Small Wars Journal

‘This Could Get a Little Ugly.’ What to Watch For at the NATO Leaders Summit

‘This Could Get a Little Ugly.’ What to Watch For at the NATO Leaders Summit by Aaron Mehta – Defense News

When the leaders of the 29 NATO nations gather in London at the start of December, the focus will nominally be on a celebration of the past and a look to the future. But analysts agree that as much as the event is billed as NATO’s 70th birthday, politics could make the situation feel more like a funeral.

At a Nov. 14 event hosted by the Atlantic Council, supporters of NATO such as Lithuanian defense minister Raimundas Karoblis said the London meeting needs to “reconfirm alliance unity, cohesion… as well as to find political, moral and resource investments.” But there was little optimism in the crowd that the meeting will be able to transcend the political moment.

The focus, NATO watchers agree, will be on three presidents who have shaken the alliance in recent years. U.S. President Donald Trump began his criticisms of NATO while still campaigning for office, and during the last meeting of NATO leaders hinted at possibly leaving the alliance. The decisions by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey to buy a Russian air defense system against the wishes of NATO, as well as to move forces into Syria, has led to open questions about whether Turkey remains a viable NATO ally. And most recently, comments from French President Emmanuel Macron shocked allies with critical comments about NATO in an interview with the Economist, where he complained of “brain death” in the alliance…

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