The mainstream media in the U.S. derided President Trump for taking a hard line against fellow NATO members (the ones who don't pay their fair share). But it turns out one liberal newspaper actually thought Trump did OK in Brussels.
"Trump Got From NATO Everything Obama Ever Asked For," wrote The New York Times.
The New York Times? Yes, really.
"Now that the smoke has cleared from the NATO summit meeting, the most tangible result is apparent: President Trump advanced President Barack Obama’s initiative to keep the allies on track to shoulder a more equitable share of NATO’s costs. Mr. Trump even signed on to a tough statement directed at Russia. For once he saw eye to eye with his predecessor," the Times wrote in its own editorial.
As Mr. Trump, and Mr. Obama before him, have argued, Europe can do more to help itself. The allies rely too heavily on the Americans to transport troops and equipment, for instance, and the fact that France ran out of bombs during the 2011 Libya operation demonstrated a crucial weakness. There may be other shortcomings, too — NATO is not transparent with its data.
Greater spending by American allies might mean the United States could lower its own spending and bring thousands of troops home. Mr. Trump didn’t make that argument, but he has often talked about withdrawing forces and closing bases, whether in Germany or Syria or somewhere else.
Trump hammered NATO last week, and just before his press conference with international press on Thursday, NATO leaders called an emergency session to address Trump's criticism that they aren't spending enough on defense.
“Yesterday, I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening, and they have substantially upped their commitment,” Trump said at around noon local time in Belgium. “I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially,” he told reporters after the emergency session.
“Tremendous progress has been made. Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before,” Trump said. “Commitments were made,” he added. “The commitment was at 2 percent, ultimately that’ll be going up quite a bit higher than that.”
“Everyone in the room thanked me. There was a great collegial spirit in that room. . . . Very unified, very strong. No problem," Trump said. “NATO is much stronger now than it was two days ago.”
Now, even The New York Times agrees Trump did more than Obama.