Trump sends his lieutenants to Europe to calm nervous nellies


Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence will meet with European leaders still fearful over Trump’s election win.

One of the items on the agenda will be to get NATO member countries to pay their fair share in running the organization, instead of passing the bill onto the United States. Members of NATO are asked to spend two percent of their Gross Domestic Product on defense.

Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-Gen. Jens Stoltenberg (left) agrees that the allies must increase their defense spending and ease the burden on the U.S.

Stoltenberg said that in two phone calls to Trump, the new president “strongly expressed his strong commitment to NATO, but in both calls he underlined fair burden sharing.”

The NATO alliance has been the backbone of European security since 1949, initially formed as a defense against the former Soviet Union.

But Trump, when he was running for president, called the alliance “obsolete,” emphasizing that European members continue to welch on paying their share.


Retired Marine Gen. Mattis will attend a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday. Mattis once served in the alliance and has fought alongside its troops.

Tillerson, the former chief executive of ExxonMobil, who has travelled the world for decades making energy deals, will meet Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, China’s Wang Yi and other new colleagues from the world’s great powers at Thursday’s G20 ministerial talks in Bonn.

Pence, who served on the House Foreign Affairs committee in Congress,  will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel at a Munich security conference before flying on to Brussels.

Merkel’s Germany was Barack Obama’s closest partner in Europe, but Trump has backed Britain’s decision to quit the European Union.

With the Netherlands, France and Germany facing national elections this year, EU leaders are worried that the White House, with a little help from the Kremlin, will spur the same populist forces that got Trump elected.

With a report from Dave Clark, Washington (AFP) Feb. 14, 2017


North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord

Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium

Expenses: $867 million (2015)

Member states (28)

Albania Flag_of_Albania.svg.png
Belgium flag_of_belgium-svg
Bulgaria flag_of_bulgaria-svg
Canada flag_of_canada-svg
Croatia flag_of_croatia-svg
Czech Republic flag_of_the_czech_republic-svg
Denmark flag_of_denmark-svg
Estonia flag_of_estonia-svg
France flag_of_france-svg
Germany 23px-flag_of_germany-svg
Greece flag_of_greece-svg
Hungary flag_of_hungary-svg
Iceland  flag_of_iceland-svg
Italy flag_of_italy-svg
Latvia flag_of_latvia-svg
Lithuania flag_of_lithuania-svg
Luxembourg 23px-flag_of_luxembourg-svg
Netherlands flag_of_the_netherlands-svg
Norway flag_of_norway-svg
Poland 23px-flag_of_poland-svg
Portugal flag_of_portugal-svg
Romania flag_of_romania-svg
Slovakia flag_of_slovakia-svg
Slovenia 23px-flag_of_slovenia-svg
Spain flag_of_spain-svg
Turkey flag_of_turkey-svg
United Kingdom 23px-flag_of_the_united_kingdom-svg
United States flag_of_the_united_states-svg