Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau of Canada and Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said they took exception to French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments that NATO was experiencing “brain death” due to a lack of coordination between the United States and Europe. The Canadian and Dutch leaders made their remarks on December 3 during a session of “Nato Engages–Innovating the Alliance,” a conference co-sponsored by the Atlantic Council and held in connection with the NATO summit in London to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Alliance’s founding.
With President Trump criticizing many NATO allies for failing to meet a long-standing target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, Rutte said it was his intention to meet that goal by 2024 if he remained in office.
Rutte noted that NATO was essential in meeting future challenges. “We have so many issues to discuss—how to deal with Russia, pressure, and dialogue; how to deal with China, which is presenting lots of challenges, but also lots of opportunities; how to deal with the issue of space…and cyber, we have this fifth dimension and how to deal with it; how to deal with new technologies.”
Both Trudeau and Rutte said that diversity was an important element in strengthening NATO. “More diversity in general makes for better outcomes. When you have a whole bunch of people who went to the same school, have the same backgrounds, are the same gender, or the same—you’re going to get the same kinds of answers,” said Trudeau. “When you bring in people with a broader range of perspectives, you will get better solutions,” he added. “It starts with adding women, but there is much more in terms of inclusion that we need to do, and we are pushing on NATO.”