Foreign Policy for America Statement on the NATO Summit

December 5, 2019

Foreign Policy for America Statement on the NATO Summit

Washington, DC – This week at the NATO Summit in London, President Trump once again demonstrated his failures as a leader on the world stage. Instead of strengthening ties with our most essential allies, Trump was a laughingstock, embarrassing our country at the global level. After video leaked of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders joking about Trump’s incompetence, the President canceled his final scheduled press conference, choosing to storm out rather than articulate America’s interests at the forum.

While substantive work did occur at NATO, we were disappointed we didn’t get to hear much about it, because of the distraction of Trump’s childish antics. Even his joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron seemed to just be an opportunity for Trump to use soundbites to viciously spar with Macron over Turkey, Syria, and Russia. The President’s consistent attacks on NATO – the strongest military alliance in world history – undermine America’s national security, while advancing Vladimir Putin’s top goal of fracturing the alliance.

The American people have shown they believe more than ever that NATO is essential to U.S. security, according to Chicago Council on Global Affairs polling. 78% of Americans believe we should maintain or increase our commitment to NATO. That may explain Trump’s insistent tweet that, despite all evidence to the contrary, “[he] got along great with the NATO leaders.”

“The American people understand – and the polling bears this out – that our allies are critical to Americans’ safety, security, and prosperity,” said FP4A Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “That’s why this week’s display is so alarming, and why it could damage his re-election prospects. Instead of shoring up our alliances, Trump creates chaos and new conflicts whenever he travels abroad.”

“At no time in America’s history has our standing on the global stage been so tenuous,” said Lionel Johnson, FP4A board member, former member of the U.S. Foreign Service, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. “Donald Trump has made a mockery of the presidency that will take decades to repair at home and abroad. In a perilous and uncertain world this is the moment for a principled United States foreign policy that not only advances our interests, but also brings nations together to confront our common challenges.”

“As a retired career Ambassador, it is painful to watch the way Trump (mis)represents our country and actively works to endanger and undermine our national security,” said Ambassador Robert Gelbard, FP4A board member, former Ambassador to Indonesia and Bolivia, and former Assistant Secretary of State. “We need strong relationships with allies; we cannot go it alone. These relationships require work to keep them strong and ensure that our allies keep up their efforts too. But it is almost as if he consciously tries to undercut alliances, whether multilateral or bilateral, the ties with NATO, with South Korea, Japan and others. Our dedicated career Foreign Service and others are working every day to develop and maintain these relationships, only to have Trump undermine them and weaken our nation.”