In a major speech on March 21, 2016 Donald Trump called for a reevaluation the role of NATO on the world stage. Trump emphasized that the world has changed dramatically since the initial formation of NATO and that the purpose of the organization in the present configuration needed to be re-examined in light of the threat environment in today’s world.
Whereas the original organization came into existence to deal with the threat of the Soviet Union before its dissolution, the threat environment of today’s world has undergone major changes which should be recognized in the determination of NATO’s purpose in today’s world such as the threats from the Middle East were NATO’s presence in recent years has focused on Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Trump’s call for such a reevaluation is forward-looking and has substantial merit and should be done without delay. The threat to Europe and the US as a result of increasing radical Islamic jihadists activities stemming from the rise of ISIS and the spread of this violence into Western Europe and the US represents a new menace. In my opinion the scope of NATO’s activities have merely increased now encompassing not only the Russian threat to Eastern Europe but the threat of radical Islam to the Western world.
With the advent of terrorist activities threatening the Western world the type of warfare and intelligence activities for NATO will change in a major way and should be incorporated into the structure and resources of the treaty organization. If NATO is to perform the US must take the leadership role as it traditionally has but it can no longer afford to carry the financial load for the other countries that benefit from NATO who must up their ante and resource commitments to NATO. The reinvention of the role of NATO should proceed rapidly and will call upon all partners in NATO to focus on this effort to reinvent the organization at the earliest possible time.