Small Wars Journal

In Trump, NATO Faces a Challenge

In Trump, NATO Faces a Challenge by Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization faces one of the biggest challenges since the end of the Cold War with the election of Donald Trump, a persistent critic of the alliance.

The president-elect has questioned whether the U.S. should be committed to the defense of countries that fail to spend enough on their militaries. He has suggested a softer stance against Russia and urged the 28 NATO allies to focus more on fighting terrorism.

On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg congratulated Mr. Trump on his election victory but delivered a stern reminder of America’s obligations to its allies.

“NATO’s security guarantee is a treaty commitment,” said Mr. Stoltenberg, who criticized Mr. Trump’s comments during the campaign. “All allies have made a solemn commitment to defend each other. This is something absolutely unconditioned.”

Mr. Stoltenberg said the only time this collective defense provision of the Washington Treaty, NATO’s founding document, has been invoked is after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on America.

He added that NATO remains in Afghanistan working on the counterterrorism mission there.

Since the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, the U.S. and NATO have taken an increasingly hard line against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

But such a stance is unlikely to sit well with Mr. Trump. During the campaign, he has signaled his admiration of Mr. Putin and said the U.S. and Russia should do more to fight terrorism together, echoing Moscow’s position…

Read on.