What does NATO expect from Joe Biden’s mandate?

NATO has been through difficult days under Trump. Especially when observing the changes of the US Army on European soil. First was the withdrawal of a large part of the American troops from their German bases, to move them towards Poland. Then came the news of a possible transfer to Greece from its military base in Turkey following Ankara’s decision to deploy Russian S-400 missiles.

Now, EU leaders are confident that Joe Biden will do whatever it takes to reestablish traditional ties, even if this does not mean that US priorities will drastically change. We spoke with former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen about what is expected of the new tenant in the White House.

Do you think Biden’s leadership could restore to the US its ability to secure Western democracy and world order as we knew it before Trump?

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: My answer is clearly yes, but of course, we should not expect it to be a return to the times of Obama, Bush or Clinton, because things have changed. Europeans should not expect to get out of the rut just because Biden has assumed the presidency. For example in Europe, we must fulfill our commitment to invest at least 2% of our production in defense. An issue that Biden will continue to press.

So what do you think are the biggest challenges Europe is facing right now? She’s Chinese? Is it Russia or is it the EU itself?

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: First of all, China should be pointed out, because it is an emerging power. And it is also showing its strength not only in the close vicinity in the South China Sea, but also in its relations with Australia. And whenever we criticize China, we see its diplomats raise their voices and criticize European governments. It is clear that they are capable of blackmailing and singling out certain individual European countries. Therefore, one of the great tasks of Europe is to hold together.

On the other hand, of course, Russia poses challenges. We should increase pressure on her to stop destabilizing eastern Ukraine. And personally, I would also like to see the North Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea shut down.

Can Europe speak with one voice when it comes to China?

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: It is increasingly difficult for the EU to agree when it comes to criticizing the Chinese government. What China got from its latest deal was much more than economics. He has divided the EU and the US and has assured that it will be increasingly difficult to criticize his lack of respect for human rights in China.