NATO secretary general addresses joint session of Congress

Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is addressing a joint session of Congress Wednesday morning. Stoltenberg met with President Trump in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump has taken a somewhat combative stance with NATO members. He made waves during his appearance at the NATO summit in Brussels last July, where he gave a speech slamming allies. Mr. Trump said at the summit that he wanted ally nations to spend 4 percent of their GDP on defense, double the 2 percent NATO members have committed to paying by 2025.

“What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?” Mr. Trump tweeted at the summit. “Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”

Mr. Trump has tried to decrease the U.S. footprint abroad with his “America First” foreign policy. In his meeting with Stoltenberg Tuesday, the president again said NATO allies will have to spend more on defense, suggesting the 2 percent figure “may have to go up.”

Before he became president, Mr. Trump declared NATO “obsolete.” He later revised that statement, saying he no longer believes that to be the case.

“I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete,” Mr. Trump declared during Stoltenberg’s visit in 2017.

When NATO was founded in 1949, there were 12 member nations. Now there are 29. Last month, Mr. Trump suggested Brazil could be a part of NATO, although Brazil is largely in the southern hemisphere.

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