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Eroding NATO’s existence

Jul 12,2018 - Last updated at Jul 12,2018

President Donald Trump never ceases to surprise friends and foes with his eccentric remarks, which are often made out in the open for the whole world to hear.

The NATO summit in Brussels was no different as President Trump came out in the open to question the raison d'être of NATO and ask whether it is now an outdated alliance overdue for review. Trump went further by hypercriticising some NATO leaders attending the summit, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, about her country’s contribution to the defence alliance, describing it as too little.

President Trump warned that his country can no longer remain the "piggy bank" of NATO by contributing almost 4 per cent of its GDP, while others barely contribute 2 per cent. He even questioned whether Russia's annexation of Crimea is still a living issue against Moscow.

While some of Trump's criticisms could be viewed as legitimate, the main concern is that he chose to go public with them instead of raising them in private sessions of NATO. To question the very essence of the 69-year-old alliance in public can only give comfvort and satisfaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who oftern raises his country's concerns regarding the encroachments of NATO forces deployed so close to his country's borders.

On the other hand, when President Trump says that Germany and other European countries are too dependent on Russian gas and have become "captives" of Moscow because of this fact, he is saying out loud the obvious. Yet, such issues and how to rectify them are not for public debate, since doing so serves to erode the very existence of NATO and put in doubt its durability.

President Trump would be better advised to discuss his complaints with discretion, and behind closed doors, where he can expect a more cooperative audience. Airing his critical observations whenever and wherever he chooses is not an accepted statesmanship style by a long shot.

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