With the world watching, President Donald Trump today gave a speech in Brussels before assembled European leaders that left most in disbelief.
Trump managed to insult the leaders and nations comprising the EU and NATO by disparaging them for their NATO membership defense spending.
The faces of the leaders in attendance said it all. Some, like Germany’s Angela Merkel, stared ahead blankly as Trump spoke. Others looked on with utter incredulity.
This was of course one of the themes of his caustic campaign to the White House, the insistence that NATO members were not paying “their fair share” for the defense pact that has served Europe so well for over six decades. Trump also declined to plainly state that the U.S. under his guidance would honor the critical Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which affirms that an attack on one member nation would be treated as an attack on all.
Instead, the most Trump would say was that the he would not “forsake the friends” who had stood by the U.S. in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.
Failing to clearly assert that the U.S. would adhere to Article 5 is deeply troubling, as it is the bedrock upon which the NATO alliance is built. It was widely believed that Trump would take this opportunity to lay to rest doubts as to whether a Trump-led United States would fully honor its NATO commitments, an alliance that he has repeatedly slammed as “obsolete.”
Trump made it pretty clear during his presidential campaign that he had a strange fondness for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, and seemed to favor closer ties to Russia than to America’s long-standing European allies. Now, at a time of resurgent Russian belligerence, how will Europe, and for that matter, the Kremlin, interpret the messages Trump delivered with his Brussels speech?
Watch the video below of Trump’s Brussels speech:
The nations of NATO and the EU must be more than a little concerned in the wake of President Trump’s Brussels address. For the first time since the alliance’s formation in 1949, it’s member states have to be questioning whether the biggest, most important member, the United States, will follow through on its commitments should the need arise.
Yes, Mr. Trump, Europe did stand by the U.S. during its time of greatest need, following the horrific September 11 attacks. And this is how you would return the favor?
What do you think of Donald Trump’s address to the leaders of NATO and the EU? Share your opinions in the Comments section.