What European Leaders Expect From Trump at NATO Summit

© REUTERS / Jonathan ErnstU.S. President Donald Trump (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shake hands during a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shake hands during a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2017. - Sputnik International
The ongoing NATO summit in Brussels will be the first since the new administration came into the White House, with European leaders expected to pay "special interest" to President Donald Trump, defense analyst and former MP Mariusz Olszewski told Sputnik Poland.

"This interest has been generated by various statements Trump has made [with regard to NATO] prior and after moving into the White House," the analyst said. "I don't think we should expect anything extraordinary. The participants would learn Trump's opinion on the alliance and see whether he would keep his promises."

Olszewski said that the summit in Brussels would show whether the Trump administration plans to turn the US into "the world's policeman" and whether NATO's role would remain similar to the one the bloc played during the Obama administration.

NATO member states' flags outside the European headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. (File) - Sputnik International
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Although no major changes to the way the alliance operates are expected to take place, the bloc's priorities are likely to change. "Donald Trump started his overseas trip with a visit to Saudi Arabia. Does this mean that terrorism would be the main issue and NATO should adapt its priorities accordingly?" Olszewski asked. Apparently so.

Trump appeared to have been initially skeptical of NATO, saying that the alliance was obsolete since it was unprepared to tackle terrorism. He also criticized the majority of the bloc's European members for failing to allocate 2 percent of GDP on defense. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already confirmed that both of these issues would be on the agenda, with the leaders of the alliance expected to pledge greater involvement in counterterrorism efforts.

Stoltenberg also said that the bloc would not ask to boost its military presence on Russia's borders, a sharp contrast to NATO's recent policies. The North Atlantic Alliance has been increasingly belligerent in the last three years. The US-led military bloc has boosted its spending and military presence in Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the Baltic region in response to Russia's supposedly assertive foreign policy. The alliance has also drastically increased the frequency, scale and scope of its war-games.

Crowds protest the arrival of US President Donald Trump in Brussels on May 24. - Sputnik International
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"The deployment of forces to the eastern flank made certain sense as part of rhetoric during the Obama administration. Poland did not receive permanent bases, but only rotational presence. This partial fulfilment of promises despite double standards has been interpreted as increased trust which must be present among allies. Clearly, there is no trust and Trump's task [at the summit] would be to reaffirm that this bond exists among NATO members. Will he manage to do this? I don't know since some NATO members pursue opposite interests, complicating the efforts to define a single goal uniting this organization," the analyst said.

In addition, NATO's assertiveness has apparently failed to make the region more stable or secure. 

"I think that the world has become a significantly more dangerous place. Poland has protected itself well from these threats by refusing to take part in the scenario which Angela Merkel offered to the European Union. I want to remind you that it is her invitation that has brought so many refugees, some of whom are Daesh fighters in disguise, to the European Union. This is extremely dangerous," Olszewski warned.

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