NATO Allies Seek to Turn the Page on Trump’s ‘America First’

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Foreign ministers of NATO countries stressed the need to bolster a relationship strained by Donald Trump’s “America First” approach.

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the 30-nation alliance, told reporters Tuesday that the ministers discussed challenges “by authoritarian regimes like Russia and China” in preparation for a June 14 leaders summit in Brussels.

“We all agree that at our summit we have a historic opportunity to reinforce the transatlantic bond and to prepare our alliance for a more unpredictable and contested world,” said Stoltenberg. Defense ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were meeting later Tuesday.

Trump hectored European countries for insufficient military spending, cast doubt over the usefulness of the military partnership, and unilaterally changed American troop deployments abroad. Under President Joe Biden, relations between the U.S. and the European Union have thawed, and the two sides agreed to suspend tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s products in March.

Asked about reported French concerns about increasing spending on NATO to the detriment of EU defense efforts, Stoltenberg said there was “broad agreement” on the need for additional resources.

“There is no contradiction between national defense efforts and NATO, actually NATO is the cornerstone for security and defense for all NATO allies,” Stoltenberg said. “Spending together is a way to invest in the bond between Europe and north America because NATO brings Europe and north America together every day.”

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