The NATO Summit, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance, was held in London on December 3 and 4 and was marked by an atmosphere of controversy between the leaders of the participating countries. The members of the alliance were not able to come to a common decision and determine the guidelines for development.
The discord that was felt throughout the summit was facilitated by a series of events that occurred the day before. The central figure, which gathered the greatest number of disagreements around it, was US President Donald Trump, whose relations with the leaders of other countries significantly escalated.
A week before the summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed concern that Trump’s presence could undermine the parliamentary election campaign in London on December 12, and asked him to refrain from interfering. Then, on the first day of the congress, a column of demonstrators opposing the policies of Trump and NATO as a whole proceeded to Buckingham Palace, where the British Queen invited the leaders of the participating countries to a banquet.
Relations with Emmanuel Macron also staggered after the bold statements of the French president that NATO was “experiencing a brain death”: despite the fact that this statement provoked a radical but necessary discussion, it caused wide resonance and great discontent from Trump, who complained to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that this is “an irresponsible and disrespectful statement by France”.
The growing trade confrontation between the United States and France, which entailed the introduction of 100% tariffs on French imports to the United States, is compounding the situation. In this regard, Trump tried to emphasize that it was currently unprofitable to spoil relations with America in France, and also questioned the further membership of France in the alliance.
The views of Trump and Erdogan also diverged significantly after Turkey acquired the Russian S-400 missile system, then the tension in relations was aggravated by the situation in northeast Syria. This could not but affect the nature of the interaction of the presidents at the entrance of the summit. Disagreement with Erdogan’s policies was repeatedly expressed by Macron.
The culmination of universal controversy, in particular concentrated around Trump, was the conversation between Macron and Johnson, as well as the Prime Ministers of Canada and the Netherlands – Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte – during which state leaders mocked Trump for his impromptu speech during the press conference.
“His team just had a jaw dropping on the floor…”, – Trudeau commented on the speech of Trump.
The rest participants of the conversation supported the Canadian leader. The conversation was filmed by reporters and immediately went online. Subsequently, Trump called Trudeau “duplicitous”, recalled Canada’s refusal to pay 2% of GDP for defense spending, thereby emphasizing disagreement about the dialogue, canceled his last speech at a press conference and left the London NATO summit ahead of the expected departure date.
The general agenda of Trump’s political efforts, trying to plunge certain regions of the world into chaos and destroy the transatlantic union, also adds fuel to the fire, thereby destroying the economy of the European Union, the main political and economic competitor of the United States. Thus, Trump advocates the destruction of the alliance rather than a further alliance within it. The situation with Turkey remains unclear, which a number of Western media have dubbed the “problem child of NATO”: in its desire to receive support in the fight against terrorism, the country only faces the fact that the most important members of the alliance support terrorist organizations.
In general, the goals and strategies for the continued existence of NATO remain dubious even for the alliance’s member countries. According to Macron, the main agenda for the near future is the need to build a new architecture of trust and security in Europe, readiness for an “open and full-fledged dialogue with Russia,” as well as considering China as a new enemy of the North Atlantic bloc. However, in conditions of radical disagreements reigning between the participants of the alliance, which is gradually weakening its strength, these new vectors of development cannot be properly implemented.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.