Trump’s visit to the UK on July 13th and 14th follows on from his attendance at the 2018 NATO summit in Brussels. Earlier this year NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg laid out the five key objectives for the summit: further strengthen the transatlantic bond, build on NATO’s work with partner nations to fight terrorism, strengthen NATO’s Black Sea presence and step up efforts against cyberattacks and hybrid threats.
Like most international diplomacy, NATO summits usually involve a high degree of consensus, with outcomes largely determined in advance. The 2018 summit may be different. During his election campaign Trump was less than enthusiastic about NATO, questioning commitments to mutual defence and arguing that the US’s partners were not paying their way. As President he has overseen a continuing push to make other NATO members commit to spending at least 2% of GDP on defence. This has been partly successful with eight NATO countries meeting that target this year. Across the alliance defence spending is rising faster than inflation; 4.3% in 2017, 3.3% in 2016.
NATO is a nuclear alliance and insists that it will remain so as long as nuclear weapons exist. It argues that it for its nuclear weapons to be credible it is essential to retain the option of first use; in other words a pre-emptive nuclear strike. New developments, such as Trump’s mooted ‘Space Force’ are in large part about updating the infrastructure to enable pre-emptive use. The systems already exist, but the cost of the further developments required for maintaining a technological lead is high. This is a major factor in the US’s desire for its NATO allies to spend more on defence.
Read the full article here
Opinion piece from Pete Cannell (Edinburgh Stop the War) _ July 4 2018