The Christian Science Monitor

Does old squabble over NATO’s costs mask US shift away from Europe?

When President Trump told a rally in Montana last week that Americans are “schmucks” for carrying the defense burden of wealthy European countries, he set the stage for another contentious meeting with US allies at the NATO summit here Wednesday.

But the bit of coarse presidential hyperbole also raised anew a question that has nagged US presidents since the end of the cold war. It’s a question that has only sharpened under an “America first” president who broadly questions the many multilateral arrangements the US has led since World War II.

In short, it’s this: Is NATO worth it? Do American taxpayers, and what Trump refers to as the American “piggy bank,” get their money’s worth for participating in and indeed leading Europe’s defense?

Some national security experts concur with Trump’s campaign pronouncement that NATO is “obsolete,” insisting that the 29-nation organization has outlived its purpose and is too bureaucratic

The US burdenValue of the allianceDefending wealthy countriesNot 'normal times'

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor3 min readSociety
“One Child Nation” Lays Bare China’s Population Choices
Nanfu Wang began “One Child Nation” as a way to rediscover her past. Ultimately, she documents the harrowing effects of the former Chinese policy.
The Christian Science Monitor5 min readPolitics
Low Interest Rates Are Often A Cure. Now They’re Also A Symptom.
Amid warning signs of recession, economists are taking a look at the endemic circumstances that have brought the world to this point.
The Christian Science Monitor2 min read
The Power Of Political Dog Whistles
The 2016 and 2018 elections were the headiest of times for dog whistles, but we might be about to say goodbye to them.