The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is having a summit in the U.K., and all 29 members will be in attendance for its big 70th anniversary. NATO members originally joined together to defend against the Soviet Union and communism following World War II. Though there are 14 articles in the treaty, the arguably most important is the 5th, which states that an armed attack against one NATO ally is an armed attack against all members.
So far, this pact has withstood the test of time through the Cold War, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan following 9/11, and fighting terrorism across Northern Africa. While Soviet threats have become Russia threats, several NATO countries have been involved in old school wars over territory (see Ukraine and Crimea), as well as Russian interference with cybersecurity.
Now, NATO is facing some internal conflict as well. Leaders have been arguing over the budget and general responsibility of each nation involved in the group. President Trump has long criticized other NATO members for not contributing enough to the organization’s central budget. Specifically, France and the United States have been at odds since last month.
“We are currently experiencing the brain death of NATO,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the Economist in an interview published in early November. “Strategically and politically, we need to recognize that we have a problem.”
Trump said relations between the U.S. and European NATO members were not causing any divide, with the exception of France. “I do see France breaking off. I’m looking at him and I’m saying he [Macron] needs protection more than anybody and I see him breaking off, so I’m a little surprised at that,” Trump said.