I asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg a pair of questions in Brussels today: 1) Did President Trump assure you he wouldn’t make any concessions in his meeting with Vladimir Putin — for example on Crimea? 2) Has President Trump, in any of his conversations with you, suggested he thinks the United States has too many troops in Europe?
In both of his answers, Stoltenberg made a point about Trump’s words being different from that of the administration’s deeds (so far). It’s true that Trump has not done anything to reduce U.S. military support for NATO, and has actually increased military investments in Europe. But at the same time, Trump has done what no recent U.S. president has done — publicly questioned the value of NATO for the U.S. and in the process made some of America’s closest allies privately question whether they can still rely on American protection.