Published: Fri, July 13, 2018

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

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

They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before...

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were attacked. "We understand that this American president is very serious about defense spending, and this is having a clear impact". Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?

The United States pays more than any other member on defense - about 3.5 percent on NATO-related measures and 67 percent overall.

McCain then ticked off a series by transgressions by Putin, including the "attack" on the USA election and efforts "to undermine democratic institutions throughout the world". Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, on Thursday he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending. But he did not rule out recognising Rissia's annexation of Crimea.

Trump said he wanted "peace all over the world, that's my goal", and he wanted to achieve this by building up the military, with his dream to have the best military equipment in the world and never have to use it.

It's a typically Donald Trump approach to diplomacy and getting things done - he likes to sign pieces of paper that are largely symbolic, he attacks allies on Twitter but keeps sweet in person - and he sabre-rattles using the gravitas of the United States to get his way.

On spending, he said "we are stepping up as never before, allowing USA spending to go down", and there was a "new sense of urgency due to president Trump's strong leadership on defence spending".

The emergency session came amid reports that Trump had threatened to leave the pact if allies didn't immediately up their spending, but officials said no explicit threat was made. The Lithuania defense minister, who was speaking at a (unintelligible) event yesterday said, I regard this as something in the family.

"The concern is that this is not just noise to disregard, because perception is reality and this president may be with us for another six years", the senior source said. The important thing now is that we need to invest more - we need to get more money.

Then he claimed "total credit" for increases in defence spending, although they were in fact agreed in 2014, and warned that "NATO is helping Europe more than it is helping us", in language that did not make a public case for unity. But such a change would be subject to parliamentary approval, and another diplomat said no absolute commitment had been given.

Still, Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday.

She said that the meeting was a continuation of what has been discussed for months.

Trump said there had been "tremendous progress" after his "firm" warnings during the tense two-day meeting in Brussels, during which he singled out Germany for special criticism.

Journalist Tom Newton Dunn, Trump's interviewer, said the president seemed "sensitive" about the inflatable "Trump baby" being flown over London and its accompanying protests, set for Friday. He said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries had agreed to his demands to up their military spending. "Everybody confirmed this trajectory", Macron told reporters after the meetings.

"I'm sorry, they're for White House staff", they were told as they tried to grab vacant seats at the front.

During brief remarks to reporters, he mostly praised Trump's approach.

Tusk also noted that the European Union has helped the United States on numerous occasions, sending troops to fight and die in Afghanistan and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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