Sunday, May 28, 2017

The NATO, G-7 and European Union Summits

NATO summit
            The North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced the adoption at its summit of its mission against the so-called “Islamic State,” which has repeatedly attacked several member states.  Many NATO members had already been participating in anti-Islamic State efforts.  NATO also announced better anti-terrorism coordination, particularly the increased exchange of information on foreign fighters.

            NATO unity was undermined, however, by the Trump Administration’s leaks of anti-terror information shared by the United Kingdom and especially by the lack of the expression by Donald Trump of a commitment to NATO’s core commitment to common defense, which has deepened fears by European allies that Trump is too pro-Russian to depend upon the United States to defend them against Russian aggression.  Instead of praising fellow NATO members for meeting the target of spending 2% of gross domestic product on defense or at least increasing defense spending and contributing in other ways, Trump demanded the U.S. allies pay more, as if NATO collects dues and as if Americans are mercenaries.  He did not acknowledge the vital role NATO plays in defending U.S. interests.  Indeed, the only time NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense provision has been invoked was after the September 11 Terrorist Attacks on the U.S. by al-Qaeda Islamists. 

            Montenegro is joining the alliance in early June.  As I have posted, anti-NATO pro-Russian parties failed to win the election in October while simultaneously a Russian-backed coup d’etat, which included an attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister, failed in the former Yugoslav state.

European Union summit
            At its summit, the European Union reached an accord that balances welcoming and rescuing migrants and refugees with border security, including limits on immigration.

The Group of Seven Major Economic Powers summit
The annual summit of the Group of Seven major economic powers was hosted by Italy in Taormina, Sicily, which is strategically located at the center of the Mediterranean.  Then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who had been Mayor of Florence, moved the G-7 summit to Sicily from his city to dispel negative stereotypes about Sicily and Southern Italy

Russia has been excluded from the G-7 since its 2014 invasion of Ukraine.

At the meeting, Trump thanked Italy for its antiterrorism assistance and in regard to its mission in LibyaItaly has been bearing much of the burden of rescuing migrants in the MediterraneanGreece has been among the others most burdened.  The European Union is assisting in the rescue mission.
            The G-7 pledged better anti-terrorism coordination, including in regard to cutting off terrorist funding and limiting terrorist access to the Internet.  

           Note: in addition to the leaks about the British counterterrorism investigation, during his first trip abroad, Trump himself also leaked military intelligence secrets to the leader of the Philippines, who did not need to know them and who then leaked them to the public.  Also, Trump praised the “Filipino Trump” for the latter’s crackdown on drugs, which is most notable for extrajudicial killings of “suspects” by police and citizens.  As I had posted before, Trump praised the Turkish dictator for his grabbing of additional constitutional powers through a rigged referendum.  Such statements undermine American moral prestige.  I had warned about Trump’s authoritarian tendencies in posts before Trump’s election and inauguration.  

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