The terrorist attack at a concert in Manchester, England, will now alter the focus of President Trump’s first meeting with NATO members from its original agenda this Thursday.
Despite the differences between Trump and other NATO members opinions on NATO, the timing of the attack will likely prompt Trump to call for a unified alliance on fighting terrorism.
“Certainly I think the events in Manchester are going to overshadow the NATO mini-summit, and it’s going to provide increased impetus for NATO member states to do more in terms of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” said Nile Gardiner, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, to The Hill. “Certainly President Trump will be making the case for greater contributions from NATO allies.”
Throughout the presidential campaign and into his first weeks in office, Trump criticized NATO as “obsolete,” duly because he believed it was not focused enough on fighting terrorism and that they were not properly utilizing defense spending.
However, in April, Trump declared that NATO is “no longer obsolete.” Still, he reiterated his desire for NATO to have a greater role in the ISIS fight and continued his criticism of its spending.
On Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Manchester terror attack will reorient focus on the threat of terrorism but claimed NATO has been doing a lot to counter terrorism.
“They’ve been doing a great deal, but it just heightens the urgency of taking out Raqqa and Mosul and developing better intelligence, and it just heightens the criticality of us understanding what a terrible threat this really is,” McCain told The Hill, referring to ISIS’s stronghold cities.
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