Thursday, July 12, 2018

President Trump Throws NATO Into Crisis (VIDEO)

Well, maybe NATO was already in crisis. Trump is just lifting the lid off.

At LAT, "Trump throws NATO summit into crisis mode with demands, before switching and claiming victory":

President Trump threw the annual NATO summit into crisis Thursday — forcing an emergency session and suggesting the United States could leave the nearly 70-year-old alliance — before switching positions and claiming victory.

As the summit closed, the president held an unexpected news conference, taking credit for having secured firmer commitments from all 28 other member nations to increase their spending on defense.

Other leaders, however, denied that NATO members had made any significantly new commitments to spending beyond what they’d agreed to in 2014, under some pressure from President Obama.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in his own closing news conference, said NATO members had made no new commitments. He also said that Trump "never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO."

From Brussels, Trump headed next to Britain on a diplomatic tour that will end Monday in Helsinki, Finland, with his first official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Before departing for London, however, he sent some undiplomatic advance signals in his news conference — calling Britain a “hotspot,” noting the resignations that have threatened Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and questioning whether her “Brexit” plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is what British voters want.

Trump at NATO’s close cast himself as a savior in a crisis of his own making. Yet in declaring victory and agreeing to sign a closing declaration — emphasizing joint defense against Russia — Trump avoided the debacle that he made of last month’s summit of the Group of 7 industrialized powers in Canada. There, as he flew off, he tweeted his withdrawal from the summit’s final statement and hurled insults at host Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, for his perceived slights.

In Brussels, Trump said that the NATO members committed to meet the already agreed-to goal of allocating an amount equal to 2% of each nation's gross domestic product toward defense spending, and that he would like to see the benchmark raised to 4% eventually.

"Yesterday, I let them know I was extremely unhappy with what was happening. And now we're very happy. We have a very powerful, very strong NATO — much stronger than it was two days ago,” Trump said at the 35-minute news conference here...
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