Trump's questionable claims of success

Frederick Owens
July 13, 2018

He demanded that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" and then rattled them further by privately suggesting member nations should spend four percent of their gross domestic product on defence, a bigger share than even the United States now pays, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation statistics.

"I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star to President of the United States (on my first try)".

Trump did not directly answer questions about whether he had threatened to take the U.S. out of the alliance, saying he "told people I'd be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments very substantially".

And while all member nations have agreed, in principle, to work toward the 2 percent spending goal, each country is ultimately beholden to unique political processes and must consult with their respective parliaments to secure increased military spending.

Some NATO allies had not exactly heard the same conclusions as Trump around the table, and French President Emmanuel Macron immediately poured cold water on Trump's spending ambitions for other allies.

He said: "There is a communique that was published yesterday". This communiqué is clear, it reaffirms a commitment to 2% in 2024. Former NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said on paper the summit was a success because of binding commitments to present a plan for increased defense spending and the development of the long-awaited Southern Strategy.

The Bulgarian President, formerly the commander of the Air Force before being elected head of state on a ticket backed by the opposition socialists, used Trump's statements to take a sideswipe at Bulgaria'scentre-right government, saying that Bulgaria was "reluctant" to allocate funds to the armed forces.

Most had written off the day as much duller than the previous - when the US President had lambasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a captive of Russian Federation.

But when pressed on the figures, he referred only to the $40bn (€34.2bn) in increased spending which allies had promised the alliance since Mr Trump became president.

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When asked how that conversation might go, Trump said, "He may deny it".

Russian Federation is keen to press ahead with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline since it has the potential to double its gas exports under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes through Ukraine with which it has poor relations.

Most nations are reluctant to commit major portions of their GDP annually to buying these pricey United States arms, however. "I hope you have no doubt this is an investment in our security, which can not be said with confidence about Russian & Chinese spending".

"We had a very intense summit", said Merkel.

Trump also sought to claim a victory in his news conference on Wednesday, defending his the hard-nose tactics he displayed at the summit, which included accusing Germany of being "totally controlled" and "a captive of Russian Federation".

"The proliferation is a tremendous, I mean to me, it's the biggest problem in the world, nuclear weapons, biggest problem in the world", Trump said alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May at her Chequers country residence. "I'm just saying, I think he'd be a great prime minister".

At the press conference on Thursday, a Croatian reporter dared ask if Trump would change his mind once he leaves Brussels for London.

The official said Trump told his counterparts that he had recently called golfer Jack Nicklaus to boast: "They have 1,000 cameras at the Oscars, and we had 6,000 cameras in Singapore".

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