Javier Fernández Arribas
Director of Atalayar
The US President, Donald Trump, has not stopped surprising with his initiatives. Oddly enough, in this case, he has not used Twitter to send a message demanding his NATO allies to increase the military expenditure. Maybe a formal letter has another dimension for those who have received it, it is not a public Tweet addressing a more internal and specific consumption of the North Americans voting the nationalist and populist option of Trump. The president of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, is one of the addressees, along with the German Chancellor and the leaders of Norway, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland and Portugal.
Other allies such as the United Kingdom, France or Turkey, for example, countries with a specific weight within the organization, are going through special circumstances in their relations with their allies. The British are managing the Brexit and whose exit from the European Union could influence or not their strategic relationship of defense and security. Turkey is in the middle of a political evolution after an election that has given President Erdogan almost absolute power and supports his policy of rapprochement and collaboration with Russia.
And France is one of the initiative’s promoters of giving the European Union its own defense to overcome the usual dependence on the United States. The French initiative maintained the intention of not buying arms and equipment systems in the United States so that the investments were dedicated to European companies. The proposal is presented as a promotion to the European defense industry as a decisive step in the construction of the European policy. The reaction in Washington was of clear discontent and the right of North American companies to participate in the possible European projects was claimed.
Days later, Trump’s letter comes reminding Europeans their commitment to reach 2% of the GDP in their defense expenditure by 2024, because “it would be hard for me to explain North Americans that we pay most of the defense of the Europeans”. The North American petition is not new, since it was expressed by Barack Obama in the past, but what matters in this moment is the assessment that the Europeans can make because of the pressure that Trump’s letter represents in the middle of a business war due to the rise of tariffs, the climate change or the nuclear agreement with Iran.
10/07/2018. This article has been published by Atalayar.