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Trump ready to help some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states buy US arms

13 July 2018

NATO, a pillar of the global order, emerged from a two-day confrontation with President Donald Trump on Thursday intact but distracted and shaken, a further challenge to the alliance as it faces an expansionist Russian Federation and growing authoritarianism among some of its own members. All was serene, however, during a lavish evening welcome ceremony at Blenheim Palace. We send troops and pay billions for their defense, while they restrict our access to their markets and focus on capturing USA markets from American producers.

Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

This is not the impression one gets from some of the coverage of Trump's European tour.

When questioned in Latvia on his way to the summit in Brussels, Belgium, Trudeau said that Canada has no plans to double its defence budget when asked about meeting the two per cent figure directly. But with Trump scheduled to meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation on Monday, the gathering was dominated by wrangling over money.

"I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union", she said. "I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius...and a very stable genius at that!"

Trump finally managed to hold Melania's hand.

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". But there was little evidence other leaders had bowed to his wishes on that front.

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Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were ever attacked.

"And the good thing is that, very much because of that very clear message from President Trump on this meeting, I think that allies understand this need to do that", Stoltenberg said after being repeatedly asked about Trump's assertion that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members had agreed to a four-percent goal.

Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an "exchange of views" with Trump.

"There is a communique that was published yesterday; it's very detailed", Macron said. "It reaffirms a commitment to 2% in 2024. Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening, and they have substantially upped their commitment". "Some are at 2 percent, others have agreed definitely to go to 2 percent, and some are going back to get the approval - and which they will get - to go to 2 percent". They're happy to do it. Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.

Trump's comments came in a wide-ranging news conference after attending a special meeting on defense spending.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took a more diplomatic approach on the spending row, saying that Trump was having an "impact" while refusing to confirm any increase beyond what was agreed in the statement.

But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the USA from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter.

Trump ready to help some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states buy US arms