Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Trump Sets Stage for NATO Showdown as He Ties Defense to Trade

NATO Braces For Trump, White House Says Business As Usual German Officials, Trump Exchange Criticism Ahead Of NATO Summit
Glenn Montgomery | 10 July, 2018, 08:01

"The United States is spending far more on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation than any other Country", the president tweeted on Monday, ahead of his appearance at the alliance's summit this week in Belgium.

The ties between the US and many of its longest-standing allies have frayed since Trump took office and put his "America first" agenda into practice.

What makes it particularly hurtful is the evident personal affection and admiration Trump has for Putin. He has often railed against the US's key allies, accusing fueling trade deficits with the US.

I'll leave it to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to say whether there are sinister motives for Trump's consistent willingness to look past Putin's many transgressions - to name a few, Putin's attempts to subvert Western democracies, including ours; his illegal annexation of Crimea; his human rights violations and muzzling of free speech, including the press; and his alleged assassinations of dissidents overseas, including an attempt to kill a former intelligence agent in Britain with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

Trump has shown his affinity for closed-door meetings already during his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month.

Trump has long admired Putin, and believes the U.S. and Russian Federation can be allies, according to multiple reports on his attitude toward Putin and his regime. "I think what the president is trying to do is sit down with him and say 'you need to come in a different direction".

President Donald Trump is planning to meet one-on-one with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at their summit July 16 in Helsinki. Instead, a series of events _ a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II _ will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

The list goes on, and I'm sure Putin will give Trump a big kiss when they get together later in July to work on how to rig our mid-term elections.

But in March, NATO said that only four nations met that guideline in 2017: the US (3.57 percent), Greece (2.36 percent), Britain (2.12 percent) and Estonia (2.08 percent).

House Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith said Wednesday it appeared "the president is trying to reorient US foreign policy towards Russian Federation and away from our democratic allies in Europe". And he commiserated with Mr. Putin over Trump administration officials whom the Russian president said had tried to prevent the call from happening, according to a person with direct knowledge of the conversation.

Much of the rest of Trump's foreign policy is equally weird.

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