NATO summit does not meet expectations

Preparations for the NATO summit in London are as dramatic as possible. Not only will it take place a week before the upcoming parliamentary elections in the UK. So this summit also threatens to become an arena of confrontation between the positions of the United States and European Union countries, now represented by Emmanuel Macron.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) greets Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) upon arrival for the NATO summit at the Grove hotel in Watford, northeast of London on December 4, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The other day, Macron already found himself in an absentia polemic with Recep Erdogan. The French president announced the death of the “brain” of NATO, to which Erdogan advised him to test his own brain. Arriving in London in advance, Donald Trump noted that France could indeed break away from NATO, as already happened under Charles de Gaulle, although it itself needs a military bloc more than vice versa.

Meanwhile, the US-French trade confrontation is growing. In response to the introduction of the “digital” tax on American IT corporations, the Trump administration has promised to establish 100% tariffs on most of French imports to the United States. We are talking about wines, cheese, leather products, handmade clothes, etc. The total value of new duties exceeds $ 2.4 billion.

Trump tried to transparently hint Macron that France is not in a state that would allow it to spoil relations with America. This year’s GDP growth does not exceed 1%, the unemployment rate is close to 9%, farmers are on the place of the “yellow vests” in Paris, and Macron’s ratings are within 30%.

The situation in neighboring Germany, which is on the verge of an economic recession, is no better. The parliamentary crisis is worsening in Berlin, the ruling coalition has actually collapsed, and early elections are on the horizon, which will further strengthen the positions of right and left populists from AfD and Die Linke.

Two key issues on the NATO agenda remain the same – how to achieve an increase in military spending of all members of the alliance and what should be the united position of the bloc on Iran. Indeed, right now, the EU countries, as opposed to the United States, launched the new Instex banking system, an analogue of Swift, which will allow them to continue to trade with Iran, bypassing American sanctions.

It is unlikely that at least one of these issues will be resolved at the imminent summit in London. European leaders hope to “sit out” Trump and wait for the Democrats to win the presidential election, with whom it will be easier to negotiate. The same thing that will happen if Trump wins in November 2020, they simply do not want to think.