Donald Trump risks diplomatic incident by refusing to back Theresa May

11 July, 2018, 00:44 | Author: Carlos George
  • This week’s summit in Brussels could expose cracks in the Nato alliance

According to a joint declaration prepared in advance of the summit, which was seen by AFP, NATO members will make an "unwavering commitment to all aspects of the defence investment pledge agreed at the 2014 Wales Summit" which includes the 2.0-percent target. At a subsequent rally in Montana last week, the president declared, "Our allies in many cases were worse than our enemies".

President Donald Trump said his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the easiest meeting of his upcoming trip to Europe. "Will they reimburse the USA?"

Trump's comments come the day after U.S. NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said efforts to prod members into increasing their defense spending are finding success.

Speaking with a gaggle of reporters as he left the White House on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he considered Putin a friend or foe. Trump sent letters to the leaders of several North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries ahead of his visit, warning that it would become "increasingly hard to justify to American citizens why some countries fail to meet our shared collective security commitments".

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But for months, former real estate magnate Trump, eager to distance himself from both the Democratic and Republican politicians who preceded him, has been preaching a very different message.

"Is the President just going to focus on defense spending and basically hijack the entire conversation?" says Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. NATO & US troops in Europe serve our national interests. "'And it means a lot more to you than protecting us because I don't know how much protection we get by protecting you'". I would urge other (Nato members) to work towards that'. Of the 29 allies, only the United States, Britain, Estonia, Greece and Poland met the goal in 2017.

President Trump, who flew into the Belgian capital on Tuesday evening, is angry that the United States is paying a disproportionate amount in defence spending.

After Putin mentioned that White House officials were trying to interfere, a person with direct knowledge of the conversation said that Trump told to Putin, "Those are stupid people; you shouldn't listen to them, "The New York Times reported Monday". Trump will press for more European defense spending at this week's meeting, which is likely to be contentious. The NATO chief said that the Europeans and Canada are projected to spend around US$266 billion more on defence by 2024. Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American President's argument, which says that the U.S. alone protects Europe against our enemies, and that the United States is nearly alone in this struggle. He wants the summit to be all about who does and doesn't spend 2% of GDP on defence. Other NATO members are already pushing back, arguing that their commitment to defense is rising and they back USA priorities in other important ways.

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