Trump has criticized European NATO allies

Howard TerryJul 13, 2018

On Tuesday, as he left the White House for the short helicopter ride to Andrews Air Force Base to begin his trip to Europe, Trump seemed unmoved by Tusk's latest pushback. On Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk delivered a stern warning to the US president: "Dear America, appreciate your allies".

BRUSSELS - US President Donald Trump said his efforts had pushed other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to contribute more to the Western defence alliance but it was still not enough to offset the burden on US taxpayers.

The dramatic exchange set the tone for what was already expected to be a tense day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance.

"Officials like Mattis and US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison have tried to reassure NATO allies, but I think that reassurance is wearing thin", Goldgeier told reporters on Tuesday.

Stoltenberg estimated European allies and Canada will add $266 billion to their military spending by 2024 and said "this is really adding some extra momentum", apparently meaning Trump's pressure. Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, the center of the protests.

Such comments have stirred unease not just in Europe, but in Washington.

"NATO is indispensable. It is as important today as it ever has been".

At the same time, other sections of the ruling class, going far beyond Trump, are pursuing a more confrontational policy towards US-EU relations.

The president has said on a number of occasions that he considers all alliances a burden on the United States - it's a position he's held unaltered for decades.

Trump did say he would be bringing up the subject of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, but was prepared for Putin to deny such activities.

Garima Mohan of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin told the South China Morning Post that the US-German trade conflict is "an opportunity for China and Germany to band together" against Washington, though he warned that Sino-German cooperation would be "tenuous" and fragile.

Trump, who has also questioned the USA military presence in Asia, is challenging those assumptions.

The Canadian president has not been spared the defense spending criticism by his American counterpart. He also has placed Germany at the center of his complaints about a U.S. The president singled out Germany's energy deal with Russian Federation. Stuttgart also is headquarters for U.S. European Command.

"The notion that America First Trump so obviously supports Brexit and one of its populist proponents is bound to give real pause for a lot of people, who are likely to conclude that if it's that great for the USA, then it will be at the expense of the U.K".

She added that Germany is NATO's second-largest provider of troops and maintains engagement in Afghanistan alongside US forces.

THE FACTS: There's no question USA military spending constitutes well over a majority of the alliance's overall spending on defense.

Eastern European countries are looking to use the summit to increase the number of troops stationed in their countries as a show of strength towards Russian Federation. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Robert Gates, for example, said in Brussels in 2011 that European penny-pinching and distaste for front-line combat in Afghanistan was putting the future of the alliance at risk.

STOLTENBERG: "Last year was the biggest increase in defense spending across Europe and Canada in that generation".

"The best-case scenario is that it's just rhetoric", the European official said of Trump's comments about a USA willingness to maintain its commitment to Europe. "He's asking for something outrageous, not in the hope of getting it, but in getting to 2 percent or more".

"What he wants to accomplish is for everyone to have doubts that the U.S. is with them".

"Disparaging long-standing allies at the same time as talking up the country that has wantonly seized territory and redrawn Europe's borders by military force for the first time since World War Two is disconcerting to say the least", said Boudreau.

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