NATO leaders gathered at a golf resort near London on Wednesday for a summit acrimonious even by the standards of the Trump era, aiming to tackle sharp disagreements over spending, future threats including China and Turkey’s role in the alliance.
With US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron blowing hot and cold over NATO’s function, the 29-member military alliance is looking for reinvigoration as it marks the 70th anniversary of its Cold War-era founding.
“Clearly it is very important that the alliance stays together,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters as he prepared to welcome heads of state and government. “But there is far, far more that unites us than divides us.”
Leaders held preliminary meetings in London on Tuesday, during which stark differences were aired, with Trump, who in the past has called NATO obsolete, criticizing Macron for comments last month about NATO’s strategic “brain death”.
Trump said Macron’s remarks were “nasty”. He also described allies who spend too little on defense as “delinquent”.
Macron held his ground, saying as he arrived that it was important for leaders to discuss issues in an open and forthright manner if they were to find solutions.
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