Brussels, Belgium. NATO is working hard to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention issues. The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to 2 to 4 minutes at a time during the discussion and to avoid the Afghanistan build up, several sources inside NATO said.
Trump during campaign 2016 slammed the alliance as “obsolete” and openly praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. He had previously promised to end US involvement in NATO and bring all US troops outside the USA home. Then Trump did the impossible; he promptly did a 360 degree flip-flop and said NATO was no longer obsolete and committed to it’s future.
NATO will host the heads of all 28 members in what will be Trump’s first face-to-face summit with an alliance he bashed repeatedly while running for president. NATO traditionally organizes a meeting within the first few months of a new president’s term.
“It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump,” said one source briefed on the meeting’s preparations. “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child that has attention deficiency disorder and mood swings, who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in policy issues, nothing-just a mindless twit,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Even a brief NATO summit is way too stiff, too formal, and too policy heavy for Trump. Trump is not going to like that,” said Jorge Benitez, a NATO expert with Washington-based Neocon think tank the Atlantic Council.
NATO officials say European allies are still struggling to get a read on Trump’s stance on Europe. Four months into office, Trump hasn’t clarified US policy toward Europe, he cheered Brexit and endorsed anti-Europe candidate Marine Le Pen in the recent French elections.
NATO is nervous, a former senior German NATO official explains, “Trump offered a taste of his “stability” during his awkward meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March, where he refused to shake her hand, then he handed her a fake “bill” for overdue NATO payments. Now we are talking about going back into Afghanistan, anything can happen, with this Trump guy.”
The NATO leaders are scared of Trump’s un-predictability given, ” he launched 59 missiles at a country he was not at war with, over his daughter’s emotional outburst, frankly we are scared how he might react.” The former officer added.