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What Stopped Trump from Pulling out of NATO?

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One of the central activities of academic blogs – or what’s left of them these days – is for people to promote their books and articles. When I did a “soft relaunch” of the Duck of Minerva, I decided to streamline the process by introducing a Q&A format that authors can use to promote their recent work.

I think the one that went up today might be of particular interest to LGM readers. In it, Leonard Schuette discusses his International Affairs article, “Why NATO survived Trump: the neglected role of Secretary-General Stoltenberg.”

Not many know that Trump was on the verge of publicly announcing U.S. withdrawal from the alliance at the 2018 summit. Congress would have prevented a formal end to U.S. membership, but Trump’s announcement itself would have caused irreparable damage. Why then did Trump change his position on NATO in 2019? And why was NATO, at least in military terms, in better state when Trump left office than when he began his term?

Stoltenberg played an instrumental role in bringing Trump around. He managed the critical 2018 summit to make sure that Trump walked away with a victory. Stoltenberg placated Trump by siding with him against other member states over the issue of burden-sharing. He gave Trump undue credit for increased European defence spending. Stoltenberg also used subtle bureaucratic means to prevent Trump from undermining NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, which the alliance had reinforced after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

You can read the rest of the Q&A at my other digs, or check out the article – which is open access.

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