Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have agreed to increase defence spending

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Riga Latvia on Monday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Riga Latvia on Monday
Steven Clarke | 12 July, 2018, 21:57

"As with all our summits, sometimes the corridors, comments and tweets take on more importance than what is negotiated, said or endorsed by heads of state".

But even if Trump succeeds in weakening the EU, Janning thinks it is having the opposite effect on Merkel herself - especially in the rift between herself and those on the right of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and the domestic forces who would like to see the end of the Merkel era.

"I brought it up, no one brought it up but me". He said he was "extremely unhappy" with the situation, but that alliance members have upped their commitments to defense spending in response to his complaints.

The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of growing unease about the threat from Russian Federation and deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy.

"Prior to a year ago where I attended my first meeting", Trump said of spending commitments by member nations, "it was going down, the amount of money being spent by countries was going down and down very substantially, and now it's going up very substantially".

"Something has to be done", he added.

Funding has averaged about $1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met. His approach has fueled concern among his critics at home and overseas that he is intent on deconstructing the postwar order and replacing it with an "America First" breed of transactional diplomacy.

Trump's remarks come a day after he blasted US allies and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, accusing Germany of being "captive to Russia" in an oil and gas deal and asking "What good is North Atlantic Treaty Organisation?"

Most member nations, though, aren't meeting the 2-percent-of-GDP benchmark. Only five of 29 countries were making their commitment and that's now changed.

"We're paying for anywhere from 70 to 90 percent to protect Europe, and that's fine."

For Trump visit, Brits try to boost 'American Idiot' to No. 1
He saw the Broadway musical inspired by the song in 2010 and tweeted about it, calling it an "amazing theatrical experience". Michael Pritchard, known professionally as Green Day's bassist Mike Dirnt, responded to the protest campaign back in April.

In 2017, the United States spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on defense, while Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom stand as the only countries which have crossed the two percent threshold. USA sanctions against Russian Federation and European red tape stopped the companies from participating in the project directly, but they have pledged to stay in the project and finance it anyway.

Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment.

He also said meeting the queen would be an experience Trump "will really cherish". Attacking allies over trade and their willingness to pay their share of military costs has played well with his political base.

Trump has described the spending situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

Several diplomats and officials said, however, that his undiplomatic intervention - including pointing at other leaders and addressing Merkel as "you, Angela" - had irritated many.

When questioned in Latvia on his way to the summit in Brussels, Belgium, Trudeau said that Canada has no plans to double its defence budget when asked about meeting the two per cent figure directly.

Trump's condemnation of Germany also highlighted his determination to turn the tables on his critics, at a distance if not in person.

One diplomat said something appeared to have irritated Trump, a suggestion from another leader or possibly a report in the news media that he had not gotten his way.

"We have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that's being paid to the country we're supposed to be protecting you against", he continued. "You'll be the first to know". The second is that spending on equipment make up 20 percent of that military spending.

Still, Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday.

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