Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Trump's strained visit with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, meeting with Putin

NATO Braces For Trump, White House Says Business As Usual German Officials, Trump Exchange Criticism Ahead Of NATO Summit
Charlie Simmons | 10 July, 2018, 07:58

This personal animosity between the alliance's most important national leaders comes at an especially infelicitous time, with Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation applying pressure around Nato's periphery, using "hybrid warfare" techniques to destabilize the Baltic and Black Sea nations, and employing cyber operations to undermine democracy as far away as the US. Trump sent letters to the leaders of several North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries ahead of his visit, warning that it would become "increasingly hard to justify to American citizens why some countries fail to meet our shared collective security commitments".

The first signs of this nervousness took place with President Trump's speech in Montana this week.

The document reportedly emphasizes the importance of maintaining a dialogue between the Russian and US heads of state, diplomats, militaries, and intelligence agencies, and calls for closer economic ties and more contact between Russians and Americans.

Trump has shown his affinity for closed-door meetings already during his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month. "But here in Germany, the announcement is that they going to be able to achieve 1.5 percent by 2024". Separately, doubts about Trump's commitment to European security have pushed EU leaders to boost defense cooperation.

But, given a general wariness towards Russian Federation among American voters and Congressional lawmakers, Trump is unlikely to concede too much to Putin, said Michaels.

Member countries are anxious that Trump will spurn them and threaten to unravel the organization, their fears stemming from the G7 meeting last month. The previous, less generous military budget proposal was strongly opposed by Ursula von der Leyen: she criticized it for being inadequate and pointed out the insufficient financing earmarked for the country's military forces, the Bundesweher.

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He accuses European NATO allies of freeloading, telling a rally this week that they had treated the USA like "schmucks". At the same time, he declared that "Putin is fine" and that he had been preparing for their summit "all my life".

A country's defense contribution shouldn't be measured only as a percentage of GDP, but also in terms of troops and hardware, she said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Berlin.

The US president has been unleashing scathing attacks on America's traditional allies ahead of the meeting, which will be followed by a one- on- one with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

What we are trying to do is work with the German government, to work with the German CEOs, I'm working closely with Secretary [Wilbur] Ross and the White House to try to have that conversation which I think is a healthy conversation to say what would it take to get to zero?

-With assistance from Tony Capaccio, Richard Bravo and Nikos Chrysoloras.

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