A new report has suggested senior US officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, rushed through a deal on NATO before the president could sink it.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on August 10, 2018

The efforts of Bolton and company meant that NATO was able to produce a declaration. This meant NATO diplomats could go ahead with initiatives including efforts to improve the alliance’s defences against Russia.

The New York Times has reported five senior officials disclosed that Bolton sent a request for an early declaration to Brussels via Kay Bailey Hutchison, the US ambassador to NATO. Bolton wanted the declaration (normally called a communiqué by NATO) to be completed before Trump even left for Europe.

“The president’s national security team did a good job of salvaging a minimally successful outcome to the NATO summit,” said James G. Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral who also once served as the supreme allied commander for Europe.

He added: “it is unfortunate that the president’s apparent personal animus continues to create friction in an alliance that has stood the test of time.”

Trump had previously been at odds with other G7 leaders

The declaration came after Trump had refused to endorse the G7’s communique from its June meeting in Canada. Trump met with the traditional US allies amid acrimony and ended up getting into a war of words with Canadian leader Justin Trudeau and exited without signing a joint agreement.

Trump’s left the G7 summit before the traditional joint news conference en route to his meeting Kim Jong-un. He also missed sessions on climate change, ocean health and clean energy.

During the July NATO meeting in Brussels, Trump threatened the other allies the US could act without NATO if they did not increase their military spending.

He also questioned one of the foundational ideas of the alliance, that an attack on one member nation would trigger a response from all alliance members.