Trump Walks Back NATO Threats, Takes 'Total Credit' For Spending Boost

13 July, 2018, 15:02 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • NATO Alliance Summit in Brussels

Trump's comments came in a wide-ranging news conference after attending a special meeting on defense spending.

The Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs posted the inflammatory tweet after a testing day for USA relations with its closest allies, during which Trump called Germany a "captive" of Russia and suggested North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies should double the agreed-upon defense spending target, before asking what "good" the alliance was anyway.

It was a surprising statement after two days during which Trump's "America first" foreign policy approach had presented a significant challenge for the organization.

Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani similarly told The New York Times last week that public opinion about Mueller's probe is swinging toward the president.

"Germany has agreed to do a lot better than they were doing, and we're very happy with that", Trump said, without going into specifics.

After a tense first day, Trump didn't ease up on the second.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called an emergency session of all 29 allies to address Trump's demands, and the USA leader said his hectoring had paid off.

Lawmakers in both parties have distanced themselves from Trump's attacks on Germany, Britain and other key allies. "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".

"As we engage Russian Federation we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russian Federation needs to change its behaviour for this to become a reality", she said. While some members are on track, many (including Germany) are unlikely to reach the target by 2024.

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally. He urged allies on Wednesday to double their defense spending targets to 4 percent of GDP.

He also said meeting the queen would be an experience Trump "will really cherish".


U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018. "It's very detailed", Macron said, according to France 24. He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more.

"We are being played for fools", he reportedly told leaders at a meeting meant to revolve around Georgia and Ukraine.

The Brexit plans lead the Financial Times, with the City calling them a "real blow". But Nato sources, speaking to Reuters, said he had denied making such a threat.

But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the USA from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter. "But some people ask themselves, will you be tweeting differently when you board the Air Force One?".

Asked about Johnson, Trump said: "I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point".

"At the end of the day, however, I know that the relations between the United States and Canada militarily are going to continue to be superb".

Nothing has changed since Trump arrived in Brussels.

Before he visits with Putin, Trump will visit London and the United Kingdom - where many large protests are planned against his policies. Tens of thousands of people are likely to protest in the British capital on Friday, while Trump is outside the city at May's country residence Chequers, before visiting Windsor to meet the Queen. We send troops and pay billions for their defense, while they restrict our access to their markets and focus on capturing USA markets from American producers.

It's an uncomfortable environment for May, who is facing her own political unrest outside of Trump's visit.

One idea Trump floated last week was the threat of a drawdown of the 35,000 USA troops in Germany.

"The clear message from President Trump is having an impact", he said. "I think it's fine", he said.

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