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President Trump with Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a White House meeting on May 17, 2018. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool via Getty Images

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will hold its biannual summit July 11-12 in Brussels. The meeting will bring together senior leaders of the 29 member countries and comes at a time of tension for the alliance. Since taking office, President Trump has consistently criticized other members for insufficient defense spending, which he sees as creating a disproportionate burden on the U.S.

The big picture: Almost since the inception of the alliance, these have been contentious questions. In fact, a 1989 RAND Corporation study of burden-sharing noted that the past 40 years had seen “innumerable” pages of legislative testimony and reports on the subject and that debate would continue as long as NATO exists.

Reality check: Democracies have competing priorities: Defense is expensive, and the U.S. spends far more on defense and NATO than other countries.

Yes, but: The economic case for NATO is sounder than Trump makes it seem. First, while the U.S. contributes the largest share of NATO security funding at 22%, the U.S.' GDP is roughly equal to those of the 28 other countries combined. As one former NATO ambassador pointed out, if NATO funding were based only on economic size, the U.S. share would be about 50%.

Second, beyond the security benefits of avoiding war, the U.S. derives enormous value from European stability, trading about $699 billion per year with Europe and directly investing $2.89 trillion. Conflict would disrupt those financial relationships, and the U.S. arguably has a greater amount to lose than any one European country.

The Bottom Line: Criticisms about NATO burden-sharing are not new, but they ignore the alliance's key virtues while undermining its cohesion and effectiveness.

Sarah Kreps is an associate professor of government and adjunct professor of law at Cornell University and the author of "Taxing Wars: The American Way of War Finance and the Decline of Democracy."

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Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.

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Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.