Behind President Trump's claim of new funding from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members

Lester Mason
July 12, 2018

But the next morning, the bad guy persona was back, prompting the first formal North Atlantic Treaty Organisation crisis meeting since 2008 in which Trump aired his grievances in a leaders-only, unscripted session over the funding issue again, diplomats said.

Earlier in the day, after Trump blasted Germany for buying Russian oil and natural gas, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sought to convey an attitude of slow, steady progress for the alliance.

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

Trump: "Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy at what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment".

Responding to reports that he had threatened to leave the alliance if no major increase in spending was visible, Trump said "that is unnecessary" because of all the commitments for more spending he saw around the table.

"Every time he sees me he says, 'I didn't do that, '" Trump said of his belief that Putin is telling the truth. Trump: "The additional money that they're willing to put up has been really wonderful ... "

"No holds barred, no subjects off limits", the "Fox News Sunday" anchor said on "America's Newsroom".

Trump's surprise demand came after he clashed with Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling Germany a "captive" of Russian Federation because of its gas links and singling out Berlin for failing to pay its way.

Trump has described the spending situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

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. After all, NATO's ability to engage militarily on behalf of its members necessitates having military assets to deploy.

Striking a strident tone at the summit, Trump's aspirational target of 4% of gross domestic product was above the United States own spending on defence.

Trump also touched on Brexit, saying he was not sure that Britons had voted for the plan presented by Prime Minister Theresa May, which has triggered a British cabinet rebellion.

After an opening day of summit talks marked by clashes between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO leaders had hoped to focus on policy on Ukraine and Afghanistan.

"(The) 2 per cent (figure) was a range, a goal, now it's a commitment, it was like this amorphous number out there and now it's a real commitment", he said.

'We are not going to finance it for them but we will make sure that they are able to get payments and various other things so they can buy, ' Trump said, without explanation.

The United States and Canada swung sharply on Sunday (10 June) toward a diplomatic and trade crisis as top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a day after US President Trump called him "very dishonest and weak". According to the chairman, Trump's remarks were "an assault on business relations between German and European countries and Russia".

He also vowed to raise allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, amid an ongoing United States investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow. 'They did ask me if they could buy the military equipment and could I help them out, and we will help them out a little bit'.

"I [also] want to delve into Vladimir Putin and what he wants for his country", said Wallace.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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