Recently, Vice President Pence traveled to NATO headquarters in Brussels. The reason for the trip was to inform NATO allies that the United States would sustain its obligation to the organization. Pence did voice that President Trump and the Trump Administration wanted to see that the other NATO members start to pull their side of the bargain. This is best described in short in the quote Pence stated, “President Trump expected real progress among NATO allies in stepping up their defense spending” (NPR).
The reason why Pence stated this is that in theory NATO members are supposed to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense yet most of them have been falling short on this, therefore relying on the United States. Moreover, Vice President Pence stated that the United States has and will always fully support her allies in NATO, but want to make sure that everyone pays their fair share in NATO. The reasoning he states is to be able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Many analysts have stated that this trip was in many ways to subdue much of the worries that NATO members had because of Trump’s tirade on how NATO was obsolete, and his comments on how he wanted to have the United States not uphold its side of the bargain. Additionally, the meeting in the NATO headquarters in Brussels was to inform NATO members of the recent notification of Michael Flynn’s resignation as National security advisor. Pence also wanted to quell any fears of uncertainties from the European Union over the possibilities of the stoppage of cooperation between them and the United States because Trump voiced his critique of the institution and put fear in the EU of the possibility of the U.S. stoppage of cooperating with the EU. This is best described in a quote Pence stated, which was that he was sent by President Trump, to “express the desire of the United States to continue cooperation and partnership with the European Union” (NPR). Many see these statements as at odds with those made by the President himself, as Trump recently voiced his displeasure over the European Union and congratulated the exit of the United Kingdom.