The 2018 NATO Summit will likely be filled with shockers and maybe even a couple of sour apples, Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, told Sputnik Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump arrived with First Lady Melania Trump in Belgium Tuesday ahead of the Wednesday and Thursday get-together with world leaders for the yearly North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit. Following the talks, Trump will also meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the trip overseas.
Oberg told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear on Tuesday he predicted that the summit might be filled with “some kind of surprises and a bad atmosphere.”
“The conflict over the Atlantic is deeper than it has been over the years,” Oberg told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. “I think if you want the larger perspective on it… much of the Western world is… getting weaker and that is something that causes a lot of internal problems.”
“[They have] leadership problems in the European Union, you see a completely different type of leadership in… Washington and you see a NATO that, of course, is influenced by that. There’s no way that NATO couldn’t be influenced by the helter-skelter and the crisis of the West,” he added.
According to Oberg, the big-ticket issue that’s bugging NATO members is the case of burden-sharing. Though debate on the matter has always been present, it was kicked up a notch recently thanks to POTUS’ affinity for criticizing NATO allies for not spending enough on defense.
Ahead of the meeting, US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey confirmed to reporters on Thursday that 45’s top priority in Belgium would be none other than the case of burden-sharing.
“There has always been a discussion about [burden-sharing],” Oberg said. “And it’s irrelevant in my view, because anybody whose studied these things knows that the United States is in Europe to protect the United States… it’s a forward defense position.”
Noting that several countries have pledged to spend 2 percent of their GDP on funding NATO defenses, as NATO members agreed in 2014, Oberg called the move “completely bizarre and foolish.”
“I think the burden-sharing thing is bullsh*t, I think the 2 percent thing is bullsh*t. It’s an intellectual disarmament completely because that’s not the way you run security politics,” he stressed.
When asked about European Council President Donald Tusk’s Tuesday shot across Trump’s bow to play nice at the summit, Oberg remarked that the 61-year-old was just taking a page from Trump’s book and trying to “ridicule” him.
Burden-sharing issues aside, Oberg said that the world needs to look past NATO.
“The future world does not need things like NATO, nuclear weapons, interventionism and militarism… it needs something completely new,” he said. “NATO should either close down completely or be turned into a non-weapons humanitarian organization with transport and communication facilities or be the embryo for a European security system.”