Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Allies stunned into silence by Trump threat on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending

U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks Air Force One as they arrive at Melsbroek Military airport in Melsbroek Belgium Tuesday U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks Air Force One as they arrive at Melsbroek Military airport in Melsbroek Belgium Tuesday
Jeannette Daniel | 12 July, 2018, 21:59

While multiple US intelligence agencies have agreed that Russian Federation was involved in a coordinated effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Trump said Thursday that if Putin continued to deny the allegations, there was little he could do.

Chris Wallace announced Thursday that he will interview Russian President Vladimir Putin after Monday's summit with President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland.

However, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation communique reaffirms its 2014 commitment to a defense spending increase to 2% of their gross domestic product in 2024. "And that this is in our own interests and that it will make us stronger". Though NATO allies have squabbled in the past, Trump seemed to be leaving in his wake not just bruised feelings, but deeper concerns about the future of the Western alliance that has served as a bedrock of the worldwide order.

Paul Hanna / Reuters Justin Trudeau is welcomed by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of a NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on July 11, 2018.

"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations,"said Sanders".

"I believe only one thing: the communique we have approved, the strategy we defend and the seriousness we have, because it is the security of our people we are talking about".

Any such increase would be almost impossible for smaller countries in Europe to achieve, and it is not clear that the capitals of Europe could muster the public or political support for such breathtaking increases in defense spending. "So the reason behind it is very much that it's easy to get, it's easy to understand and it's one that is politically acceptable to all of the nations".

"Something has to be done", he added. "Trump rejects the entire multilateral, rule-based architecture, like NATO, WTO, EU, which is based on solidarity", she said. 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. Most officials and the invited leaders of non-NATO Afghanistan and Georgia were ushered out.

Merkel said it was "completely impossible" to meet the commitments by January in the crisis session that Trump himself later publicly described as "tough for a while".

He complained the United States "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that member nations meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

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.

More news: Tour de France -- Chris Froome and team Sky booed at race presentation

A joint summit declaration issued Wednesday underlined NATO's support for Ukraine and its aspirations for membership of the alliance, pending domestic reforms.

Asked when exactly the allies would now reach their two percent of GDP target, Trump said it would be over the coming years.

The populist core of his coalition is fueled in part by anger over what his supporters consider unfair treatment of the United States on matters of trade, immigration, and global affairs.

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

Trump said he made his anger clear to allies on Wednesday.

"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.

"So explain that. And it can't be explained, and you know that".

But Mr Trump hinted he would not be happy with 2 per cent, saying 4 per cent would be a better level.

But Major questions whether the arguments being made by the president are really only about spending.

Trump was opposed to remaining in America's longest running war, but his advisers convinced him to give it more time.

He started off at a morning breakfast photo-op on Wednesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and members of their staffs. Trump proceeded to whine, complain and caterwaul once again about how the NATO countries aren't contributing enough money to what he still portrays as some common NATO piggy bank and implied that they owe the USA for overdue payments, which is simply daft.

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