by Tiffiny Ruegner | April 15, 2017 2:51 am
The 13th Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Jens Stoltenberg fended off tricky questions by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to trip him up into criticizing President Trump. It appears instead that Stoltenberg has sided with Trump on many key issues surrounding the multi-national alliance.
In the video, you will see Blitzer repeatedly asking Stoltenberg if he felt he could trust the president, who recently changed course on his declaration that NATO was “obsolete.” Stoltenberg responded by saying he “welcome[s] his very strong message on defense spending, on burden sharing and also on NATO’s role in fighting terrorism.”
“I agree with President Trump that European allies and Canada have to invest more in our collective defense.”
President Trump surprised us all Wednesday when he told reporters that NATO is “no longer obsolete.” This reversal came after a meeting with Stoltenberg which probably prompted him to change his tune.
President Trump said that, “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”
President Trump addressed his two main problems with NATO: an insufficient focus on fighting terrorism and the failure of member nations to contribute their fair share. Perhaps it is NATO who is going to change their direction. The President said, “We must also ensure that NATO members meet their financial obligations and pay what they owe.”
President Trump isn’t the only one to push for equal contributions among member states. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis have turned up the heat on lagging members saying, “As President Trump has made clear, it is no longer sustainable for the U.S. to maintain a disproportionate share of NATO’s defense expenditures.”
This time, Stoltenberg seems to side with President Trump on both issues, saying there was room for improvement and that he welcomed feedback from the United States, the majority contributor.
Stoltenberg told Blitzer that, “NATO has to continue to change, especially when it comes to stepping up our efforts in fighting international terrorism. We do know that we can do more. And also when it comes to fair burden sharing inside the alliance, many allies have to invest more in defense.”
Blitzer wanted to press and push trying to get the answer he wanted as he didn’t seem satisfied with his response.
“But do you trust him?” Blitzer pressured.
Finally Stoltenberg strongly responded, “I trust his very strong commitment to NATO, of course, because he has shown it not only in words but also in deeds.” Check out the entire interview below:
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