Trump Reaffirms NATO Ties, along with Dismisses Concerns About Russia
BRUSSELS — After two days of haphazard deal creating with European allies over military spending along with throwing some of his closest diplomatic relationships into disarray, President Trump pledged on Thursday which the United States commitment to NATO “remains very strong” along with which his allies had agreed to boost levels of military spending “like they never have before.”
Mr. Trump, speaking at an impromptu news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels after he ignited a crisis behind closed doors over burden-sharing within the alliance, dismissed any concern which his relationship with Russia was too cozy or which his approach to his allies was too harsh.
Hailing himself, again, as a “stable genius,” he took “total credit” for persuading his allies to boost military spending beyond established markers — a claim which was nearly immediately undercut by at least one European leader. Mr. Trump spoke for more than a half-hour while flanked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with John R. Bolton, his national security advisor.
“I told people I’d be very unhappy if they didn’t up their commitments very substantially,” said Mr. Trump, who has not held a news conference within the United States in more than a year. NATO officials had no immediate comment.
Mr. Trump griped which the United States shouldered “probably 0 percent of the cost of NATO” — the number can be actually closer to 67 percent of all NATO military spending, however which includes global spending, not just Europe.
The United States pays 22 percent of the NATO budget itself. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, of the $603 billion the United States spends on defense, only about $31 billion goes to Europe.
NATO members have pledged to aim to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on military spending by 2024, however Mr. Trump, after berating alliance countries for failing to meet a target which they were not obligated to meet for six more years, then abruptly said last night the figure should be 4 percent of G.D.P. which, he said, was closer to the correct number.
Mr. Trump also answered several questions about his meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, scheduled for Monday in Helsinki, Finland.
The president said he could discuss violations to a treaty on nuclear weapons, as well as possibly stopping military exercises within the Baltics, however he evaded a question about whether he could recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Instead, he blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for the annexation, adding which he could not say what could happen. “Long before I got here,” Mr. Trump said, “President Obama allowed which to happen. which was on his watch, not on my watch.”
Mr. Trump said which, after a weekend in Scotland at Turnberry — a golf course along with Trump business which he plugged within the news conference as “magical” — he could go “to a pretty hot spot” to meet with Mr. Putin.
Asked to characterize his relationship with the Russian president, Mr. Trump referred to Mr. Putin as a “competitor,” not an enemy, adversary or friend, along with tried to wave off expectations which the “loose meeting” with the Russian president could result in a substantive policy outcome.
“the item could lead to something very productive,” Mr. Trump said, “along with maybe the item’s not.”
When asked if Russia presented a security threat, Mr. Trump offered a grudging compliment: “Hey. I don’t want him to be. along with I guess which’s why we have NATO.”
The unexpected news conference came after a relatively calm reception along with dinner Wednesday evening along which has a hectic morning in which allies gave skeptical interviews to the news media about Mr. Trump’s intentions.
For his part, Mr. Trump showed up to the second day of the NATO summit meeting about 30 minutes behind schedule. however he found time to send two fiery tweets over what he regards as lackluster military by the United States’ closest allies, along with what he perceived to be an uncomfortably close financial relationship between Russia along with Germany.
within the news conference, Mr. Trump reiterated his frustration with Germany having agreed to a $10 billion pipeline which the item approved to bring natural gas directly by Russia. In a pair of tweets sent before he arrived, he assailed the richest country in Europe.
“Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, along with which must ultimately go to 4%!”
In front of reporters, Mr. Trump repeatedly cited the pipeline as a major point of contention with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, along with said which he was the “only one” to bring up the issue.
“We have to figure out what’s going on with the pipeline,” Mr. Trump said. “I brought the item up, nobody brought the item up however me.”
which can be not true: Concerns with the pipeline date back to the Obama administration.