NATO Turns To Joe Biden To Heal Donald Trump’s Wounds

It has been five months since the transfer of powers in Washington but the wound is still open. The NATO has lived very tense moments throughout its history, from the kick of the France of De Gaulle to the crisis over the Iraq War in 2003, but four years of Donald Trump were the stormiest and certainly the closer The tragedy was almost consummated with an abrupt exit from the United States. The drama was avoided and now, with the first Summit with Joe Biden at the White House, the air in Brussels is very different.

There is no talk of “brain death” of the Alliance, nor of dissolution, the basic idea of NATO is not questioned, the commitment to go whatever happens to the aid of an attacked partner. And no one is shouting from the rooftops that others are delinquent and profiteers. If that holds until Wednesday night, the Summit will be seen by many as a success. If, in addition, the leaders manage to advance the agenda for 2030 and deepen the philosophy that not only do you have to spend more, but you have to do better, and that the most efficient way to achieve this may be to start coordinating investments so that you do not go each on his own, the secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg , will sleep like never before.

“We are at a crucial moment for the Alliance and our collective security. We are in an era of global competition, with many simultaneous threats and challenges. The aggressiveness of Russia, the rise of China, the permanent threat of terrorism, increasingly sophisticated sabotage, climate change … No one, not a country or a continent, can deal with all this alone, but neither Europe nor the US are alone, we are together in NATO. According to our surveys, 80% of citizens believe that the transatlantic relationship is the most important thing for security and defense, “said the former Norwegian prime minister at the press conference prior to the big event.

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Stoltenberg was in the White House these days to prepare the meeting with his team and the North American delegation, the most important. The United States agrees that a more ambitious security and defense agenda is necessary, that it is necessary to speed up political consultations, reinforce collective security and increase preparedness. Everyone knows that for this it is essential to continue advancing in the promise made in 2014 by all members (during the Obama-Biden Administration) to invest at least 2% of GDP in Defense, but the reading varies greatly from one place to another in the planet.

In the last seven years, collective spending on security has risen by 260,000 million euros, despite the economic situation of many of those affected. The commitment remains to go towards 2%, but there are more factors. Trump, for example, did not accept any other scale than that figure, while the NATO structure itself understands and remembers that there are more elements, such as participation in missions, the infrastructures that are made available. Stoltenberg himself has said countless times that what counts is spending well. If everyone invests 2% but does so in redundant material, training or elements, the added value for the Alliance is better than if everyone does it well, in a coordinated way or even jointly, and all flanks are covered efficiently. But it is one thing to say it and another to do it.

The data published this Friday in Brussels show that the allies have increased their investment by more than 4% on average over the last five years and that they expect to do so by 4.1% during this year. In 2014, only three countries were spending more than 2%, Greece, the US and the UK. Now there are 10 who have exceeded the promised threshold and another nine have more than 1.5% of GDP. At the bottom of the list, however, they remain the same. Luxembourg, with 0.57% of GDP and Spain, with 1.02, light years away from what was agreed.

At the last summit held in Brussels, in July 2018, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez , received severe reproaches from Trump for those figures, which have improved little since then. The president pledged, inside the room and outside, to go up, remembering that Spain is an ally that takes what has been said seriously and that its contribution encompasses much more than pure spending. But Trump was not satisfied at all.

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Moncloa has reported that the president will meet with Biden these days in Brussels . It is not clear what type of meeting it will be, its duration, whether it will be just an informal greeting to the new occupant of the White House or it will be possible to address substantive issues, and specifically what is happening with Morocco and the Sahara. Rabat is using the support of the Trump administration for its demands to pressure Europe, and although Biden’s team has managed to navigate these days without getting into more trouble, for Spain it is a vital issue.

From Moncloa they also drop these days that Spain could be the chosen venue for a meeting of the Alliance next year. The offer is on the table and it would be a way to smooth things over and show interest, and also a way that all eyes are not left only with the image of the graph. The situation of our country in the last decade is well known, the damages of the pandemic are very well known, but right now the country that invests the most in Defense in the entire Atlantic Alliance is Greece, with 3.82% of GDP. And the truth is that if something is well known in Europe, it is that few countries have suffered more than they have in the last two decades, economically and with political instability.

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