Stories by Ivo Daalder

Expert Voices

NATO strengthened at summit, despite Trump's threats and gripes

President Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May with other NATO leaders
President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May standing among other NATO leaders at the alliance's 2018 summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

On President Trump's first day at the NATO Summit, he scolded Germany as "a captive of Russia," accused allies of being delinquent on defense payments and called on member countries to double their defense spending from 2% to 4% of GDP. But he then joined 28 allied leaders in signing a declaration that bolsters NATO deterrence and defense and starkly criticized Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea.

Why it matters: The first set of statements are deeply divisive and call Trump's commitment to NATO into question. Germany is hardly controlled by Moscow, allies don't owe the U.S. any money and even the U.S. doesn't spend 4% of GDP on defense. These are all statements designed to undermine NATO.

Expert Voices

Trump’s Iran decision shows allies no longer count

President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chat at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017
President Trump, French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images.

A months-long effort by the U.S.' closest European allies to persuade President Trump to stick to the Iran deal has failed. This failure not only dooms the deal itself, but also shows that when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, allies no longer count.

Why it matters: The U.S.' greatest advantage in competing with China and Russia is that it has allies, whereas they merely have clients. That reality seems lost on Trump, who has ignored allies' views and interests since taking office.

Expert Voices

Trump's nuclear review retains key Obama commitment

The Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review retains a commitment, first made by Obama in 2010, not to "use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations." Today, all 184 non-nuclear weapons states under the treaty meet that criterion.

Trump's reaffirmation of this pledge, known as a negative security assurance, is significant. It rules out U.S. nuclear retaliation against these countries, even if they were to use chemical, biological, cyber or other weapons against the U.S. or its allies.