The NATO Summit


President Donald Trump’s calls on NATO allies to do more, his earlier assertion that NATO is “obsolete,” and his willingness to explore a more cooperative U.S.-Russia relationship have provoked considerable discussion and debate surrounding America’s relationship with NATO and its other members. As the president’s first NATO summit, the May 25 Brussels meeting could prove pivotal in defining U.S. policy toward the alliance and how America’s allies see the new administration. It could likewise have significant impact on the complex and mistrustful U.S.-Russia relationship. On May 23, the Center for the National Interest assembled an impressive panel of former U.S. officials from several Republican and Democratic administrations to assess the summit and its possible outcomes. Ambassador John Negroponte, a former Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State, moderated. Speakers included:

– Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the CATO Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan;
– Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute and a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and career diplomat with extensive experience in the State Department and the National Security Council;
– Paul J. Saunders, executive director of the Center for the National Interest, director of its U.S.-Russia relations program, and a former State Department senior advisor in the George W. Bush administration; and,
– Alexander Vershbow, distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council and a career diplomat who has served as NATO’s deputy secretary general and U.S. ambassador to NATO and Russia.