Trump pushes allies for immediate military spending increase

Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are on sale in the Ruslania book store in Helsinki on July 9

Trump, who has long criticised Berlin for not spending enough on NATO's mutual defence and for alleged unfair trade practices noted Germany's "tremendous success".

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to increase military spending, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and even raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense as required if they were ever attacked.

In recent months Trump has repeatedly launched invective at America´s partners in the Atlantic alliance, a cornerstone of European security since World War II, accusing them of freeloading on the U.S. for defense.

"We should first get to 2 pct", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target, while others had a plan to do - turning a leaf on years of defense budget cuts.

Donald Trump hit a big nerve with his attack on the Russian gas pipeline that bypasses Poland and other east European countries to supply Germany directly.

In reality, each country determines its own level of military spending, said Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council for Global Affairs and the former USA ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation under former President Barack Obama.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russian Federation because they'll be getting 60 to 70% of their energy from Russian Federation and a new pipeline", Trump told Stoltenberg. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany.

Stoltenberg estimated European allies and Canada will add $266 billion to their military spending by 2024 and said, "this is really adding some extra momentum", apparently meaning Trump's pressure.

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That means that if Trump really wants to pull out of US commitments here, he's going to have to take several steps.

"I'm not ready to say Trump is a Russian agent", Colbert continued, "but I have an agent and he doesn't do as much for me as Trump does for Russia". During the plenary session, he suddenly called on fellow alliance members to spend 4 percent of GDP on defense, rather than the agreed-upon 2 percent.

Berlin has given political support to the building of a new, $11-billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, despite qualms among other European Union states.

Government insiders hope that Trump's swift condemnation of the Salisbury attack - alongside Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and May - as well as the US's expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in the aftermath, indicate he will be supportive of the UK's firm stance on Russia.

Stoltenberg said he expected a "open and frank" debate about defence spending at the summit but tried to play down the differences opening up between allies.

"I have great confidence they'll be spending more", he said. But the figure is far short of what Trump demanded, with only a handful of the allies meeting their commitment.

'President Trump, who spoke first, raised the issue not only to achieve 2 percent, today, but a new barrier - 4 percent, ' Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told reporters, according to the wire service Reuters. The primary way to do this, is for each nation to increase their defense budget to two percent of their respective GDPs.

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