Trump says allies agreed to increase defence spending - but did they?

Lester Mason
July 12, 2018

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, talks to U.S. President Donald Trump as British Prime Minister Theresa May, right watches at the opening ceremony of the NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

He said that it had now become "unnecessary" to withdraw from the organisation. He said he would "probably" be able to have the USA leave the mutual defense organization with no Congress approval, but insisted that after his perceived diplomatic success the Alliance would be "a very, very powerful, very, very strong" organization that America would be perfectly fine to stay in.

"They're going to up it at levels that they've never thought of before", Trump said at his press conference in Brussels.

He said the US "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that members meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence, which "must ultimately go to 4%!" He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

In an impromptu press conference this morning, Trump said he had "told people he would be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially".

A joint summit declaration issued Wednesday underlined NATO's support for Ukraine and its aspirations for membership of the alliance, pending domestic reforms.

"In that we also defend the interests of the United States". But the vehemence of Trump's on-camera breakfast attack on Germany for its backing of a second Nord Stream gas pipeline, and for being "captive" to Russian Federation came as a shock. Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, grimaced.


"That's why we are pleased that based on the consultation we did with Canadians and our own defence policy review, we're moving forward with increasing by 70 per cent our defence investments over the coming decade".

"A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea", Trump tweeted alongside a copy of the letter dated July 6 - the day that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Pyongyang for what turned out to be hard talks with Kim's regime.

"So explain that. And it can't be explained, and you know that".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that there was a disagreement during the meeting, but tried to play down its significance, our correspondent said.

But Major questions whether the arguments being made by the president are really only about spending.

Across the Atlantic, Trump's performance drew howls of criticism from Democrats and an implicit rebuke from the Republican-led Congress, which overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting NATO without debate. Two of her top government officials resigned earlier this week over negotiations on how to manage Brexit, including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, whom Trump has called a "friend".

Then the president plans to spend the weekend at one of his golf clubs in Scotland.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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