Trump says Putin meeting 'may be the easiest of them all'

Tuesday, 10 Jul, 2018

Within minutes of Mr Trump replied on Twitter, Nato countries must pay more, the United States must pay less. U.S. reports have suggested Trump may be interested in a drawdown in Germany, but the much greater changes seem to just be further panicky speculation built around Europe's general opposition to the Trump-Putin summit. "Thank you to all of my great supporters, really big progress being made", Trump tweeted.

Defence secretary Tobias Ellwood told The Sunday Telegraph: 'Given the US's footprint in Europe and Putin's recent hostile actions much hinges on the outcome of the two summits'. Still, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a weekly podcast Saturday, said Germany would increase defense spending in its 2019 budget, suggesting that Trump's complaints are paying off.

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Tuesday in a message to Trump that "it is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem". But it depends on the validity of several assumptions, most important being that Trump is totally unaware of USA interests in Europe and the world in general, doesn't care, or is so besotted with Putin as to come perilously close to committing treason. Not fair to the US taxpayer.

"Dear President Trump: America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe". In March he criticised the USA president's claim that "trade wars are good and easy to win", countering that "they are bad and easy to lose".

"It will become increasingly hard to justify to American citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security commitments", Trump said in a letter addressed to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg seen by Bloomberg News.

"We spend on defence much more than Russian Federation and as much as China". This is especially valued now, given their own deep internal divisions, which are magnified by the rot in democratic practice in some countries and the damage being done to security and the future of the European Union and Western security caused by Brexit. He also let US defense spending fall.

"The president was willing to offer concessions to Kim without getting anything specific or concrete in return", said Jeffrey Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The report emerged ahead of a scheduled North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit at Brussels on Tuesday.

The NATO summit is likely to be dominated by Trump's insistence that member nations step up and pay more for their joint defence.

-With assistance from Tony Capaccio, Richard Bravo and Nikos Chrysoloras.