A Short Recap of The London NATO Meeting


The world leaders at the NATO Summit. Photo Credit: US Department of State.

The United Kingdom hosted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO Heads of Government Meeting on Dec 3 and Dec 4 in London, England.

The first event took place at Buckingham Palace in the form of an evening reception on Dec 3, hosted by Queen Elizabeth II for the NATO leaders. NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

The second event, or the NATO leaders meeting was held at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, UK on Dec 4, and was chaired by the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg from Norway. It was the military alliance’s 70th anniversary. 

The meeting was characterized by tense discussions on several issues including defense investment, nuclear deals, and the growing influence of Russia and China, Syria’s civil war, Turkey, cyberspace, and economic/security issues. The United States worked to push NATO members to increase their spending on defense for Europe’s safety. President Donald Trump urged members to double current defense spending of 2% of economic output.  

French President Emmanual Macron condemned NATO’s negligence in dealing with Turkey’s aggressive offenses against Kurdish Fighters in Syria. Turkey sees the Kurdish Fighters as terrorists but they were once allies in the fight against the Islamic State.

Macron emphasized that NATO should focus on strong anti-terrorism advances. He also commented that the coalition was “suffering from brain death,” partly due to questionable US leadership. US President Donald Trump countered the claim, calling the comments, “insulting.” Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel also backed the U.S. by calling Macron’s comments on NATO “drastic.” She noted that America was an important ally in keeping Europe strong.  

U.S President Trump was also reported calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeu “two faced” after a video surfaced of a small group of NATO leaders including Trudeu, Macron, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom. The group was supposedly bantering about Trump’s behavior at the two day NATO meeting. Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, and Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, were also present with the group. 

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg brought attention to rising internal and external tensions. He emphasized exterior issues such as the fight against terrorism, Russia, control of arms, and the growing influence of China, while warning leaders not to let internal conflicts interfere with NATO’s ambitious goals. He mentioned previous discord arising from the Suez conflict and the Iraq war, stating that NATO has managed to get past disagreements and develop solutions. 

The President also announced a change in plans for the location of the next G7 summit. It will be held at Camp David instead of the proposed Trump National Hotel in Doral Florida as the President stated in October. There was bipartisan backlash on holding the conference at the hotel due to potential for violating the emoluments clause in the constitution which prevents world leaders from accepting gifts or payments from the government.