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Trump’s NATO ire will focus on Germany

Friday, April 28, 2017

Significance

The NATO mini-summit in Brussels on May 25 will be US President Donald Trump's first meeting with European counterparts in a NATO context, and the first such event with Trump as leader of the alliance’s leading military power. The summit also takes place in the context of continued European concerns about US commitment to NATO and European security following the presidential campaign, along with strong and persistent US calls for increased European defence spending, more equitable burden sharing among the allies and a more pronounced role for NATO in counterterrorism.

Impacts

  • Delays in German defence spending increases could see White House frustrations spill over to trade talks.
  • Northern and eastern NATO members are the most likely to increase outlays at Washington’s request.
  • Trump may condition US deployments to NATO’s flanks on greater participation by European troops.
  • Trump’s continued support for Kurdish forces is a more likely sticking point with ally Turkey than Ankara's authoritarian turn.

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