Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

“The Trump effect: How the U.S. president may be reshaping attitudes toward NATO”

Yahoo News
10 February 2020 (Read the complete article)

It's no secret that Donald Trump dislikes NATO.

But the U.S. president's incessant hammering of alliance members to urge them to pay more for collective defence may be having a spillover effect, particularly among traditionally staunch western European allies.

That's how some analysts are reading the results of the latest Pew Research Centre survey of the attitudes of individual countries toward the 70-year-old North Atlantic Alliance.

While most member countries maintain a positive view of NATO, there has been a marked, steady erosion in support in France, Germany and Spain compared to previous surveys.

Stéfanie von Hlatky, a defence expert and associate professor of political studies at Queen's University, agreed there is "disillusionment" among allies and said there's "a slight Trump effect" at work, but cautioned that the reasons behind the discontent are complex.

What surprised her, she said, was the widespread belief tracked in the survey among member nations that U.S. would step up to protect them in the event of a Russia attack — despite Trump's suggestion that America might not come to the defence of allies who don't pay up.

The survey also raises questions about the willingness of individual countries to commit their own forces to defend allies.