EU official criticizes Donald Trump over attitude toward allies
11 July, 2018, 05:16 | Author: Sheila Harris
Although the 29-member military alliance's annual meetings have traditionally been fairly by-the-books events, expectations are different this year - thanks, in large, to Donald Trump.
The tweet continued Trump's weird idea that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is some kind of protection racket, and that American military spending - which Trump has repeatedly advocated increasing - is some kind of charitable donation to American allies, rather than an assertion of US power overseas.
Here are some of the key talking points around this year's summit.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, now spends 1.24% of GDP on defence.
"NATO has not treated us fairly but I think we'll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little".
While countries closer to Russian Federation, such as Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Poland, significantly boosted defense, most other members took a more relaxed approach, with Germany's defense minister saying in 2015 that she didn't see a need to meet the spending bar, Deutsche Welle reported.
He told reporters in Washington before leaving that "frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us" and then later tweeted from Air Force One that he may demand reimbursements from the European member nations.
But European Council President Donald Tusk hit back with his own message on the social media site, insisting that the USA has no better ally than the EU.
Mr Tusk also said that the U.S. did not and would not have a better ally than the EU, reminding the president that it was European troops who had fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US. "And dear Europe, spend more on your defense", he said.
Eastern European countries are looking to use the summit to increase the number of troops stationed in their countries as a show of strength towards Russian Federation.
Setting up such a force would present an unequivocal challenge deterrence towards what they describe as Russia's increasingly bold and risky posture towards Europe. "We've had violent falling outs over Libya, Iraq in 2003, but it's qualitatively different as in that the biggest of the allies doesn't just have disagreements with us, but actually seems willing to walk away", Valasek said.
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