Trump gears up for meeting with "competitor" Putin after rocky North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Lloyd Doyle
July 13, 2018

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"It will be over a relatively short period of years", Trump said.

NATO, a pillar of the global order, emerged from a two-day confrontation with President Donald Trump on Thursday intact but distracted and shaken, a further challenge to the alliance as it faces an expansionist Russian Federation and growing authoritarianism among some of its own members.

Another interlocutor noted that due to the shift in Donald Trump's schedule, the talks were held with no press invited. "All I can do is say "Did you?' and 'Don't do it again" - but he may deny it".

But just days out from a high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the mercurial U.S. leader threatened to throw the transatlantic alliance into disarray.

"We are being played for fools", he reportedly told leaders at a meeting meant to revolve around Georgia and Ukraine.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline", Trump said to reporters Wednesday morning, calling the alleged dependence on Russian energy "inappropriate". He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more.

Belligerent comments are also par for the course; within moments of arriving at his first breakfast meeting, Trump decried the Nord Stream 2 energy infrastructure project as "very inappropriate" while North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jens Stoltenberg looked on in horror.


Asked about pressures on countries with weaker finances, he said, "We have many wealthy countries with us today but we have some that aren't so wealthy and 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", he told a news conference.

EU President Donald Tusk stepped up to the fight with his own salvo against Trump on Tuesday, telling him to "appreciate your allies" and reminding him Washington that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks. But he reiterated his demand that USA allies spend more on defense.

With allies fearing he could strike some sort of deal with NATO's key adversary, Trump said that he saw Putin as a "competitor" but not an "enemy".

Around eight members of the 29-country military alliance are expected to reach the 2 per cent target this year.

He also vowed to raise allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, amid an ongoing USA investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow.

Before he visits with Putin, Trump will visit London and the United Kingdom - where many large protests are planned against his policies.

Asked about Johnson, Trump said: "I was very saddened to see he was leaving government and I hope he goes back in at some point".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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