Trump wrapped up the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels Thursday with a press conference where he touted that other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members agreed to boost their defense spending commitments. But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the US from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter. "Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!"
From left: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May, and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for a working dinner at The Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark Park in Brussels on July 11, during the NATO summit.
Nord Stream 2, they argue, will not only deprive land-transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine of billions in annual transit fees, it will also give Russian Federation a way to penalize Eastern European foes without sacrificing lucrative deals further to the west.
With allies fearing he could strike some sort of deal with NATO's key adversary, Trump said that he saw Putin as a "competitor" but not an "enemy".
"The clear message from President Trump is having an impact", he said.
However, the United States president's next destination is London, where he will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and other officials.
Trump blazed into the summit yesterday by demanding that allies reach their commitment to increase spending to two per cent of GDP "immediately" - instead of by 2024 as previously agreed.
But by Thursday, leaders from France, Germany and Italy offered no support for Trump's claim that he had wrung new concessions out of the alliance on their military spending.
"And on that matter, for example, I think it's fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement, but it's not going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done", Obama said in a joint appearance in London with then-PM David Cameron.
According to the USA leader, Germany "got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russian Federation".
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement after the interview was published, saying Trump "likes and respects Prime Minister May very much".
President Trump "didn't set a timetable, but he was very clear that other countries needed to step up and fulfill their obligations", Sanders told ABC News. Hence the question: If Trump does not get his way and the allies hold to their previous schedule of defense commitments, what does he do?
"President Trump is the leader of a great country".
Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending to relieve pressure on the USA budget.
"So we have a commitment to spend two percent".
Trump declared that a joint natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive to Russian Federation".
When asked how that conversation might go, Trump said, "He may deny it. I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the frightful things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in".
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