In one of several policy shifts Wednesday, President Trump cemented his change in posture toward NATO as he stood alongside the 28-nation military alliance's leader at the White House. As a candidate, Trump had dismissed NATO as "obsolete," saying the post-World War II organization wasn't focused on combating the growing threat from terrorism and complaining that too many members weren't paying their fair share toward defense, the AP reports. He struck an entirely different tone Wednesday, one he had been warming up to during frequent telephone conversations with his world counterparts.
"I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete," Trump said of NATO at a news conference with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg after they met in the Oval Office. Trump still insists that NATO members meet a 2014 agreement to boost defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product within a decade. He has backup on this point from an important ally: Stoltenberg. Currently, just the US and a handful of other countries are meeting the 2% target. (In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Trump had new positions on calling China a currency manipulator and two other policies.)