The American president will be banging the drum for more money. The French president recently called the alliance brain-dead, angering the German chancellor. The British hosts appear impatient for the whole thing to be over. And everyone is mad at the Turks.
Existential crises are nothing new for NATO, but President Trump and the military alliance’s other leaders appear to be at a particularly tricky crossroads at what was supposed to be NATO’s celebratory 70th anniversary party this week in London.
The gathering, already downgraded from a “summit” to a “leaders’ meeting,” will be held in the wake of a number of shocks to the system, including Mr. Trump’s October announcement of a U.S. pullout in Syria without informing his European allies and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s defiant decision to buy a Russian missile defense system that other NATO powers fear could undercut the alliance’s defensive cohesion.
Doubts about Washington’s commitment to the 29-nation alliance helped spur French President Emmanuel Macron’s warning that NATO was suffering “brain death” and that European powers would have to rely more on themselves for their own defense.