Trump says he'll bring up election meddling with Putin

US to review Afghanistan strategy after discouraging year

The United States is preparing to undertake a review of its strategy in Afghanistan, US officials told Reuters, a year after President Donald Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend America's involvement in the 17-year-old war after the announcement of his South Asia strategy.

And while all member nations have agreed, in principle, to work toward the 2 percent spending goal, each country is ultimately beholden to unique political processes and must consult with their respective parliaments to secure increased military spending.

Dr. Claudia Major, a researcher at the German Institute for International Security affairs, said that Germany, in particular, does more for the alliance than spend on its own defense, including deploying troops to Afghanistan, "and eventually, two percent is an arbitrary measurement that does not say much about efficiency and output".

Several diplomats and officials said, however, that his undiplomatic intervention - including pointing at other leaders and addressing Merkel as "you, Angela" - had irritated many. Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, on Thursday he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he addresses a press conference on the second day of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Brussels.

"But Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Trump added.

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He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that, "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation". Flake questioned why the two were meeting without staff, noting that the "world seems to be hanging in the balance". We have a tremendous relationship with Germany.

Trump has vented over the lack of progress in Afghanistan, other officials say. It would also be a boon to Russian Federation and its leader, Vladimir Putin, whom Trump will meet on Monday in Helsinki.

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In a tweet today after a day of meetings, in which he lashed out at allies for insufficient defense spending, Trump calls on member nations to immediately boost spending. And it comes just days before Trump sits down with Putin at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip. Last year, he authorized the deployment of an additional 3,000 USA troops, bringing the total to around 15,000.

Trump has described the spending situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop a year ago".

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