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In NATO debut, Biden's Pentagon aims to rebuild trust damaged by Trump


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In NATO debut, Biden's Pentagon aims to rebuild trust damaged by Trump

By Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali and Robin Emmott

 

2021-02-15T172613Z_1_LYNXMPEH1E0XX_RTROPTP_4_USA-BIDEN-NATO.JPG

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to Defense Department personnel during a visit to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

 

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's administration will use a NATO defense gathering this week to begin what is expected to be a years-long effort to rebuild trust with European allies shaken by Donald Trump's "America First" foreign policy.

 

U.S. officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity ahead of the event, said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would emphasize U.S. commitment and appreciation for the trans-Atlantic alliance after Trump's open hostility.

 

The NATO defense ministers' meeting, to be held virtually on Feb. 17-18 https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/events_181298.htm?selectedLocale=en, is the first major European event since Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20. Biden will deliver remarks at a virtual gathering of the Munich security forum https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-usa-security/plans-afoot-for-biden-to-join-virtual-munich-security-conference-source-idUSKBN2AB1FU?il=0 on Feb. 19.

 

After years of Trump's public ridiculing of NATO allies such as Germany who failed to reach defense spending targets, Biden's Pentagon will, without abandoning those targets, focus on progress made toward bolstering NATO's collective defense, officials said.

 

"Trust is something that can't be built overnight, is something that takes time. It takes more than words. It takes action," said a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration's objectives for the NATO meeting.

 

To underscore Biden's views on NATO, the White House even took the rare step of releasing a video

 

 

Still, Biden could face an uphill battle in Europe, which saw Washington upend its commitments under Trump, including pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord.

 

Trump's portrayal of NATO as an organization in crisis, dragged down by laggard members, has left many European allies feeling worn down.

 

"There’s an exhaustion in European security circles from Trump and his unpredictability,” said a European NATO diplomat.

 

"We’ve just spent four years not talking to each other and the world is very different from four years ago. Biden needs to do a big repair job in Europe."

 

Portugal’s Defence Minister Joao Gomes Cravinho, underscoring wariness about the United States, told the European Parliament on Jan. 28 that the Trump years were an “ideological experiment” that had “devastating effects in terms of the credibility of the United States and its strength internationally."

 

The U.S. will use a NATO summit this week to emphasize Washington's sharp departure from the stance of the Trump administration. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

 

The deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol in which pro-Trump followers tried to keep him in power, has also done severe damage to America's global image as a beacon of democracy, political analysts said.

 

RELIABLE ALLY?

One of Biden's biggest challenges will be convincing allies there won't be a return to another Trump era, or something akin to it, perhaps four or eight years down the line.

 

"That's a legitimate fear and a legitimate concern," said Rachel Rizzo, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security focusing on European security and NATO.

 

She added it will be a "slow process" to prove the United States can be a reliable ally.

 

French President Emmanuel Macron has gone so far as to say Europe needs its own sovereign defense strategy,

independent of the United States https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-france-macron/macron-europe-needs-its-own-sovereignty-in-defence-even-with-new-u-s-government-idUSKBN27V0RN. Still, eastern European allies such as Poland – fearful of Russia - say European defense plans should only complement NATO, not replace it.

 

The NATO defense ministerial is expected to broach a range of issues, including efforts to end the two-decade-old war in Afghanistan.

 

The ministerial is also expected to include discussion of the so-called "2 percent target" which requires NATO members spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2024.

 

Germany, Italy and Spain will all miss the 2024 target, according to initial projections released by NATO in October.

 

Germany has pledged to reach the NATO spending target by 2031, and its failure angered Trump, who ordered a pullout of some 12,000 troops from Germany, declaring: "We don’t want to be the suckers any more."

 

Asked about the target, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he expected Austin to emphasize that many allies were meeting the target and others were "striving to get there."

 

"I think you'll see a supportive message from the secretary about how relevant NATO is," said Kirby, a retired Navy admiral.

 

Another U.S. official said that even with economic stress on budgets because of COVID-19, the expectation was still for allies to hit 2 percent of their GDP, with Washington likely to make the argument that the health crisis should not be allowed to turn into a security crisis.

 

"But you'll hear a substantially different tone and a lot more emphasis on different capabilities," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

 

"It won't be instrumentalized as a political weapon to beat up allies."

 

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali in Washington and Robin Emmott in Brussels; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-16
 
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Obviously it's nice that in the moment the USA has a real president again. But for how long? 

Should the other NATO partners and the world bet that Americans will never vote for Trump or another moron again?

 

The problem are those many millions of Americans who believe in conspiracy theories. Many of them still think Trump won and they believe in QAnon. Strange people...

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15 hours ago, webfact said:

One of Biden's biggest challenges will be convincing allies there won't be a return to another Trump era, or something akin to it, perhaps four or eight years down the line.

 

And therein lies the rub... No matter how much as a European government type I might be inclined to trust Biden based on history and demonstrated experience, every one of them knows there's the alarming prospect of a possible repeat of the Trump years looming off into the future.

 

That's gonna make achieving restored trust in the U.S. -- for the time being -- a tough sell, no matter what Biden may do.

 

"Portugal’s Defence Minister Joao Gomes Cravinho, underscoring wariness about the United States, told the European Parliament on Jan. 28 that the Trump years were an “ideological experiment” that had “devastating effects in terms of the credibility of the United States and its strength internationally."

 

Yep, that pretty much sums up the past four years in a rotten nutshell.

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I figured that the damage that Trump did to the USA and its allies will take between 10 and 20 years to mend and some parts may never be fixed.

 

What a sad treacherous vile individual Trump is and the GOP should be hanging its collective head in shame for supporting him, even at his 2nd impeachment.

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1 minute ago, billd766 said:

I figured that the damage that Trump did to the USA and its allies will take between 10 and 20 years to mend and some parts may never be fixed.

 

What a sad treacherous vile individual Trump is and the GOP should be hanging its collective head in shame for supporting him, even at his 2nd impeachment.

Some of it will never be repaired, by now those we enter in agreements with the US , know that the agreement is only good until the next administration, and maybe not even then.

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Excellent! Imo it will indeed that years to rebuild the wreckage trump created not to mention the quite literally the hundreds of thousands American lives lost due to his willful incompetence in response to the covid pandemic here at home his utter lack of leadership ability will be felt for generations imo

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18 hours ago, webfact said:

 

After years of Trump's public ridiculing of NATO allies such as Germany who failed to reach defense spending targets

 

Yet another example of what a moron the previous incumbent was .. the U S was a founder member of Nato from its inception 4 yrs after the end of WW2 .. it is an organisation that cannot be valued by money alone and whose presence has deterred Russian aggressive , expansionism since coming into being .. not only was it deeply disrespectful to the thousands of America's son's who laid down their lives helping to end that war ( and who are still remembered by local rememberance services in some of the low countries to this day for their sacrifice ) but also showed a profound lack of understanding as to Nato's role in railing against it for financial reasons only .. 

Nato also stood shoulder to shoulder with the U S 20 yrs ago after the terrorist attack of 9/11 as part of the organisations " an attack on one is an attack on all " founding principles .. 

 

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11 hours ago, Sujo said:

Thats the truth in a nutshell.

Here here! Sadly the damage is ongoing and still being perpetuated. The systemic socialised problems in the US are vast and grave and will take a long time to erase, heal, and change. Not withstanding the anti-democracy fascist elements alive, turgid, and very active both in the very halls of government but also in vast swathes of the general citizenry.

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Considering ow how many Trump supporters that voted for him, and I believe that there are a lot of his supporters that want him to lead some kind of party for the next election, I really have to wonder what the USA will do 4 years from now.

   I also wonder what his party will be called, the no moral patriot party.  Donalds no hope party, or some other great name. His MAGA stuff, will be around as well, likely. I guess if the C19 virus does not kill off too many people, the politics of America will continue to be shaky.

  Geezer

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On 2/16/2021 at 1:05 AM, OneMoreFarang said:

 

The problem are those many millions of Americans who believe in conspiracy theories. Many of them still think Trump won and they believe in QAnon. Strange people...

The real problem is the antiquated electoral system, where someone can become president even if they get millions of votes less in the popular vote. And where a minority party can win state elections by vote suppressing and gerrymandering. Those things need to be fixed asap, so that everyone can vote, and it’s one man/woman, one vote, and not that ridiculous system of the electoral college and electors anymore.

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Yes, Trump delivered the Russians their goal of disrupting NATO and weakened the alliance.

However, he also called out  NATO members for not making their fair contributions. There are many members of NATO who give alot of hot air and BS. Some of  members are  total parasites. It is not surprising to see Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium and Italy being some of the worst offenders. Germany and Canada were hypocrites always talking about the need for world peace and solidarity, but always falling very short of their contribution obligation. Canada is one of the biggest hypocrites, always complaining, but relying on USA  for its defense. Canada cannot even exercise sovereignty  over its far north because it has no arctic navy capability and no supply vessels. Trump did terrible damage, but the member countries did not help matters.

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"In NATO debut, Biden's Pentagon aims to rebuild trust damaged by Trump"

 

That's easy done---just tell them all that they don't have to pay towards it anymore........Sorted

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17 minutes ago, Patong2021 said:

he also called out  NATO members for not making their fair contributions.

 

Another example of trump unilaterally tearing up a multinational agreement. NATO member countries had mutually agree to reach the contribution target of 2% of GDP by 2024.

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3 hours ago, Patong2021 said:

Yes, Trump delivered the Russians their goal of disrupting NATO and weakened the alliance.

However, he also called out  NATO members for not making their fair contributions. There are many members of NATO who give alot of hot air and BS. Some of  members are  total parasites. It is not surprising to see Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium and Italy being some of the worst offenders. Germany and Canada were hypocrites always talking about the need for world peace and solidarity, but always falling very short of their contribution obligation. Canada is one of the biggest hypocrites, always complaining, but relying on USA  for its defense. Canada cannot even exercise sovereignty  over its far north because it has no arctic navy capability and no supply vessels. Trump did terrible damage, but the member countries did not help matters.

Peace is not created by spending more money on weapons. Lots of money can be used in a lot better ways to establish peace. Some countries and leaders realized that already.

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23 minutes ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Peace is not created by spending more money on weapons. Lots of money can be used in a lot better ways to establish peace. Some countries and leaders realized that already.

And to that end, Biden has canceled arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Great job!

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