Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Trump claims victory in battle over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies' defence spending

Steven Clarke | 13 July, 2018, 22:22

"And the good thing is that, very much because of that very clear message from President Trump on this meeting, I think that allies understand this need to do that", Stoltenberg said after being repeatedly asked about Trump's assertion that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members had agreed to a four-percent goal.

Mr Trump, who on Wednesday singled out Germany in a blistering attack on its record, said he had made clear in Thursday's emergency session that he was "extremely unhappy" with what had been on the table so far.

NATO, a pillar of the global order, emerged from a two-day confrontation with President Donald Trump on Thursday intact but distracted and shaken, a further challenge to the alliance as it faces an expansionist Russian Federation and growing authoritarianism among some of its own members.

Other leaders, however, played down the extent to which they went beyond existing commitments to increase contributions to their own defence, as Trump demanded they share more of what he calls an unfair burden on USA taxpayers in funding an alliance focused on discouraging pressure from a resurgent Moscow.

He has also crossed swords with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, America's biggest trading partner.

He said: "There is a communique that was published yesterday".

"I'm not going in with high expectations but we may come out with very surprising things", Trump said.

Trump is reported to have spoken of "grave consequences" if allies did not meet their 2 percent of GDP defense spending targets, saying that the United States could "go our own way" if his demands were not met.

Trump claimed member nations had agreed to significantly boost their defense budgets and reaffirmed - after days of griping that the US was being taken advantage of by its allies - that the USA remains faithful to the accord.

Kremlin says new gas pipeline to Germany will help stability
He recalled that the Russian side has repeatedly pointed out that "Nord stream - 2" is a purely commercial project. He said he also mentioned tripartite talks [on gas - EU-RF-Ukraine], which they will hold.

The US president is due to meet Putin in Helsinki for talks in which he hopes to establish a good personal relationship with his Russian counterpart.

Trump did not directly answer questions about whether he had threatened to take the United States out of the alliance, saying he "told people I'd be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments very substantially".

Tusk also accused Trump of criticizing Europe nearly everyday and insisting that the European Union spends much more on defense than Russian Federation does.

"It is a new reality, and you have to look past both spelling and factual mistakes and take Trump serious when he barrels forward with his Twitter", Samuelsen said, according to Politico.

As the drama unfolded, a day after Trump launched a virulent public attack on German policy, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cleared the room of many officials and the invited leaders of non-members Georgia and Afghanistan so that the other 28 leaders could hold a closed session with the president.

THE FACTS: There's no outward sign that Trump's aggressive posturing in recent days has changed much for the alliance other than bruise its veneer of unity.

Trump brushed off the protests, saying, "I think they like me a lot in the United Kingdom. We reaffirmed a credible budget strategy that meets our needs", Macron said.

Conservative writer Shermichael Singleton defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani: Trump interview with Mueller "further away" ACLU calls for Trump officials to hand over info on immigrant children Kushner to join Pompeo for meetings with Mexican leaders MORE's understanding of global alliances on Friday after the president's tumultuous North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit this week.

"The fact is that we have a commitment to increase defense spending".

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