Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Germany ‘totally controlled by Russia,’ Trump tells North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief

Germany ‘totally controlled by Russia,’ Trump tells North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief

With tensions in the Western alliance running high over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on US taxpayers, the latest remarks fuelled concerns among allies over the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II. Article 5, the collective-defense portion of the North Atlantic Treaty, has been invoked once: after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Later, he took to Twitter to demand that member countries get to 2 per cent "IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025".

"They will spend more", he later predicted.

Leaders will be keen to hear more about Trump's military approach to Afghanistan, which he revamped last August to include a surge in air strikes to force Taliban militants to the negotiating table.

There is also a joint budget for the NATO Security Investment Programme, which covers major construction and command and control system investments.

The populist core of his coalition is fuelled in part by anger over what his supporters consider unfair treatment of the United States on matters of trade, immigration and global affairs.

"I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union", Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters.

"We are committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of Alliance membership", the declaration added. "President Obama raised the issue in a constructive and collegial way that succeeded in securing a pledge from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to increase their defense spending, without undermining the cohesion of the alliance in the process", said Kerry who served as the top diplomat during the Obama administration. The summit ended with a group pledge to move toward the target within a decade.

According to a column appearing in Newsweek, Canadian Defense Minister Daniel Le Bouthillier, the difference in spending has a lot to do with a series of one-off payments, particularly a retroactive pay increase for service members, and a large contribution to their pension fund.

Since taking office, Trump has boosted United States funding for the U.S. military presence in Europe by 40%. The primary way to do this, is for each nation to increase their defense budget to two percent of their respective GDPs. American officials say the U.S.is itself short of that mark, spending 3.3 percent of its GDP on defense.

Under NATO rules, countries with territorial conflicts can not join the Western alliance and neither country is expected to progress in membership talks.

"Every time I've met with our allies in Europe I've raised those same concerns about Nord Stream II", the name of the pipeline, Ryan said.

The remaining 21 are lagging, although most have increased spending.

Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an "exchange of views" with Trump.Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism. France is at 1.81% of GDP and Spain is spending 0.93%, while tiny Luxembourg, which had fewer than 1,000 troops in its military past year, is set to spend 0.55% of its GDP on defense in 2018.

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