In the last four years of NATO’s activity there was a lot of rhetoric in the United States like, “Why do we need all this? Our soldiers must secure our interests somewhere other than in Europe”, and the favorite one: “Europe must pay more for our troops’ maintenance! American taxpayers should not feel cheated! Pay or we'll leave!”. It isn’t tough to figure that the generator of such ideas is the then US President’s D. Trump’s Twitter account.
Trump's attitude to the armed forces and the military in general has been the subject of much debate. In his young years, Trump evaded conscription for the army five times, pointing to a thorn in his heel (the boy had a real prospect to participate in the Vietnam War, so Trump Sr. found the “right” doctor to “help” his son). Only in 2020 it became known why Trump refused to visit the cemetery with the burials of American soldiers of the First World War during his visit to Paris in 2018: according to Trump, the losers were buried there and he could not understand why America intervened to war back then.
Thus, it was worth mentioning Trump's rhetoric and his attitude to the armed forces. For the last four years, members of the alliance and, just as importantly, the American society have been in a hail of the aforementioned statements. The Americans were noticeably comfortable with the idea that many European countries do not spend the share of the annual budget on their own defense provided by the NATO Charter. So, why should American guys die for them? And to make Trump’s voters even more comfortable, he kept mentioning that it was their taxes that were spent on maintenance of troops in Germany, Afghanistan, etc., and to “make America great again”, you should “stop being losers and letting the Europeans run you ragged”. It is very simple and clear: why should we come up with some thoughts on geopolitics, balance of threat or a big chessboard, if everything is SO EASY?”.
The American voters have assessed Trump’s performance in office, now the USA have the new leader. Therefore, it is obvious that the blatant disregard for their own armed forces will disappear, and the role of the United States in the NATO will also transform. Unfortunately, the problem of insufficient contributions to the budgets of some member states will simply not go away. Another thing is that when Biden came to power, he stated: “I want to send a clear message to the world: America is coming back. Diplomacy is back”.
One of Biden’s first steps in office was to suspend the withdrawal of some US troops from Germany. Trump ordered about 12,000 soldiers out of nearly 36,000 contingents to leave Germany. Both other member states and experts were very negative about this move. Let’s be honest: Biden suspended the decision, not canceled, that is, there is still the possibility of reducing the number of troops in Germany by a third.
However, being aware of the principles of Biden’s foreign policy strategy, it is worth noting that the United States will regain the leading status in the NATO. Russia’s threats will be assessed accordingly. Perhaps another humiliation of the European diplomacy (speaking of the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell’s visit to Moscow on February 4-6, 2021), if won’t focus minds in Europe, than it will definitely assure the Americans that they have chosen the right course and formed a proper list of the threats. Biden will be able to find the appropriate words for the American taxpayers to explain, like Trump, why their money is being spent on NATO.
Having the new sheriff in town means gaining new opportunities. Ukraine should once again remind itself, the United States and NATO about our state’s Euro-Atlantic integration set forth in the Constitution of Ukraine. And it should not ask Biden: “Why aren't we still in NATO?”, but do its utmost for integration into the alliance. The new sheriff backs.