Sparks are expected to fly when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders from across NATO formally meet in London today to mark the military alliance’s 70th birthday — and discuss its future.
The focus will be on U.S. President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, who have been at odds over the state of the alliance, which is facing new external threats and internal divisions.
NATO was established at the start of the Cold War and has been a cornerstone of Canada’s defence against external threats and a driver in its foreign policy for decades.
Macron last month suggested the alliance was suffering from “brain death” because of a lack of co-ordination and communication between members, specifically Trump’s surprise decision to pull U.S. troops from northeastern Syria.
The U.S. president fired back on Tuesday, calling Macron’s words “nasty,” criticizing France’s economy and saying the European nation needs NATO far more than the U.S. does.
Trudeau will likely be among the leaders underscoring NATO’s importance to both North American and European security while speaking to the alliance’s need to adapt to today’s challenges.