Trump sets combative tone at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with attacks on allies

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2018

While Trump was expected to present his complaints that NATO's member nations don't contribute enough and make the USA cover the defense bill, he ended up going on a tangent over this worldwide "delinquency", and he also slammed the Germans over their energy dealings with Russian Federation.

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to increase military spending, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and even raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense as required if they were ever attacked.

"We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor".

"Well, I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said. Budget increases started after Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, and they have accelerated in the Trump era in response to the US President's criticism.

On the afternoon of July 11, Trump discussed Nord Stream 2 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel but did not elaborate on the details.

"But the strength of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is that despite these differences we've always been able to unite around our core task: to protect and defend each other because we understand we are stronger together than apart". In a tweet Tuesday, he said: "Will they reimburse the US?"

Former secretary of state John Kerry blasted President Trump's criticism of Germany in a lengthy statement on Wednesday morning as "strange", "counterproductive", and "disgraceful". Washington spent 3.6 per cent a year ago.

In the clip shown above, Trump begins by citing German imports of Russian gas as evidence that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia".

Jens Stoltenberg told reporters: "I think we should first get to 2%, focus on that now. the good thing is that we are moving to that".

Stoltenberg estimated European allies and Canada will add $266 billion to their military spending by 2024 and said, "this is really adding some extra momentum", apparently meaning Trump's pressure. His comment that Germany was controlled by Russian Federation earned a rebuke from Berlin. "This is serious. My task is to try to minimise the negative impact on NATO", Stoltenberg told a forum in the margins of the summit.

Praising new initiatives to build capacity, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg estimated that as much as 266 billion additional USA dollars would be spent by European allies and Canada on defense by 2024.

The president's beef was with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany. He stayed close to members of his delegation, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, before eventually engaging in a brief round of backslapping with others, including again May, before taking his seat.

Trump and Merkel met later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit and kept their remarks polite during a photo opportunity with the press.

Mr. Trump's suspicion of, if not hostility to, allies also could backfire.

The alliance lists the U.S.as spending an estimated 3.5 percent of its GDP on its military budget this year.

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