Trump, NATO head Stoltenberg have testy exchange at summit

11 Juillet, 2018, 15:24 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Jens Stoltenberg

"Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia", Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, gestures while speaking to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

"And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia", Trump said.

Brussels is the first stop of a week-long European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Ahead of this week's summit, Mr Trump has routinely urged other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to increase their military spending.

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.

The United Kingdom, with its eye on Brexit, is most likely to side with Mr. Trump, said Michael C. Desch, director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. "I think that's very inappropriate".

His stance earned him a summit eve rebuke by EU President Donald Tusk who said that Trump should "appreciate" his allies and that the United States didn't have many.

But instead of trying to engage with what Trump actually said during the Fox News interview, Gardner pretended Trump actually meant the opposite of what he said.

While Trump has routinely misrepresented the nature of NATO's funding and how the alliance works to share the burden of mutual defense, he's correct that energy dependence on Russian Federation from Germany, and all of Europe, gives Moscow influence.

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Many US presidents have urged European governments to spend more on their militaries. Trump has praised Brexiteers and trashed the European Union in the past, and he piled on ahead of his first visit to Britain.

The NATO chief was frank about the impact of Trump's criticism on the organisation.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini even had some Trump-esque praise for Mr. Putin, whom he hoped to meet during a trip to Moscow for the Wold Cup final.

The president has lashed out at countries that fall short. "Will they reimburse the U.S.?" he said in one tweet.

He said the U.S. did not and would not have a better ally than the EU, reminding the president that European troops had also fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

Mr Trump predicted as he departed Washington that the "easiest" leg of his journey would be his scheduled sit-down with Mr Putin.

"But how can you be together when you're getting energy from the group you want protection from?" the president asked.

Last month, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said that while U.S. politicians are accusing Europe of being dependent on Russian gas, Washington was force-feeding Europe its liquefied natural gas, which is three times more expensive than natural gas from Russia.

The 1.5 percent level forecast for NATO's European members in 2018 compares to 1.46 percent a year ago, 1.44 percent in 2016 and 1.42 percent in 2015.

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