Trump Says U.S. Allies Agree to Raise NATO Defense Spending

NATO Alliance Summit in Brussels

NATO Alliance Summit in Brussels

"After we're at 2 percent, we'll start talking about going higher".

Just a few hours before he was due to leave for Britain, Mr Trump had more to say apparently - and he said it.

Trump closed out the tumultuous two-day summit by reaffirming the United States' commitment to the almost 70-year-old alliance and signing the joint declaration, despite spending much of the summit berating allies over defence spending and accusing Germany of being beholden to Russia because it buys Russian natural gas. There won't be any extra money forthcoming from any country, beyond a pledge made years ago that everyone would meet the thus far largely elusive 2% spending level.

Trump claimed a personal victory at the summit after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington's support.

"Sometimes if I didn't know better, I might say that we are purposefully trying to destabilize the Western alliance and turn the world upside down", he said.

As a strong proponent of diplomacy, I believe a meeting between President Trump and President Putin could be a productive one.

But just days out from a high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the mercurial United States leader threatened to throw the transatlantic alliance into disarray. "The heart of Trump's message was positive", a French source told ABC. "It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024".


In February, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said only about half of the alliance's 29 members are on track to meet the 2024 deadline - which he said would boost spending by $46 billion.

"Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment", President Trump told reporters, going on to repeat the claim that he had secured new commitments 10 more times during a press conference in Brussels. "You just feel it kind of creaking in the wake of the commentary from President Trump".

"We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor".

On spending, he said "we are stepping up as never before, allowing USA spending to go down", and there was a "new sense of urgency due to president Trump's strong leadership on defence spending". But as experts, including TIME contributor James Stavridis, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who commanded all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, note, Trump "tends to liken the situation to a need to hound golfers for not paying their dues at the local country club". And he said Canada has promised to reverse a decline in military resources with an eye towards the two per cent target.

He added that Trump makes a fair point in warning that Germany relies too heavily on Russian Federation for energy, recalling that Putin has used his control of gas supplies as a weapon against Ukraine.

Before he visits with Putin, Trump will visit London and the United Kingdom - where many large protests are planned against his policies.

Trump did not directly answer questions about whether he had threatened to take the USA out of the alliance, saying he "told people I'd be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments very substantially".

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