Burden-sharing in NATO. The Trump effect won’t last

NUPI Policy Brief
Security policy  North America


Åsmund Weltzien

Head of Communications



The Trump Administration has adopted a more confrontational and transactional approach to burden-sharing in NATO. It has threatened to “moderate” its commitment to the Alliance unless the European members increase their defence spending (US Mission to NATO 2017), and contribute more to out-of-area operations. Since President Trump entered the office, European defence spending has risen at a quicker pace, and the nature of the defence debate in Europe has changed. The Europeans are no longer debating whether they need to increase their spending; the questions discussed are how fast and how much. Is this evidence of a “Trump effect”, and will it last? This is the question addressed in this policy brief. Because it is hard to predict the future, we adopt an historical perspective.