Trump is right about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation deadbeats

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 11, 2018

With his escalating complaints that the United States contributes more than its fair share to defense, and vague threats to countries that do not spend more, Trump is diluting the alliance's appearance of unity, say diplomats and analysts.

President Donald Trump's repeated tongue lashings of NATO allies and his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin are stirring questions at home and overseas about Trump's commitment to an Atlantic alliance that has been a pillar of US security policy for more than half a century.

Just before boarding Air Force One, Trump, who repeatedly attacked the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance on Twitter on Tuesday, told reporters that his meeting with Putin "may be the easiest" he has during his trip to Europe.

When asked if Putin was a friend or foe, Trump replied, "I really can't say right now - as far as I'm concerned, a competitor". "As far as I'm concerned, he's a competitor", he said, according to a pool report, "I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, is a good thing".

As Trump flew toward Brussels on Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk sought to set down brightly colored markers for Trump's arrival.

The president also took aim at the European Union, saying the "being taken advantage of" by the economic bloc.

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The document reportedly emphasizes the importance of maintaining a dialogue between the Russian and US heads of state, diplomats, militaries, and intelligence agencies, and calls for closer economic ties and more contact between Russians and Americans.

In a message to Mr Trump, he said: "it is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem", while signing a joint EU-NATO declaration with alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. But Trump's more aggressive approach on the issue has some anxious that he will focus on defense spending at the expense of other discussions.

"America, appreciate your allies - after all, you don't have that many". "Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all", said Trump.

Last month, the U.S. raised fears of a trade war by slapping tariffs on steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada, Mexico and other United States allies. "Wow!" And in multiple tweets, he reiterated a familiar theme, complaining that the U.S. is shouldering an unfair share of defense costs overseas: "NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS", he tweeted. "We spend on defense much more than Russian Federation and as much as China", Tusk wrote.

"There is a communication problem there", he said, adding that the controversial moves could have the adverse effect of making it hard for European leaders to legislate to increase their defense budgets. "But above all when you meet President Putin in Helsinki", he said.

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