As the world leaders arrived for a two-day NATO summit, their entry was accompanied by anti-NATO rallies in central London on Tuesday. The summit titled as “NATO Engages: Innovating the Alliance” marked the 70th anniversary of the military alliance and remained unaffected by the protests.
The indifferences between the NATO leaders grew wide with the US President, Donald Trump’s slamming of the European bloc members for not spending enough on weapons for the alliance.
As known, the US has been overinvesting in NATO for several decades.
The US’ decision of withdrawing its troops from Syrian territory, which later led to Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria, added to the tensions amongst the NATO leaders. The US even sanctioned Turkey over its military incursion, bringing the Middle Eastern country closer to Russia.
Turkey’s involvement with Russia, despite being a NATO ally, has brought condemnation from the world leaders. Its acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missiles further aggravated the NATO allies, who have long claimed that the Russian missiles are not compatible with its defense network, and compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.
Earlier, the US even offered its Rayethon Patriot Missiles deal to the Turkish government, which rejected the offer stating that it was not as good as Russia’s S-400.
Over the time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had defended procuring Russian missiles, stating Turkey’s cooperation with Russia and China were important because of its geographical location, which calls for the need of multifaceted foreign policy approach.
The issue of Russian missiles became a heated topic of debate for the leaders during the NATO summit which started with Trump and NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg’s meeting on Tuesday. Both the leaders stated that they were looking forward to unite the military alliance.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s previous comments of NATO being “brain dead” also became the center of attention during the NATO summit. Later, both Trump and Macron argued over getting rid of the ISIS because of its growing threats throughout the world.
Later on Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted a four-party meeting with Macron, Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Downing Street, which was dedicated primarily to the situation in Syria. All the leaders criticized Erdogan’s “Operation Peace Spring”.
Despite being a NATO member, both the US and Turkey have had contrasting views over Syrian crisis, which has altogether aggravated global anger. The summit that aimed at strengthening the military alliance disclosed the huge differences between the leaders.
Though the raised topics would require innumerous discussions in future, what is to be noted is that the humanitarian crisis and ISIS threats in Syria are still perpetuating.