Donald Trump pushes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to double their defence spending

Angelo Anderson
July 12, 2018

The Republican president, in Brussels for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, took a swipe at Germany for supporting a new pipeline for Russian gas, saying at a pre-summit meeting: "We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia". NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said last week that now 16 of 29 countries are on track to meet that goal. "And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russian Federation where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation", he said.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday "may be the easiest" part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit. Most NATO members are spending less than 2 percent, though more are moving in that direction. "They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

"It's going to be an interesting time in the United Kingdom, and it's certainly going to be an interesting time with NATO", Trump told reporters at the White House today before leaving for Brussels.

"This has gone on for many presidents. I think it's very unfair to our country". Says Stoltenberg: "We have agreed that we're committed to the pledge increasing defence spending to 2 percent".

Germany, which came in for Trump's special ire this summit, is set to spend 1.24% of its GDP on defense in 2018.

Trump said: "We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries". "This has been brought up by other presidents. But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they understood it or they just didn't want to get involved". "But Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Trump declared.

The meeting brought together Mr Trump and Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau, who irritated the USA president at the G7 by declaring that his country would not be pushed around.

Despite the differences, we've always been able to protect and to defend each other. "And I think that leaders are also looking forward to your thoughts about the meeting with President Putin later on".

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. "If we look at the gas pipeline, Germany is an independent country". Since President Trump took office, he has been highly critical of the spending guideline put in place by the alliance. "Now maybe there's a bit more urgency now because he's blunter than his predecessors in criticizing his European partners".

"It allows him to make his point that Russian Federation is not isolated, that Russian Federation is a great power, and to some extent can even claim an equal status with the United States, at least in the security field", said Kortunov.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article