President Trump’s pledge to put America first has caused many ripples of disruption in the “established” order of geopolitics and with the global economy. On July 3rd, a further disturbance was promised, this time regarding NATO, according to this report from Reuters:
President Donald Trump will tell fellow NATO countries at next week’s summit that the United States cannot be “the world’s piggy bank,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Tuesday.“What the president is going to do is go into these meetings with the mindset to protect the American people, stand with our partners and allies – but as he has said many times before America is thought so often to be the world’s piggy bank. And that’s gotta stop,” Gidley told reporters as Trump flew to West Virginia. Trump has pressured some NATO allies to significantly increase military expenditure.
Sputnik spoke to geopolitical analyst and author Nikola Mirkovic, to find out how Europe might respond to such straight talk.
Sputnik: So, we know now that President Trump plans on telling NATO countries next week that the US “cannot be the world’s piggy bank” – how do you expect NATO leaders to respond to that sentiment?
Nikola Mirkovic: I think that most of them would be hypocrites to say that this is something new.
Please bear in mind that former secretary of defence of Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Robert Gates, constantly kept asking NATO countries to respect the two percent engagement of GDP for the NATO budget. So, this is not something new.
I think now that a lot of NATO countries will act hypocritical because they don’t know in which direction Donald Trump is going. So, they’re afraid that this menace, of not meeting the two percent engagement of each NATO country, could be hiding something different which could be more in line with what Donald Trump said in his campaign promises, and that NATO was obsolete, that NATO had to be reviewed, …this is something that… could be scary for NATO countries today and this is why they are reacting this way now.
Sputnik: It is of course, certainly the ‘liberal consensus’, that president Trump is essentially tearing apart multilateral institutionalism, but of course [some] would argue that Trump has a point here, and that NATO members, and Europe more generally, need to start taking care of their own security and defence, a little more independently of the US – what do you think of that?
Nikola Mirkovic: I think this is true. And I think actually, the first question all of us should be asking ourselves, whether it be in Europe or in the US, is what is the purpose of NATO? NATO was invented right after World War Two against the so-called ‘Soviet threat’ against the west. Now that this Soviet threat does not exist anymore what is the purpose of NATO?
And if we look at what NATO has been used for, these past years: illegally bombing Serbia, intervening illegally in Afghanistan or bombing Libya, in all three of these regions the situation today is actually worse than it was before, it’s catastrophic.
So we can ask ourselves, what is the purpose of NATO? When NATO intervenes, the results are opposite to what they were supposed to be. It’s costing a lot of money and do we still need such an organization? Do European countries still need such an organization, which is manifestly directed, or driven, by Washington DC. Is this in the interests of the European countries?If Donald Trump asks if NATO is in our interests, I think the European countries should jump on that bandwagon and review their own strategy in terms of defence.
Sputnik: Do you think that, given the recent concerns in Brussels over the future of the transatlantic alliance, it’s possible that EU leaders may be more open to Mr Trump’s demands, more accommodating of them, in order to try and preserve the stability of the alliance?
Nikola Mirkovic: I don’t know. This is the tricky question, because now we see in the European Union that there is no more consensus, there really is no more consensus on different matters. Maybe we might start seeing some divergent opinions. Concerning NATO, this is something that is relatively new in the European discussion, the fact that maybe, some countries would like to get out of NATO.
None of the officials of any European country today has voiced that position, but I think that seeing the current situation, seeing what happened at the G7, seeing the current status of the European Union, which is very bad, some may want to do whatever is possible to try to save the Atlantic alliance.
So, we may start seeing some hawks going in any direction to try to save the alliance. Some countries may also start voicing their own interests and maybe a different view on Europe and on the relationship that Europe should be having with the United States.