Leaders meeting at NATO summit after divisive day

It was intended as a show of unity after seven decades as allies, but the NATO Summit in London has, if anything, brought the divisions among nations into sharper focus. 

After parading those divisions in public in London on Tuesday, the leaders of the 29 member states took their arguments behind closed doors at a luxury golf course and resort near Watford, on the outskirts of the British capital.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg put the best face on the divisions and attempted to remind members of the alliance’s reason for being.

“Whatever our differences, we will continue to unite around our core task— to defend one another; all for one and one for all,” the secretary general said in his opening remarks.

It is expected the leaders will talk about everything from the fight against terrorism, relationships with Russia and the rise of China.

The meeting of leaders comes a day after the U.S. president clashed publicly with Macron during their extended news conference where they disagreed over Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria and the French president’s description of NATO as being brain dead.

Prior to the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would oppose a NATO plan to defend the Baltic states unless the alliance backed Turkey’s action against the Kurdish groups, which it considers terrorists. 

Arriving for Wednesday’s meeting Macron didn’t back away from the brain dead remark, and said NATO debates should be “about other things than budgets and finances.”

Britain’s prime minister, who is in the midst of a hard-fought election campaign, also picked up on the one for all, all for one theme, reminding leaders of tier commitment to collective defence in his opening remarks.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said NATO is rock-solid in its commitment to protect its members, so the alliance should discuss emerging threats. 0:54

“The fact that we live in peace today demonstrates the very simple proposition at the heart of this alliance,” said Johnson. “For as long as we stand together, no one can hope to defeat us.”

At a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday night, a misery loves company moment involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Boris Johnson, among others, was caught on video.

The scene showed Trudeau seemingly venting about U.S. President Donald Trump’s marathon media availabilities.

PM Justin Trudeau, France’s Emmanuel Macron, UK PM Boris Johnson and other VIPs shared a few words at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday – and seemed to be talking about U.S. President Donald Trump’s lengthy impromptu press conferences earlier in the day. 0:25

“He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference at the top,” Trudeau is recorded as saying.

Trump is not mentioned by name, but the video could provide fodder for more behind the scenes — or maybe in front of the camera — drama. 

As leaders sat down for their first working session Wednesday morning, Trudeau sought out Trump. The two leaders shook hands briefly, but exchanged few words.

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