The Rendon Group Snapshot – 14 November 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on November 21, 2016

The Rendon Group


Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.

NATO Allies Confront Uncertainty, Calculate Options in Wake of US Presidential Election

France's Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen attend a European Union foreign and defence ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium November 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Yves HermanFrance’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen attend a European Union foreign and defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium. (Reuters/Yves Herman)

This week’s snapshot focuses on concerns among America’s NATO allies in the wake of the US presidential election. During his campaign, US President-elect Donald Trump called the alliance “obsolete” and said he would hesitate to protect European nations from attack unless they “fulfilled their obligations to us.” The comments conflicted with the central intent of NATO’s charter, which establishes that “an armed attack against one or more [members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” Following his election victory, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that he was “absolutely confident” that the alliance was a strong as ever. Other NATO leaders have been more critical, with French President Hollande warning that the election brought a “period of uncertainty” and German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen lecturing Trump that the alliance is “not a company” and that he needed to “say clearly” whether or he is on the “side of the law, peace and democracy” or with his “best buddy” Russian President Putin. The Kremlin, meanwhile, expressed hope that Trump would persuade NATO to slow down its expansion or withdraw its forces from Russia’s borders, which “would lead to a kind of detente in Europe,” allowing the country to maintain its present course in Syria and protect its annexation of Crimea.

News summary of events during the week of 07NOV16 – 14NOV16

  • 07NOV: As the American public braced for the election polls, up to 300,000 NATO troops were put on alert. (The Telegraph)
  • 09NOV: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promised to defend all allies despite US election victor Donald Trump’s call to set conditions for US help, as the alliance braced for a more impulsive leader some fear could withdraw funding to deter Russia. (Reuters)
  • 10NOV: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for clarity from Mr. Trump on issues such as global trade, climate policy and future relations with NATO allies. (Reuters)
  • 10NOV: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that Mr. Trump needs to clarify his views on Russia, and to understand that NATO must be treated as an alliance of shared values rather than a business. (Reuters)
  • 10NOV: The Kremlin said Mr. Trump’s foreign policy approach was “phenomenally close” to that of President Putin, giving Russia hope that tattered US-Russia relations could gradually be improved. (Reuters)
  • 11NOV: Major General Mark C. Schwartz, the commander of US Special Operations Command Europe, reassured Lithuania that military cooperation between both countries would only grow in the future. (Xinhua)
  • 11NOV: French President Francois Hollande, who will compete for re-election in APR-MAY17, said the election of Mr. Trump marks the beginning of a “period of uncertainty”’; German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who may run for re-election in 2017, said “On the basis of [our countries’ shared values], I am offering [Mr. Trump] close cooperation.” (The Independent)
  • 11NOV: President Putin’s spokesman said one way Donald Trump could help build confidence with Russia after he becomes president would be to persuade NATO to slow down its expansion or withdraw its forces from Russia’s borders. (AP)
  • 11NOV: Amidst talk to form a so-called EU Army, British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon is travelling to Belgium on 14NOV to warn his European counterparts that they must pay their “fair share” on defense amid fears that Donald Trump will withdraw US support if they fail to do so. (The Telegraph)
  • 12NOV: According to reports, NATO will postpone its next summit that was expected to take place in the beginning of 2017 until summer against the backdrop of the victory of Mr. Trump. (Sputnik)
  • 12NOV: NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg issued a dramatic warning to president-elect Trump: “Going it alone is not an option, either for Europe or for the United States.” (The Guardian)
  • 13NOV: UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested he is in favor reducing’s NATO presence on eastern Europe’s borders with Russia and said it was clear the US president-elect, Donald Trump, believed he could improve relations with Vladimir Putin. (The Guardian)
  • 13NOV: British Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the Chief of the UK Defence Staff, said he is sure NATO will survive under Trump’s presidency. (Sky News)
  • 13NOV: An emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers was the latest sign of the global disquiet in the wake of the US election. (New York Times)
  • 14NOV: The European Union agreed to a defense plan that could see it sending rapid response forces abroad for the first time, as US President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of allies appeared to galvanize Europe into revamping its strategy. (Reuters)

Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the US election results and NATO

  • @AgniaGrigasAgnia Grigas, Nonresident Senior Fellow, The Atlantic Council
  • @Judy_DempseyJudy Dempsey, Nonresident Senior Associate, Carnegie Europe
  • @JyShapiroJeremy Shapiro, Research Director, European Council on Foreign Relations
  • @kurteichenwaldKurt Eichenwald, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair
  • @stavridisjJames Stavridis, Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Tufts University; Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the US election results and NATO

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Founder, Rasmussen Global; Former Secretary General of NATO and Prime Minister of Denmark

“Neglecting [the Baltic States] will have far-reaching consequences and mark the beginning of the end of the US-led system. As Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump must display strength towards Russia. Putin only respects a firm and steady hand.”

  • “Donald Trump must show ‘strength’ against Russia before ‘beginning of the end’, warns former Nato head,” The Independent, 11NOV16

Dana Allin, Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Transatlantic Affairs, The International Institute for Strategic Studies

“The idea that Trump’s presidency is not going to create problems for NATO is delusional.”

  • “Pledging unwavering defence, NATO braces for Trump,” Reuters, 09NOV16

François Heisbourg, Special Adviser, Foundation for Strategic Research

“We have the intersection of the Trump challenge with the leadership problems in Europe, exacerbated by Brexit.”

  • “What Europe Hopes for, and Fears, From a Trump Presidency,” WSJ, 10NOV16

Henry Kissinger, US National Security Advisor and later concurrently the US Secretary of State in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

“I really would appeal to people to give him a chance to develop a relation to a kind of foreign policy that he has not had to consider before…A lot of it will depend on the advisors. But after all, the linkage of Europe and the United States grew out of its very historical experiences. It wasn’t the personal idiosyncrasies of individual presidents. And so the elements by which that security link was evolved must be given consideration.”

  • “Henry Kissinger on Donald Trump: ‘He cannot reinvent history,” BBC Newsnight, 11NOV16

Jonathan Eyal, International Director, Royal United Services Institute

“There will be an attempt to recalibrate the relationship. Asking for more military spending by Europe is not a novelty per se, and not without merit.”

  • “What Europe Hopes for, and Fears, From a Trump Presidency,” WSJ, 10NOV16

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the US election results and NATO

  1. German minister says Trump gains a ‘huge shock’, wants clarity on NATO

Media: Reuters

Byline: Andreas Rinke

Date: 09 November 2016

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen described Donald Trump’s gains in the U.S. presidential election as a “huge shock” on Wednesday and asked him for assurances on his commitment to NATO.

Von der Leyen told broadcaster ARD that the Republican candidate’s strong showing was “not a vote for him but rather against Washington, against the establishment”.

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  1. Britain to warn Nato allies to pay ‘fair share’ amid fears Donald Trump will withdraw US support

Media: The Telegraph (UK)

Byline: Steven Swinford and Harriet Alexander

Date: 11 November 2016

Britain will next week warn Nato allies in Europe that they must pay their “fair share” on defence amid fears that Donald Trump will withdraw US support if they fail to do so.

Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, will on Monday use a Brussels summit tell his European counterparts that they must abandon plans for an EU army and back Nato.

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  1. ANALYSIS: Donald Trump’s Election Leaves Angela Merkel as the Liberal West’s Last Defender

Media: New York Times


Date: 12 November 2016

BERLIN — And then there was one.

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has emerged as the last powerful defender of Europe and the trans-Atlantic alliance after the election of Donald J. Trump. But after 11 years in power, she is tired, her associates say, and under siege seemingly from all directions.

She is under pressure from the same forces that elevated Mr. Trump in America, fueled Britain’s vote to exit the European Union and are now propelling the populist Marine Le Pen in France. At home, the hard-right Alternative for Germany party has scored a string of victories in state elections.

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  1. EDITORIAL: The Danger of Going Soft on Russia

Media: New York Times


Date: 12 November 2016

Among the first world leaders to congratulate President-elect Donald Trump was Vladimir Putin. And why shouldn’t he?

Just when relations between Russia and the West are at their most precarious point since the Cold War, Mr. Trump has been Russia’s defender and the beneficiary of Moscow’s efforts to influence the presidential campaign. At times he has seemed almost intoxicated by the Russian president, praising Mr. Putin’s firmness and insisting that the two could resolve any differences if they met. Meanwhile, he has shown little concern that Russia poses a major strategic challenge.

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  1. Donald Trump’s NATO Stance Threatens ‘West’ as We Know It: Experts

Media: NBC News

Byline: Alexander Smith

Date: 12 November 2016

If Donald Trump actually follows through on his bold rhetoric he is in danger of tearing NATO apart, and with it the very concept of “the West” itself, according to experts.

During his campaign, Trump sent shock waves of alarm through Europe after revealing that he might not come to the aid of his NATO allies if they were attacked.

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