Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Trump bashes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members: Who pays what?

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Steven Clarke | 11 July, 2018, 03:14

The official agenda includes a plan for increasing the number of land, air and sea forces capable of reacting quickly in a European crisis, but overshadowing it are tensions generated by Trump's view that the Europeans are slackers leaning unfairly on the USA military.

A U.S. president juking for confrontation has become the norm in the West, most recently when he infuriated the top allies at the G7 summit in Quebec.

As Trump flew toward Brussels on Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk sought to set down brightly colored markers for Trump's arrival.

On the other hand, Trump is right that many countries in the worldwide security alliance come "nowhere close to their 2% commitment".

Nevertheless, European Council President Donald Tusk maintains that as a whole the EU spends more on defence than China and Russian Federation.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been struggling to put on a display of unity for a two-day summit at its new headquarters, amid deep divisions among member countries over Trump's policies on trade and his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and global climate agreement. By the time this is over, he may well have reoriented American foreign policy completely.

Speaking about his European trip, Trump said his sitdown with Putin might be "easiest" of all the meetings.

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With Trump crossing allies on multiple issues in recent months, experts say the environment at the summit may not be conducive for Trump to make more progress on his signature goals. "A competitor", the president said. "Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!"

Days after their meeting, Trump plans to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin for their first one-on-one summit, a meeting in Helsinki, that could be more cordial. "The conversation in Brussels could be strained and awkward, and then you [could] have Putin and Trump standing shoulder to shoulder and being buddy-buddy".

With his escalating complaints that the United States contributes more than its fair share to defense, and vague threats to countries that do not spend more, Trump is diluting the alliance's appearance of unity, say diplomats and analysts. That means the USA share for all three combined would be around $590 million, at most.

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2018NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS.

"We're being taken advantage of by the European Union", Trump said. "He's been very, very nice to me - very supportive", Trump said.

Either way, that still isn't how much the U.S. Trump often rails against NAFTA as the worst trade deal ever signed.

Last year, Trump ruffled feathers by refusing to affirm NATO's Article 5 principle that an attack on one nation is an attack on them all as he scolded other member nations for falling short of the defense spending guideline.

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