Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Allies doubt Trump threatened to bail on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in spending feud

R.J. Matson  CQ Roll Call R.J. Matson CQ Roll Call
Steven Clarke | 13 July, 2018, 23:27

Trump has a tendency to talk to and about people like they wholeheartedly agree with him, which made for some awkward moments for the French prez.

"I think we go into that meeting not looking for so much".

But, several sources said, Trump instead reopened in strong terms his demand that other countries spend more immediately.

Mr Trump has long complained that European countries do not spend enough on their own defence, leaving the U.S. to shoulder an unfair burden for protecting the continent.

Trump says at a news conference Thursday in Brussels that he told "people" that he would be "very unhappy" if they didn't increase their commitments.

Asked if Trump in any way implied the US could pull back from its commitment to - or participation in - NATO, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the president did not.

He used a session to intended for discussion of Georgia and Ukraine - two countries that have sparred with Russian Federation - to trumpet his spending concerns and rail against European countries, including Germany and Spain, for failing to contribute more to their defenses and relying too heavily on the security umbrella of the United States.

Trump: "They really stepped up their commitment ... stepped it up an additional 33 billion ... "

Then US president Barack Obama said at a press conference at the Wales summit the alliance would "reverse the decline of defence spending and rise to meet the challenges that we face in the 21st century". "He obviously likes me and says very good things about me", he added.

"But ultimately he is a competitor".

Mueller team indicts 12 Russian agents for hacking in 2016 election season
The announcement came just before President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Rosenstein planned to detail the new charges at a mid-day press conference.

Trump arrived about a half-hour late to a North Atlantic Council meeting with Georgia and Ukraine, two countries who have both been invaded by Russian Federation in the last decade. "Hopefully some day he will be a friend". "He seems to look at this as we do everything for them, and we provide them with benefits, and they just take advantage of us". "We need that to get more in balance", retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis said in an interview with host Vassy Kapelos on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Thursday.

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were attacked.

"I have to tell you that the atmosphere last night at dinner was very open, was very constructive and it was very positive", Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the president of Croatia, told reporters. "Much stronger than it was two days ago", Trump said in an unscheduled statement. He is wrapping up his time at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, moving on now to other foreign stops, including London and Great Britain.

"I don't even know if it is a good measure and fits our collective security", he said of Trump's proposed spending increase.

Other Democrats have said Mr. Trump should use his Monday meeting as a chance to confront Mr. Putin.

Trump had taken an aggressive tone during the summit, questioning the value of an alliance that has defined decades of American foreign policy, torching an ally and proposing a massive increase in European defense spending.

Mr Trump fuelled a fire by appearing to criticise prime minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, after the resignation of foreign secretary Boris Johnson and her minister in charge of the European Union exit, David Davis.

"It will be over a relatively short period of years", Trump said.

The alliance, which sees an attack on one member as an attack on all, was set up at the height of the Cold War, as a counterbalance to the Warsaw Pact between the Soviets and their satellite states.

The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, did not specifically call on Trump to cancel his meeting, but demanded the US President stand up to Putin.

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