Thursday, 20 September, 2018

"US Not Treated Fairly But I believe In NATO", Says Trump

Macron denies Trump's claim that NATO powers agreed to increase defense spending A NATO flag and the flags of participating countries are
Jeannette Daniel | 12 July, 2018, 23:24

The unexpected demand from Trump during a closed-door meeting of heads of state laid down a new, virtually unachievable marker for a peacetime military spending in an alliance already struggling to meet current defense spending commitments.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg opened proceedings in Brussels with a clear message: This year's summit would focus on who's paying the bill, or in NATO terms, burden-sharing. "I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius...and a very stable genius at that!" "He may be the only one, but that's OK with me".

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a "very very good relationship", their frosty body language suggested otherwise.

The president has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the USA pays more than others.

"Something has to be done", he added. 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.

He added: "It confirms the goal of 2% by 2024".

The United States spent about 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product on the military previous year.

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It was only last month that after a disastrous G-7 summit, Trump signed a joint communiqué with other allies and then changed his mind while flying home. "'We want to find out about Syria" as one of the topics, he said.

In response, the Twitter account of Russia's foreign ministry said they would be turning their attention to the World Cup instead of NATO's allegations.

Still, Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday. Attacking allies over trade and their willingness to pay their share of military costs has played well with his political base.

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. Instead, Trudeau's announcement prior to the summit - plans to lead a new training mission in Iraq and an extension on its role with a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation battle group in Latvia through 2023 - were aimed at demonstrating a commitment beyond mere dollars.

Others in the room, including the Lithuanian president whose country is among the most nervous of Russian ambitions, denied a suggestion that Trump had threatened to quit the alliance. But the vehemence of Trump's on-camera breakfast attack on Germany for its backing of a second Nord Stream gas pipeline, and for being "captive" to Russian Federation came as a shock. Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, grimaced. "Nato is very important but it's helping Europe far more than it's helping us".

"A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea", Trump tweeted alongside a copy of the letter dated July 6 - the day that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Pyongyang for what turned out to be hard talks with Kim's regime. You'll be the first to know, ' he told reporters.

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