Behind President Trump's claim of new funding from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 13, 2018

As a contentious North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels began to wind down on Thursday, President Donald Trump claimed victory over defense spending and reaffirmed US commitment to the alliance.

"That would be a tremendous achievement if we could do something on nuclear proliferation", he said.

"I told people that I would be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments, (sic)" an ebullient President told reporters after the second day of the Brussels meeting, when North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders huddled with Trump to try to defuse a crisis. They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before...

In a series of tweets at the time, Trump said that "throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart".

Tensions rose on the final day of the two-day summit, when members met in an emergency session amid demands from Trump to speed up defense spending.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a prime target of Trump over two raucous days.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters she's comfortable with the Trump-Putin summit, but it "depends very much on outcomes".

A frustrated Trump has already hinted he may accept Russia's annexation of Crimea as he accepted Israel's annexation of Jerusalem.

Hours before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges, Trump vowed to ask Putin "firmly" about Moscow's involvement in the last presidential election, but he warned that the "stupidity" of domestic politics and the special counsel's ongoing probe into the issue was holding back U.S.

Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Trump on Wednesday also turned a harsh spotlight on Germany's own ties to Russian Federation, alleging that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russian Federation.

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Germany spends 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, while the US spends 3.5 percent. Why? "And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russian Federation where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation", he said. "After we're at 2 percent, we'll start talking about going higher".

But when pressed on the figures, he referred only to the 40 billion dollars in increased spending which allies had promised since Mr Trump became president.

While in Latvia Trudeau did announce Canada would stay in the Baltic nation for four more years, until 2023 and boost its number of troops to 540 from the current 455.

Trump has said next week's meeting with Putin "may be the easiest" part of his European tour.

THE FACTS: Trump has said this before; it's not true. May will be able to remain in power in the wake of a rebellion in her government over Britain's "Brexit" break with the European Union, and the resignation of her foreign secretary Boris Johnson, he had nothing good to say about her chances. "The people voted to break it up (Britain's ties with the EU)", said Mr Trump.

"So I would imagine that's what they will do, but maybe they will take a little bit of a different route".

He also renewed a demand that they even double that - though many question what they could usefully spend it on.

After Friday's press conference with Theresa May in which he rowed back on some of the more incendiary remarks he made about Brexit in his interview with the Sun, British officials were reassured the U.S. president can be chastened, if not cowed, when confronted by the damage he has wreaked.

President Donald Trump walks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels. "Not acceptable! All Nato Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!" The important thing now is that we need to invest more - we need to get more money.

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