Heightened tensions kick off NATO Summit in London

World Today

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, centre, takes her seat with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, behind, before a formal group photo during a formal reception for the heads of the NATO countries, at Buckingham palace in London Tuesday Dec. 3, 2019. Leaders from across the 29-member trans-Atlantic alliance are gathered in London to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO. (Yui Mok/Pool via AP)

In London, tensions have erupted at a NATO Summit. The event was designed to celebrate the alliance’s 70th anniversary. But it kicked off with clashes among some of the leaders.

CGTN’s Richard Bestic reports.

Britain’s Monarch Queen Elizabeth II has been around since the beginnings of the NATO alliance. As she welcomed the 29 of its leaders to Buckingham Palace, she won’t have seen the alliance at a much more testing time. This summit’s meant to be all about celebrating 70 years of NATO, the biggest and longest-lasting military alliance in history.

The reality, it was a day of easing stresses and strains within the organization.

You know you’ve got a problem when the leaders of two of the most powerful NATO members get into a spat over whether the alliance is strategically ‘brain dead,’ a reference to Turkey’s unilateral incursion into Kurdish-controlled Syria.

‘Nasty,’ said U.S. President Trump and the sniping didn’t stop there.

“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters you can take anyone you want,” said Trump to French President Emmanuel Macron.

“For me the very first objective in the region is to finish the war against ISIS, and don’t make any mistake, your number one problem are not the foreign fighters,” replied Macron. “It is the ISIS fighters in the region and you have more and more of these fighters due to the situation today.”

President Trump then called Macron a ‘great politician’ saying ‘this one of the greatest non-answers I’ve ever heard.’

NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was founded as a force to stop further expansion of the Soviet Union. With the Soviet collapse, NATO struggled for a new direction.

With open hostility in the ranks of NATO’s leaders, this celebration of 70 years of the alliance has been kept to a minimum, to avoid the potential for any further public disagreements. The future strategic direction of the alliance has been left for another day.

Jonathan Broder discusses NATO summit

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Jonathan Broder, defense and national security Senior Writer for Newsweek, about the NATO summit.