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.
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.”
U.S. officials pushed to finalize a NATO deal before last month's summit even began, to prevent President Trump from rejecting it https://t.co/KiAPZ9hokC
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 10, 2018
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.
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.
Can Trump Admin officials explain how the president is serving US national security interests when his own advisors feel compelled to bypass him? https://t.co/XgxQSCPCHf
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 10, 2018