Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Unpacking Trump's claim of new funding from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members

GettyImages-863420174 US to review Afghanistan strategy after discouraging year
Steven Clarke | 13 July, 2018, 00:47

But I said, ultimately we should be - in years in advance, we should be at 4 percent. "It was a little tough for a little while".

According to diplomats, he plunged the summit into chaos on Thursday by saying that the U.S. would "go it alone", if European states failed to boost their spending to at least 2% by January.

Despite reports of tensions between Trump and some of the US's closest allies, the president insisted that relations between the leaders remain "very strong".

President Donald Trump said he would once again raise the sensitive issue of election meddling with Russian President Vladimir Putin - then predicted his counterpart 'may deny it'.

Others say Congressional approval would be required - and would be unlikely to be forthcoming.

"Could we possibly be helping him any more in his quest than by baselessly attacking our own allies?"

Earlier in the day, after Trump blasted Germany for buying Russian oil and natural gas, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sought to convey an attitude of slow, steady progress for the alliance. "It's very detailed", Macron said, according to the AP.

However, a formal summit declaration issued by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their "unwavering commitment" to the two percent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to get to 4 percent. "It has created a new sense of urgency", he said.

Bank of Canada raises key interest rate target to 1.5 per cent
Business loans, student loans, lines of credit and home equity lines of credit will cost more to service. It means consumers with variable rate mortgages or upcoming mortgage renewals will have to pay more.

USA officials told Reuters that the White House is preparing another review of strategy in Afghanistan, just a year after Trump hesitantly extended the involvement in America's longest war.

The United States, far the biggest economy, spent 3.6 percent previous year, while Germany, the second biggest, paid out just 1.2 percent and only a handful of countries met the 2 percent target.

Trump told leaders he wanted them all to hit that target by January, prompting consternation. Many have already settled their 2019 budgets and the sums involved are huge - even if they wanted to, many would struggle to make useful purchases.

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

"Fair burden-sharing underpins everything that we do". "I made clear that we are on this path".

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the United States and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were ever attacked. The current commitment is to reach two percent by 2024 but with get-out terms that would allow some to stretch it out to 2030.

The U.S. spends about 3.5 percent of GDP on defense, far higher than other member states.

Trump had opened the first day of talks in Brussels on Wednesday with a public diatribe against Germany, the second biggest state in the Western defence alliance, criticising its reliance on Russian gas imports and failure to spend more on defence.

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