Trump tirade sends North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders into crisis session

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 12, 2018

Merkel said: "We had a very intense summit".

In the first meeting of the summit with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, Trump called the relationship between Germany and Russian Federation as "inappropriate", signaling to allies that their fears about how this summit would go were justified.

Under NATO rules, countries with territorial conflicts can not join the Western alliance and neither country is expected to progress in membership talks. "There is a great collegial atmosphere in that room, that I don't think they've had for many years".

USA officials have told Reuters that Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war.

It was only last month that after a disastrous G-7 summit, Trump signed a joint communiqué with other allies and then changed his mind while flying home. Allies will deliver on fairer burden-sharing, he said, pointing out that European Allies and Canada are expected to spend an extra $266 billion on defence between now and 2024.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump as saying "I'll do my own thing" if spending is not immediately increased.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as he holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018.

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Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the U.S. now spends.

Officials at the meeting said Trump had shocked many present and broke with diplomatic protocol by addressing German Chancellor Merkel by her first name, telling her: "Angela, you need to do something about this".

In fact, the 29 members each pay a portion of NATO's annual US$3-billion operating budget based on the size of their economies.

Mr Trump also spent time with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has recently been reelected and gained new powers as his country's executive president.

"The problem is Trump seems to really see no benefit that allies provide the United States", says James Goldgeier, visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

The unexpected demand from Trump during a closed-door meeting of heads of state laid down a new, virtually unachievable marker for a peacetime military spending in an alliance already struggling to meet current defense spending commitments.

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