Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Trump blasts Germany at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit over gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation

Earlier yesterday, Trump called for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders to increase their defence spending to 4 per cent of their country's economic output - double the group's goal of 2 per cent, which only a handful of members now meet anyway.

It didn't take long for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to respond to Trump's comments. But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the United States role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is sidestepping questions about whether President Donald Trump has asked his allies to double their defence spending ambitions". "They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

The U.S., which spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017, now makes up 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP. "We're not going to put up with it, we can't put up with it and it's inappropriate". "This has been brought up by other presidents".

After Putin complained that White House officials tried to stop their phone call from happening, Trump told Putin, "Those are stupid people; you shouldn't listen to them", according to NYT via The Hill.

Despite Trump's claims about Germany, Merkel served as a forceful advocate for imposing - and maintaining - sanctions on Russian Federation after it annexed Crimea in 2014, arguing that it violated the principles of the global order established after World War II.

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"We're protecting everybody, and yet we're paying a lot of money to protect", Trump said. I think he's right about the spending levels.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted Wednesday that member countries have already been increasing their defense spending. So we'll see. We're meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday. The president is also not the first leader to point to the impact of Nord Stream 2 on Europe, echoing complaints from Eastern European allies who note it would cut out transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine. "I've said that many times for many years".

Amid the tumult, British Prime Minister Theresa May sounded a call for solidarity among the allies, saying, "As we engage Russian Federation we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russian Federation needs to change its behavior for this to become a reality. Where energy supply is concerned, we diversify, but the main overarching topic is the summit - we want a summit that sends out the message of unity". Afterwards he will spend the weekend in Scotland at his gold club, Trump Turnberry, in Ayrshire.

"We are investing heavily in the German armed forces and other European countries too, because the armed forces need it".

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have all that many", he said.

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