On 8 January, Donald Trump announced that he would ask NATO to increase its involvement in “the Middle East process” during his address to the nation. International observers have weighed up whether Trump’s “NATO-ME” initiative is what the region and the bloc really need.
Donald Trump’s statement with regard to expanding NATO’s role in the Middle East came on the heels of the Iranian retaliatory ballistic missile strike on Iraqi military bases housing US troops in the aftermath of the extraterritorial targeted assassination of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by the US.
“I actually had a name. NATO, right, and then you have ME, Middle East. They would call it NATO-ME”, the American president told reporters on Thursday, commenting on his decision.
Previously, Trump has repeatedly criticised NATO members over the “unequal” burden sharing within the alliance. At the same time, he has been largely at odds with the bloc’s European allies-signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, since he unilaterally tore the accord apart.
‘What US is Doing in Mid East Not Necessarily a NATO Affair’
However, Dr Ilter Turan, professor emeritus of political science at the Department of International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University, is not sure that Trump’s words “should be taken up as a serious proposal”.
“The US has been conducting a number of policies on its own in the Middle East, like its…