On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a meeting Posts At the security conference in Berlin, which was followed by a round of questions with those present. There, Stoltenberg warded off suggestions that the Europeans would go it alone.
The words fell out after a respondent suggested that enhanced cooperation between NATO and the European Union as a result of the war in Ukraine might represent an opportunity for European NATO member states to forge stronger cooperation, especially in the event of a US change of government in two years.
– There may be elections in both Europe and North America where people who are not particularly enthusiastic about NATO are elected. This has happened before and could happen again, Stoltenberg says and continues:
– But if you’re worried about that, don’t do anything that will weaken the ties between Europe and North America. We become weak if transatlantic thinking is reduced to a form of bilateral interpersonal relations. But if we keep NATO as an institution, we can, on the other hand, stand strong when things blow up by storm.
– will only weaken the bond
Stoltenberg says one has to understand that 80 percent of defense contributions to NATO come from non-EU countries, while EU member states contribute 20 percent.
– Yes, questions were raised when Trump was president. But NATO survived, in fact we have strengthened NATO’s presence in Europe during those years. So any suggestion that Europe could do it alone would only serve to weaken the transatlantic link.
This is a debate that has been going on for a generation, NTNU professor and expert on international politics Jo Jacobsen told Dagbladet. At the same time, he notes, Stoltenberg is responding as expected, while his job is to secure NATO and transatlantic cooperation in the short and long term.
– A few years ago, the administration of Donald Trump gained momentum in this debate again. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Joe Biden became president and promised to continue as before, which the United States did, Jacobsen tells Dagbladet.
– Definitely a dilemma
When Trump was president, he threatened to go it alone if other NATO countries did not comply with his demand to immediately increase their defense budgets. Among other things, he did this while talking a lot Chaos Tour Summer 2018.
Are there risks associated with Europe’s dependence on the United States?
Yes, it’s clearly a dilemma. It has been a dilemma in the past, and it will continue to be a dilemma, but it will be fine as long as you carry on as before.
– But if a day suddenly comes when the Americans are no longer ready to support European security, and if you are not ready, then Europe will be left without a complete defense and security strategy.
– The mechanism you are afraid of
As Stoltenberg explained, the dilemma is related to the fact that if you build up European capabilities, you will increase the risk of an American withdrawal, Jacobsen explains.
– This mechanism is what NATO and the United States of America fear and affirm. NATO and the United States want Europe to spend more money on defense, but they don’t want Europe to build an independent defense that doubles NATO’s capabilities.
The professor says it will be difficult for Trump to be elected president again and carry out what he threatened the last time he was in the Oval Office.
This is because Europe will then be left with capabilities intended to supplement American ones, but not sufficient to create a viable European defence, he says.
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