Trump Soothes NATO Secretary With Talk About Alliance's 'Enduring Importance'

Sat Nov 19, 2016 15:43:50

President-elect Donald Trump had a phone conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday, apparently soothing the official about NATO's 'enduring importance' and the need for increased defense spending.

In a brief statement published on his official Twitter account on Friday, Stoltenberg announced that he had a "good talk" with Trump, both officials "underlin[ing] the enduring importance of NATO and increased defense spending."

The NATO head's comments amounted to the latest effort to calm the alliance's bureaucracy and the US's European allies, who were sent reeling into a spiral of uncertainty and despair following Trump's surprise election victory earlier this month.

During the campaign, Trump warned repeatedly that Washington would have to review its relationship with its NATO allies, whom the candidate said weren't paying their fair share for US security guarantees. Currently only five NATO members, including the US, the UK, Poland, Estonia and Greece spend the required 2% of GDP on defense.

Trump has also slammed NATO as an "obsolete" institution going back to the Cold War, which simply wasn't doing the job of defending Europe and the United States from the real threats posed by Islamist extremism. During the race, European officials called Trump's comments "dangerous and irresponsible," with Stoltenberg himself issuing a rebuff to Trump, despite saying that he 'didn't want to interfere' in the US election. In the spring, President Obama met Stoltenberg personally to reassure him of US security commitments after Trump said on the camping trail that "it's possible that we're going to have to let NATO go."


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