Is the Atlantic Alliance collapsing? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Is the Atlantic Alliance collapsing?

It is feared that the two-day "NATO Leaders Summit" that will begin in Brussels on July 11 might become the new scene for the ongoing tension between the U.S. and its European allies.

Trump will meet Russia's leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki after the NATO Summit. Trump irked his European allies by saying, "Russia should return to the G7." The history of the G7 - the members of which are the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Italy, France and Japan - dates back to the 1970s. The G7, founded by the richest countries that represented the western wing of the "Cold War", became the "G8" in 1998 following the membership of Russia. Due to Russia's annexation of Crimea, its membership was suspended in 2014. Trump thinks that Crimea is part of Russia.

In the early 1990s, the "Cold War" period ended, the "Soviet Union" which had Russia in the center dissolved, and NATO's rival the "Warsaw Pact" also collapsed. The majority of the Soviet Union's former satellites became members of the EU and NATO. Through Baltic countries such as Estonia and Latvia, NATO pressed against Russia’s borders. Ukraine and Georgia cooperates with NATO under the "Partnership for Peace Program." One of the reasons for the tension between the U.S. and Russia is that NATO continues to expand in Europe, despite the fact that the Soviet threat has disappeared.

Trump, who called NATO "obsolete" once, is now stipulating that his NATO allies must pay two per cent of their revenue to continue to benefit from the U.S.'s military protection. Trumps is signaling that he will withdraw U.S. troops from Europe if his proposal is refused. Trump's primary target is Germany, and he is known for criticizing Angela Merkel's immigration policy.

On June 8, the tension between Trump and other leaders at the “G7 Leaders Summit" came to the fore with a photograph. The cause of the tension was additional customs taxes also imposed on G7 members by Trump. Trump’s withdrawal from the "Paris Climate Agreement" and the "Iran Nuclear Deal", as well also moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, can be listed amongst other reasons for the dispute. Trump is resorting to tough measures to ensure Germany, France and Britain also withdraw from the "Iran Nuclear Deal" by attempting to prevent European companies from doing business with Iran. This constitutes a serious economic loss for the "EU."

Trump’s meeting with Putin will also rise to the agenda at the NATO Summit. Assassination claims of an ex-Russian spy in London sparked a diplomatic crisis and sanctions between Russia and the West. On the other hand, alleged Russian political meddling in elections is widely accepted to be true by both sides of the Atlantic. The alleged Russian interference in Presidential elections in 2016 are still being investigated in the United States. The "U.S. Intelligence Community" and "Congress" agree that the Russians meddled in the elections. Of course, the Republicans insist that Trump had nothing to do with it. Trump's relationship with Putin is also criticized. These circles are accusing Trump of forging "enemies" from their allies, and "friends" from foes like Russia and North Korea.

At the "NATO Summit," European leaders will be split in two. On one side, there will be populist leaders who think like Trump and defend good relations with Putin, and on the other side, there will be leaders dubbed "Globalists." The trust between the U.S. under Trump’s presidency and Europe has been worn down considerably. Liberal Europeans no longer see the U.S. as a “reliable partner.” U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, as well as mainstream politicians, are seeking to comfort allies. Trump's tweets negate these efforts. Most Europeans hope that U.S.-Europe ties will be restored after Trump. The essence of matter is this: the destiny of the 70-year historic alliance between Western Europe and the United States will be addressed at this summit.


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