Fresh from briefings by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officials during their European Union (EU) Study Abroad, Georgia Tech students offer perspectives on President Trump’s upcoming meetings with NATO leaders and Russian President Vladmir Putin.
International Affairs Professor Vicki Birchfield is leading the European Union study abroad program. She asked some of them to comment on the upcoming summits. Here are their responses:
“Although the Crimea issue is long from being resolved, the lack of cooperation on these fronts is to the detriment of both NATO allies and the Russian Federation. By working to re-open a dialogue with Russia, the United States could begin to soften relations on areas of shared interest, while still retaining a firm stance against recent Russian aggression and violations of International Law. If Secretary Mattis, often viewed as Trump’s most sensible advisor, is able to guide the president in a calculated but diplomatic manner, the Trump-Putin summit has the potential to benefit the United States, and in turn the NATO alliance.” — Simon Brozek, international affairs major from Canton, Georgia
“Russia’s trade leverage on Europe could be problematic in the sense that any efforts of NATO to push back on their political and military policies could result in Europe, Germany specifically, being hit hard by oil and natural gas sanctions hypothetically. We need Russia as an ally and to achieve that we need collective action, compromise, and a willingness to understand more about the Russian perspective.” — Gemma Park, economics and international affairs from Marietta, Georgia
“European members of NATO should be willing to more rapidly meet the 2 percent spending target so as to avoid such a G7-like encounter at the NATO summit. And there are simply no other means to counter the Russian threat, should the U.S. commitment fade, other than increasing military expenditure of European states and focusing and better equipment procurement and coordination through a more closely-knit defense union within the EU.” — Hamidreza Nazemi, aerospace engineering from Houston, Texas