President Trump threatened to shake up a decades-old trend in American foreign policy when he called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance “obsolete” last month.
The president claimed that the Alliance was no longer relevant as it was designed “many, many years ago,” and that certain countries in NATO “weren’t paying what they were supposed to be paying.”
According to CNN, NATO terms state that member countries must spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. According to CNN’s report, only five member states, U.S., Greece, Poland, Estonia, and the U.K., currently meet the spending requirement.
Trump’s pooh-poohing of NATO seemed to be in direct contradiction with Defense Secretary James Mattis’ views on the Alliance.
Secretary Mattis, whom NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called “a strong friend of NATO at the Pentagon,” confirmed to NATO members that the U.S. has “an unshakeable commitment” to the Alliance.NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Getty Images/Sean Gallup
However, President Trump may be warming up to his Defense Secretary’s view on NATO.
It was announced on Monday that President Trump will travel to Brussels in May to attend a meeting of NATO leaders.
In a Sunday night phone call, Trump and Stoltenberg “reconfirmed the importance of the Alliance in troubled times,” and they discussed the president’s concern of certain countries not paying their fair share in defense spending.