Trump's one-on-one talks with Putin to include election meddling, ambassador says

08 July, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Carlos George
  • US ambassador tries to lower expectation for Trump-Putin meeting - Xinhua | English.news.cn

President Trump plans to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin on Moscow's malign activity around the globe, including election-meddling, when the two leaders meet for a high-stakes summit next week, top administration officials said Thursday.

This will be the first time the two have met for a formal summit. Among the twenty-nine members, only the United States is really serious about its Article 3 obligations to defend itself, spending approximately $700 billion or 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense.

Aiming to move toward a goal over 10 years is not the same as achieving it today.

Much, of course, depends on the president's mood, which is rarely good during worldwide conferences where he bristles at what he considers the unfair economic and security alliances the United States constructed in the wake of WWII and the Cold War.

Still, Trump has repeatedly threatened to punish countries if they don't spend enough on defense, even suggesting the US may not protect them if they don't pay their fair share.

After the alliance was established in 1949, its first secretary general, Lord Hastings Ismay, summed up its objective concisely: "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down".

Huntsman's description of Russia's "malign" activities was far sharper than those expressed by Trump, who has indicated his admiration for Putin and said that he takes Putin at his word in denying election meddling. Only Italy's new right-wing prime minister agrees.

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He has even compared NATO to a despised trade treaty.

Magnus Nordenman, who worked as a defense analyst and a strategic planning consultant for major European defense industry companies, said European allies are "absolutely worried" after hearing Trump disparage allies of the G-7, as well as NATO members' contributions and seeing him eager to meet Putin as well as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Poland, Romania and the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been asking the US for additional troops for several years. He also praised France, which does plan a military buildup, and the United Kingdom, which is close to the two per cent target.

"NATO Game Over" read one banner; others read "Pro-America, Anti-Trump".

"The overall theme of this summit is going to be NATO's strength and unity", Hutchinson said.

Briefing reporters ahead of the trip, Ambassador Jon Huntsman was asked what the president hoped to achieve by meeting yet again with the leader of a country USA intelligence officials have concluded undermined US democracy by meddling in the 2016 election to help Trump win, among a long list of hostile actions.

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