U.S. President Donald Trump surprised the nation with an unexpected reversal of his opinion on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. Trump, who has consistently challenged and criticized the alliance, praised it on Wednesday.
The unexpected change in the president’s opinion came while he addressed reporters at the White House. Donald Trump was accompanied by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the press conference. The president offered a warm welcome to the NATO official and said that the organization has been “the bulwark of international peace and security.”
“I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. I said it’s obsolete,” Donald Trump said at the press conference. “Now it’s no longer obsolete.”
Though the 45th American president seemed appreciating NATO, he still criticized its working as he called it “obsolete” in his statement. In a 2012 tweet, Donald Trump criticized NATO for not inviting Iraq in the NATO summit held in Chicago. On the other hand, in the latest media conference, the president said that he was quite hopeful that the alliance will take care of America’s Iraqi partners in their battle against the Islamic State.
While the change in Trump’s views is a sudden occurrence, Stoltenberg has been in favor of the American president for long. The NATO secretary general had already admitted that the alliance and Donald Trump have similar priorities that mainly dealt with the enhanced defense expenditure among the member countries so that they capably fight terrorism.
Donald Trump noted the changes implemented by NATO as the factor that made him change his views about the alliance. Though the changes are still unidentified, Stoltenberg was found satisfied with Trump’s justification. The NATO official said Trump was “right.”
“We have established a new division for intelligence, which enhances our ability to fight terrorism, and working together in the alliance to fight terrorism even an even more effective way,” Stoltenberg elaborated the “change” that Trump mentioned in his statement. “But we agreed today, you and I, that NATO can and must do more in the global fight against terrorism.”
In the joint press conference, Donald Trump assured of working collectively with the NATO allies and thereby strengthening the partnership. He also promised to “adapt to the challenges of the future,” including migration and terrorism.
While the “changes” are yet to be discovered, it is evident that Stoltenberg’s mention of shared priorities might be the reason behind the American president’s U-turn. Moreover, the counter-terrorism measures adopted by the alliance in helping Iraq fight ISIS can also be a reason that drove Trump to trust NATO. The organization started training Iraqi troops since February to help them and make them capable of battling against the terrorist group.
Recently, the United States has seen a considerable increase in the lack of international support. The observation came following the airstrikes launched against Syria by the nation in retaliation for the chemical attack conducted by the latter. The Donald Trump “decisive action” widened the rift between America and Russia, which has been a firm supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Having a cordial partnership with NATO in a critical situation where major world players are opposing America seems valuable for the United States. Hence, the changing opinion of Donald Trump might prove to be an intelligent decision. It is important to note here that Moscow is NATO’s traditional rival.
Donald Trump became the newest member of the alliance on Monday as he signed off on the Balkan country of Montenegro.
“For Russia, this is something they did not want to see happen,” NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti told the House Armed Services Committee in March.
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]