General Hodges: Uncertainty over Trump's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation speech unfortunate

by Abel Hampton July 12, 2018, 11:09
General Hodges: Uncertainty over Trump's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation speech unfortunate

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many", Tusk said, before reminding Trump that European troops had fought alongside Americans in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Mr. Trump predicted as he departed Washington that the "easiest" leg of his journey would be his scheduled sit-down Putin - a comment that did little to reassure allies fretting over his potential embrace of a Russian leader US intelligence officials accuse of meddling in the 2016 elections to help Mr. Trump win.

Before taking off on Air Force One, he tweeted: "Getting ready to leave for Europe".

He added: "Not fair to the USA taxpayer". Mr. Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the US protecting Germany when the European nation is making deals with Russian Federation.

Prior U.S. administrations have pressed Europe to invest more in its defense, but the matter has typically been handled by other officials in the government, said Ted Bromund, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "Putin will play that over and over again in his domestic TV audience to show how he's made Russian Federation so great", said Evelyn Farkas of the Atlantic Council.

Trump tweeted, referring to the US trade deficit with the European Union, although both the bloc and USA government say the figure is lower when including services such as finance, where the United States has a surplus.

New figures published on Tuesday showed that only seven European NATO countries - Britain, Greece, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania and Romania - would reach the 2.0-percent spending target in 2018.

But European Council President Donald Tusk hit back with his own message on the social media site, insisting that the United States has no better ally than the EU.

"The President of the United States is irrational and unconvinced of the value of the transatlantic alliance", Marcel Dirsus, political scientist at the University of Kiel, says.

Germany, Europe's largest economy, now spends 1.24% of GDP on defence.

There is concern that Trump could be complimentary of Putin, in much the same way he was with North Korea's Kim. "Europe far more than it does the US".

The summit is seen as one of the most hard in years amid fears that Trump will turn even more hostile about an alliance that has underpinned European security for 70 years. "Europe needs more of a single voice within the alliance".

Trump will visit Britain and meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland's capital Helsinki after his stay in Brussels. The Russian leader denies meddling in the United States presidential election and other European votes.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday from the White House before departing Washington for Europe, Trump says of the 69-year old trans-Atlantic mutual defense pact, "Frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us".


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