NATO Meeting: Grim Scenarios Avoided—At Least for Now

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The meeting of NATO heads of state on May 25 in Brussels, dubbed the “little summit,” did not bring any breakthroughs. Still, it was far from just a routine gathering. Symbolically, it introduced the new NATO headquarters, as well as stressed the Alliance’s modernization. It was seen as a demonstration that NATO is neither behind the times nor underfunded, as the Trump campaign has alleged. The modern headquarters symbolizes the Alliance’s ability to develop and proves its liveliness in a dynamically changing world.

The Brussels gathering was marked by the first meeting of NATO heads of state since U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron came to power. Trump’s critical statements towards NATO, especially during his electoral campaign, brought some uncertainty before the summit. Experts and leaders feared pushback on some deep reforms. Those apprehensions, however, as well as other bleak scenarios that were conjured up before the meeting, did not materialize. President Trump did not uphold his earlier objections and reservations, but rather adapted a conciliatory tone. He confirmed the legitimacy and purposefulness of the main NATO principles and thus demonstrated willingness to implement provisions of the July 2016 Warsaw Summit.

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