDP on defense — a misunderstanding of how the funding system works.
Trump also scored a damaging first, according to Nick Burns, a former US ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush, by becoming the first president since the group’s founding to fail to reaffirm the US commitment to collective defense, the principle that glues the alliance together. [Continue reading…]