US national security officials rushed to complete a formal North Atlantic Treaty Organization policy agreement before the official start of a summit last month, in order to ensure that President Donald Trump would not terminate parts of the deal ahead of its finalization, the New York Times reported Friday.
According to the report, after Trump declined to sign off on a communiqué from a NATO meeting in June, National Security Adviser John Bolton demanded that US officials make sure the international alliance’s military ambassadors completed the agreement before the commencement of the organization’s July forum in Brussels.
Bolton reportedly wanted the NATO communiqué to be completed before the president left for his trip to Europe.
NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, complied with Bolton’s request and quickly moved to advance several goals critical to NATO officials, including an allied pledge to significantly build up their militaries by 2020. Deliberations on the matter, which typically take weeks or even months, were speedily resolved, the Times reported.
“When you read the communiqué, and take into account the work that took place, this is one of the meatiest NATO summits that I can recall,” Deborah Lee James, a former secretary of the Air Force in the Obama administration, told the Times.
In June, Trump has admonished several leaders of NATO allies for spending too little on the organization, and warned of possible unspecified consequences, the New York Times noted.
In a series of blunt letters to NATO members, Trump attacked what he called their failure to meet security obligations, diplomatic sources said.
Trump has frequently complained that the US is shouldering too much of the costs in the organization and that it is time other member countries helped to foot a larger portion of the bill.
Trump particularly singled out Germany’s failure to do so, saying it was encouraging other nations not to fulfill their obligations.
Trump warned that it will “become increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries do not share NATO’s collective security burden while American soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives overseas or come home gravely wounded.”
As of June 1, the Trump administration has slapped a 25% tariff on imports to the US of steel and ten percent on imports of aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico, sparking the start of a trade war.