Trump leaves for Paris with political headwinds back home

Lester Mason
November 10, 2018

Donald Trump has criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for an "insulting" proposal to build up Europe's military to counter the US, China and Russian Federation. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the United States subsidises greatly!"

Macron proposed, in an interview earlier this week, a "real European army" to protect against "China, Russia and even the United States of America".

Macron's office declined to comment on Trump's tweet.

Nevertheless, a senior French source said: "It's really important to have the British on board, not just because they have the most capable, rapidly deployable armed forces along with our own, but also because we share the same strategic culture and history of projecting force outside Europe".

Proponents say the coalition would not conflict with the nearly 70-year-old, US-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, but reflects in part concerns about a more isolationist United States under President Donald Trump. "We must have a Europe that can defend itself more, without just relying on the U.S".

A total of 60 world leaders, including President Trump, will be in Paris this week to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. Since the beginning of his term, Trump has been urging US NATO allies in Europe to up their defense spending. But the relationship-building failed to persuade Mr. Trump to remain in the global climate change or Iran deals and did nothing to protect France from US tariffs.

Earlier this summer, Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Europe, which retaliated with similar duties on American products including bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. But the elimination of tariffs could have an acute impact on French companies including Renault SA and PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen vehicles, who don't sell cars in the US but would face increased competition in their home markets.

But the relationship-building failed to persuade Trump to remain in the global climate change agreement or Iran deals and did nothing to protect France from USA tariffs. That effort hasn't yet yielded results, and the Trump administration has warned that countries hosting a so-called "special goal vehicle" to subvert the sanctions could face penalties themselves.

The trip comes as the White House looks to grapple with a new political reality of Democrats taking the House in Tuesday's midterm elections and the fallout from the president's sudden firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Landing in Paris, he picked a fight with France's President Macron.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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