Trump Hits EU Trade Barriers and NATO: ‘We’ll Work Something Out’

11 July, 2018, 11:15 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison appears on

Speaking about his upcoming meetings on his European tour, including his first summit with Putin next Monday in Helsinki, Trump said "frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. I am absolutely certain that this summit will show that we are able to deliver on defence despite disagreements on other issues".

"Today, Europeans (collectively) spend on defence many times more than Russian Federation, and as much as China". He says the United States is shouldering too much of the defense burden for the alliance.

Trump repeated his demands for the European Union to lower barriers to United States imports and for America's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to pay more towards their own defence.

And it is a certainty that President Donald Trump will do everything in his power to ensure that the twenty-eight other members of the alliance-particularly the vast majority whose defense budgets remain well below the 2% GDP threshold-begin to take their spending commitments as seriously as the United States.

Meanwhile, Trump has also made a habit of rebuffing allies like French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues including trade, climate change and the Iran deal.

Mr Trump has linked the issue of United States military spending to the EU's trade surplus with the USA, complaining that the bloc "makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe" and then "want us to happily defend them through Nato". "Who would think?" Trump said. Not fair to the US taxpayer.

Before taking off on Air Force One, he tweeted: "Getting ready to leave for Europe". "Europe far more than it does the US".

His central gripe concerns nations paying their "fair share" towards defence spending.

Eight NATO allies will reach the benchmark by the end of the year, and 15 are on the track of meeting the target by 2024, according to a recent statement by the White House.

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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.

Mr Tusk recalled that the Europeans are spending more than Russian Federation and as much as China on defence.

But the US president, who as the commander-in-chief of the world's biggest military power leads the alliance, has also indicated he has other issues he wants to discuss, including non-NATO business such as trade relations with Europe.

"Disparaging long-standing allies at the same time as talking up the country that has wantonly seized territory and redrawn Europe's borders by military force for the first time since World War Two is disconcerting to say the least", said Boudreau.

Each of the leaders know how hard it can be to satisfy Mr Trump.

While some nations have taken that request (or demand) seriously and vowed to stick their hands deeper into their pockets, European Council President Donald Tusk cautioned the President: "it is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem".

Vladimir Putin. The not-exactly glacial relationship between Russia's autocratic leader and the volatile American president has caused some angst in diplomatic circles.

"It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem", he said, in comments that appeared to allude to Russian Federation.

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