Trump scolds North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members on defense spending ahead of summit

Frederick Owens
July 11, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk holds a joint press conference July 10, 2018.

Mere moments before boarding Marine One en route to Brussels for the NATO Summit, US President Donald Trump made his feelings about the alliance clear - again.

Putin had two brief meetings with Trump on the sidelines of worldwide summits a year ago, but plans for a full-fledged summit had been delayed amid the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Congressional probes into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election - dismissed by the U.S. president as a "witch-hunt".

President Trump suggested such member states should reimburse the US for being delinquent on their obligations for years.

Donald Trump said the United Kingdom is in "turmoil" and his meeting with Vladimir Putin may be easier than his visit to see Theresa May. But we can not be taken advantage of.

"We spend on defense much more than Russian Federation and as much as China".

Donald Tusk's comments come in light on the problems emerging between the European Union and US.

The United Kingdom, with its eye on Brexit, is most likely to side with Mr. Trump, said Michael C. Desch, director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. It is always worth knowing: who is your strategic friend? They're also anxious about his potential embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin during a summit in Helsinki.

"Getting ready to leave for Europe".

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"The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the USA taxpayer", Trump tweeted earlier in the morning, calling the situation "Very Unfair!"

The meeting comes at a time of fraying relations across the European Union, so will anyone stand up to the US President? "Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!" he wrote on Twitter.

"Many countries in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made".

It'll mark the second visit to the alliance by Trump, who used his first appearance in May 2017 to try to browbeat fellow leaders into ramping up military spending. He also said that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week would be the "easiest" of the meetings he'll have while he's overseas.

Four European members - Germany, France, Britain and Italy - combined pay 43.8 percent of the total.

He repeated his complaints about being treated "unfairly" by USA allies, but said "we'll work something out".

While countries closer to Russian Federation, such as Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Poland, significantly boosted defense, most other members took a more relaxed approach, with Germany's defense minister saying in 2015 that she didn't see a need to meet the spending bar, Deutsche Welle reported.

The 1.5 percent level forecast for NATO's European members in 2018 compares to 1.46 percent previous year, 1.44 percent in 2016 and 1.42 percent in 2015.

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