Trump pushes allies for immediate military spending increase

Howard TerryJul 12, 2018

President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have met after the US leader publicly lambasted the longtime ally over its spending on national defense and a Russian oil pipeline.

He says some members aren't spending enough on defense while the U.S.is spending too much.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also responded Wednesday to Trump's remarks, offering Trump something of a history lesson.

"Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States in actual numbers is paying 4.2 percent". "We are one of the guarantors of the free world and that will stay that way".

Merkel said it was very important to have such exchanges like the meeting she and Trump were having because "after all, we are partners". At breakfast he had spoken of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation because of the two countries' energy relationship, which he labelled "inappropriate".

Trump said: "We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries". But he noted that President Barack Obama had raised the issue in the past, securing the 2024 target date in 2014, and did so using diplomacy rather that "bombast and demagoguery".

"Trump at NATO Summit: It's not just bad, it's a catastrophe", the influential Sueddeutsche Zeitung headlined its story online.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the USA ambassador to Belgium.

Referring to her own past living in the now defunct East Germany, Ms Merkel added: "I personally experienced how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

It's true that if the overall defense budgets of all 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are tallied, the USA defense budget accounts for about two-thirds of that total.

"We do have disagreements, but most importantly, we have decisions that are pushing this alliance forward and making us stronger", Stoltenberg said. "But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they'd up it or wanted to get involved", Trump said.

"We are willing to increase our defence spending as agreed in Wales".

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany.

The Trump administration is now trying to derail a German-Russian project to double the capacity of the underwater Nord Stream gas pipeline.

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