President-Elect Donald Trump made highly controversial comments on both NATO and the European Union over the weekend. Surprisingly, Defense Secretary and Secretary of State Nominees, Ret. Gen. James Mattis and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, were poles apart from Trump when they had to opine on the matter before the Senate. It gave off the impression that Republican Party might not be on board with Donald Trump’s views. European leaders such as Angela Merkel hinted anxiety over breach in transatlantic relations.
Donald Trump May Severe Ties With NATO
The fear and uncertainty that was plaguing America’s international allies during the 2016 U.S. elections, is quickly reaching a tipping point as Donald Trump’s inauguration into office knocks around the corner. And the fact that the President-Elect would not stop sending out defamatory tweets is not helping calm things down. Days before taking office, Trump has called NATO an “obsolete” organization that is incapable of countering terrorism.
Trump had initially slandered the organization saying that, of the 28 allied members, only 5 pay 2% GDP on defense. And that it was unfair for them to burden the U.S. every time they needed military might or war artillery. German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said on Monday that he has discussed Trump’s current attack with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who was gravely concerned about President-Elect’s comments.
Trump And His Nominees Not On The Same Page?
NATO has always maintained that its alliance with the America has been crucial in battling terrorism in the past. Their alliance has taken down terrorism in the Mediterranean and lent aerial support against ISIS and Afghanistan. Keeping these records in mind, James Mattis told the Senate that NATO “is vital to our national interests, and it’s vital to the security of the United States,” CNN reported. Similar remarks were echoed by Rex Tillerson. He said that commitment towards NATO is “is inviolable and the US is going to stand behind that commitment.”
On the discrepancies of views between Trump and his nominees, Secretary of State John Kerry said that Trump’s “administration is going to have to begin at some point to speak with one voice.” However, NATO is not the only issue that Trump’s administration is having a hard time reaching a decision on. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has shown his willingness to forge a stronger partnership with EU. Trump, on the other hand, has stated that more European countries might consider leaving the EU in the future. He has attributed his prediction on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy that is a “catastrophic mistake, DW reported.