Trump Lays Down the Law on NATO Freeloaders: US Sick of Covering Europe’s Defense Expenses
The military patronage of the USA is becoming more expensive. On the second day of the summit in Brussels, Donald Trump demanded that the members of NATO double their defense spending, criticized the security of the European borders, and canceled all bilateral meetings. Moreover, on the eve of the Helsinki negotiations, Trump scared his Eastern European allies by calling Vladimir Putin «a rival he could be friends with.»
Anastasia Popova with the details.
Seeing Trump in bad mood, the NATO members understand that there will be no mercy. He said that the meeting was behind closed doors and asked Ukraine and Georgia to leave. Then, he started to shamelessly scold everyone. He gave everyone F-marks for their work and demanded that they increased their defense spending by up to 4% of GDP. An obviously impossible demand: Only five members of the alliance have managed to reach the previous 2% goal. Those marked with blue spend even less. To keep their master from getting angry, the leaders promised to try harder. That cheered him up a bit.
Donald Trump, US President: «We had a fantastic meeting at the end — 29 countries. And they are putting up a lot. Germany has increased very substantially. And we still have to figure out what’s going on with the pipeline because the pipeline is coming from Russia.»
Germany got hit the hardest at the summit. After the bilateral meeting with Merkel, Melania had to be the good cop. She gently comforted the chancellor, saying that Trump is short-tempered but forgiving. France and the Secretary General also came to Merkel's defense.
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor: «I once again told Trump where I see our common interests: the measures regarding Ukraine and the Minsk Agreements. We're closely cooperating.»
Apart from that, the alliance is running out of common interests. The relations between the NATO members and the US become more strained. Amongst themselves, they joke and discuss soccer.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau missed his Belgian colleague Charles Michel and embraced his wife. And the head of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker kissed everyone he met and was so glad to see everyone that he started to totter. The guests helped him step down from the stage so he didn't fall. The Ukrainian president was constantly hanging around, claiming he met Trump in the fields even though he canceled all bilateral meetings that day. Poroshenko promised to alter the Ukrainian Constitution But Hungary blocked his rapprochement with the alliance. The negotiations regarding the admission of Georgia are also not moving forward. All it has now are promises which annoys the Georgian government. However, not all Georgians are convinced that their country must join NATO.
Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement — United Georgia: «I feel that the unnecessary NATO activities and military drills can harm Georgia. Nothing good can come from this if it antagonizes Russia. Our admission must not be a way of spitting Russia.»
The negotiations regarding Georgia have lasted for almost 10 years particularly because NATO understands that their expansion in this direction will shift the balance of power and the security situation in Europe. Today, the Russian Foreign Ministry reminded that such advances would have consequences.