What is behind Trump’s call to turn NATO into ‘NATO+ME’? | The Bottom Line

The U.S. president asked the West’s main military alliance to “become much more involved in the Middle East.” What does that mean?

After the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Solaimani in early January, U.S. President Donald Trump said that a string of accomplishments had “changed our strategic priorities,” paving the way for U.S. forces in the region to withdraw.

“We can come home, or largely come home, and use NATO,” he said, describing the Middle East as “a big source of problems.”

Washington, as the biggest player in NATO, can sway the mission of the alliance. NATO’s mandate has evolved over the past 70 years from confronting the USSR to fighting alongside the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So what is next for NATO? Will Trump be able to impose his will on the other 28 members? What would NATO’s engagement in the Middle East look like? And what would Washington’s disengagement with the region look like?

Join Steve Clemons as we get to The Bottom Line.


• Alexander Vershbow, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, and prior to that, U.S. ambassador to the Alliance. He’s now at the Atlantic Council.
• Heather Conley, former U.S. State Department official working on Europe. Currently the Director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
• Nile Gardiner, foreign policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation and former aide to Lady Margaret Thatcher

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