NATO's 2% of GDP spending goal paints partial picture

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 13, 2018

At the press conference Thursday, just days before he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said he hoped he "will be able to get along with Russia", adding that his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies told him they agree.

The US makes up roughly two thirds of total alliance defence spending, but that includes all American military expenditure around the world, including domestically.

Trump says the $11 billion, 800-mile pipeline expansion linking Russian Federation and Germany would give Moscow greater geopolitical leverage over Europe at a time of heightened global tensions, an opinion in keeping with that of his his immediate predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and former President George W. Bush, who opposed Nord Stream 1.

They will hold talks on closer relations with former Soviet states despite Russia's menace, on North Korea, and, no doubt, try to make sense of Trump's Nato and Russian Federation policy.

The US President's demands triggered an emergency budget meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

THE FACTS: There's no outward sign that Trump's aggressive posturing in recent days has changed much for the alliance other than bruise its veneer of unity. Now, never more vividly apparent than in his behavior Wednesday, President Donald Trump seems perfectly inclined to dismantle it, if that serves his objective. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this is not a formal proposal and that Trump had merely "suggested" this increase. "It reaffirms a commitment to 2% in 2024".

"They agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly", he said, though he did not name countries or give a timeline or figure.

Speaking in Brussels, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said he had not heard any of his European Union counterparts talk positively about Nord Stream 2 and said Washington didn't like it because it didn't promote diversity of supply.

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"Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening", Trump said at an impromptu press conference, adding, "Now we are very happy".

The head of the Polish president's National Security Bureau, Paweł Soloch, said that US President Donald Trump's opinion "is important if the project is to be blocked".

Mr Trump stated his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, speaking after reports that he had warned leaders that the USA could pull out of the alliance if other members failed to increase their contributions.

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were attacked.

At the same time, he insisted Vladimir Putin was a "competitor" rather than an "enemy", ahead of their meeting in Finland next week after his four-day trip to the UK. There are always other options, the US secretary said, noting that the parties had held frank discussions on Nord Stream 2. But he did not rule out recognising Rissia's annexation of Crimea. It will be Trump's first working visit to the United Kingdom since he became President, and massive protests in London are expected.

The British government is also gripped by a crisis over Brexit and tension with Russian Federation after the United Kingdom blamed Moscow for this month's death of a woman from a Novichok nerve agent.

Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an "exchange of views" with Trump.

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

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