ivo daalder

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A day after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to suggest her country owes “NATO & the United States” big bucks for the “defense it provides to Germany.” After Trump’s tweets on Saturday morning, a man who is very familiar with the inner workings of NATO took to Twitter in an attempt to explain to Trump that Germany and other countries are paying their fair share. “Sorry, Mr. President, that’s not how NATO works,” wrote Ivo Daalder, who was U.S. Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from 2009 to 2013. “The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending NATO.”

(via Ex U.S. NATO rep responds to Donald Trump: ‘Sorry, Mr. President, that’s not how NATO works’ - YouTube)

Ambassador Daalder Highlights Goals of the Foreign Ministerial and the Clinton Legacy at NATO

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“Our goals at this Ministerial are clear and simple: 

To support our Ally Turkey by moving toward a deployment of PATRIOT Missiles to augment their air defenses, to help them protect their people and population. To broaden our cooperation and political dialogue with Russia. To strengthen our partnerships with other countries, including Georgia. And with all our ISAF partners, to monitor our progress toward successful transition in Afghanistan by 2014.    

In addition to the goals, however, this Ministerial is noteworthy because of Secretary Clinton. This is her 38th trip to Europe since becoming Secretary of State; and her ninth and last NATO Ministerial.

She has left behind a very impressive legacy at NATO and in the domain of European and global security.  

As she said last Thursday at a speech in Washington: ‘The last four years represent not a new direction, but a return to form, and a reminder of what the United States and Europe stand for.’

Four years ago, our relationship with our European Allies was often contentious.  Now it’s harmonious and cooperative. Secretary Clinton has led the way to this new harmony.

When Secretary Clinton came to her first NATO Ministerial in March 2009, the war in Afghanistan didn’t seem to be going anywhere.  

Now we have a clear timetable for handing over responsibility to the Afghans themselves.

European missile defense seemed an impossible dream, and it was dividing the Allies.  Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, we made it into a NATO system, so it became a source of unity, not division. And now it’s a reality.

When she began as Secretary of State, the NATO-Russia dialogue had been shut down as a result of the Russia-Georgia war. She created a consensus within NATO to re-engage with Russia. By bringing all the Allies together in a united effort, we were able to bring the Russians back to the table and renew our relationship.

Today we have a distribution system of supplies to Afghanistan passing through Russia, something unthinkable when she first arrived here in 2009.

The Russia-NATO relationship is not always easy, but as Secretary Clinton has made clear, you can’t accomplish anything if you can’t sit together at the same table. 

The Secretary understood from the beginning that NATO’s mission is best accomplished through a wide network of partner relationships – and not just in the Euro-Atlantic community.  She led the charge on broadening NATO’s relations with partners and allies in Asia and around the world.  She helped ensure greater flexibility for partners to participate and contribute, thus enhancing NATO’s capacity as a global hub of security. 

Under the Secretary’s leadership, we developed new ideas for strengthening our partnerships in Berlin in 2011, and this year in Chicago we reaffirmed our commitment to this new approach.  These partnerships allow us to act with greater legitimacy, share burdens more broadly, and benefit from the capabilities of others. This work has transformed NATO into a truly global hub of global security.

Secretary Clinton has also been a tireless advocate for NATO enlargement and has worked hard to convince our four aspirant partners to make the necessary reforms for eventual membership.

NATO today is more relevant, more necessary, more capable and more unified than ever. That is the real legacy of Secretary Clinton at NATO.”


Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder 
December 3, 2012
Brussels, Belgium 

In the course of last night’s Daily Show interview, Jon asked Ivo Daalder (US ambassador to NATO) if there were any countries involved in NATO who aren’t having financial problems.

His response: “The Norwegians turn out they have a lot of oil and they’re actually doing quite well. And increasing defense spending, one of the few countries that is.”

Jon: “Why?”

Ivo: “Well, they think it is time for them to … do their fair share for the defense of the alliance. And that’s what this is–”

Jon: “I thought you were going to say, ‘They think it’s time to take over the world… They think it’s time to get a standing army and see what they can get away with.’”

…And my brain, having been hijacked, is like:


U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo H. Daalder talks about partnerships and the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 20-21, 2012. 
Follow Ambassador Daalder on Twitter: @USAmbNATO