Donald Trump Demands More Defence Spending From NATO Allies

Lester Mason
July 12, 2018

Under NATO rules, countries with territorial conflicts can not join the Western alliance and neither country is expected to progress in membership talks. "That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany". The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on United States taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the U.S. role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back firmly, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions and drawing on her own background growing up in communist East Germany behind the Iron Curtain.

"Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russia because it's getting so much of its energy from Russia", Trump told Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a fiery on-camera exchange that was among the harshest in the history of the post-World War II alliance.

Trump said Germany's closure of coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds had increased its dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas. In a tweet Tuesday, he said: "Will they reimburse the USA?"

Trump's White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed the ask to reporters, claiming that it was not a new position for the USA president. Which is amusing because Merkel's name would not top many people's list of Which NATO Member Do You Think Is a Captive of Russian Federation? In remarks to reporters, Trump said the United States has a "tremendous relationship with Germany" and Merkel noted that "we are good partners". "You tell me, is that appropriate?"

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.

Praising new initiatives to build capacity, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg estimated that as much as 266 billion additional US dollars would be spent by European allies and Canada on defense by 2024.

That would represent a massive upheaval of budgetary priorities in Europe where Germany and many others have pledged only to reach 2 percent by 2024 or later, and it was not clear what allies would spend the money on.

Trump is due to meet Putin on Monday in Helsinki.

Berlin has given political support to the building of a new, $11-billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, despite qualms among other European Union states.

Meanwhile, the first day of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit also saw allies trying to strengthen the defense bloc, with several decisions made related to improved capacity, and even a formal invitation to Macedonia to join as the newest member of the organization.

Hours after the breakfast, Merkel and Trump appeared to play nice as they met along the summit's sidelines.

Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, also criticized Trump's rhetoric.

"We are having a great meeting, we are discussing military expenditure and we are talking about trade".

In 2018, the US defense budget is $706 billion.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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