Following a solid week of NATO officials demanding President-elect Donald Trump commit to supporting the alliance, irrespective of his calls during the presidential campaign for Europe to pay more of the cost of their own defense, President Obama has now come out to claim Trump will do what NATO wants.
Obama claimed the question of NATO had come up during their brief meeting, and that Trump had told him that he is committed to a “strong and robust” NATO and will keep US strategic relationships intact.
Obama’s comments appear designed to end hysterical reactions among other NATO member nations, with many predicting the collapse of the whole concept of “the West” as a result of Trump’s election and comparative lack of hostility toward Russia.
It’s unclear how much Obama’s comments actually mean, however, as Trump has not publicly backed away from his own comments suggesting he questioned the relevance of the alliance in the wake of the Cold War.
Perhaps even more problematic to the status quo is Trump having already agreed to normalize relations with Russia. NATO’s military buildups against Russia in the past couple of years have been presented as their main raison d’etre, and if US-Russia ties warm, it will clearly undermine the alliance’s talking points.