Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Donald Trump's great (and contentious) adventure

Utah Rep. John Curtis recommends a different approach for President Trump in Europe Trump: Nato states to increase defence funding
Ellis Copeland | 13 July, 2018, 18:48

The Kremlin's spokesman said today Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. leader Donald Trump would address reporters after their Helsinki summit next week but were not obliged to make a joint statement.

The US president described himself as a "very stable genius" for securing agreements for extra cash after years of the burden falling on America. Before arriving a half hour late to the final day of meetings on Thursday, Trump tweeted that "the USA pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe", that Germany's oil and gas pipeline with Russian Federation is "not acceptable", and that allies must not only all reach the 2 percent defense spending guideline, but double that to 4 percent.

Trump said he had been "extremely unhappy" with allies' low levels of defense spending before the summit, but was pleased "they have substantially upped their commitment" during a "fantastic" unscheduled crisis meeting on Thursday morning.

Currently, all leaders were in a "confused state" because everyone was wondering what the condition for the four per cent meant, and the extent to which Trump was serious, Radev said.

But, several sources said, Trump instead reopened in strong terms his demand that other countries greatly speed up their progress toward a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation target of spending at least two percent of their GDP on defence, which now has a deadline of 2024 with get-out terms available that can stretch it to 2030.

Some NATO allies had not exactly heard the same conclusions as Trump around the table, and French President Emmanuel Macron immediately poured cold water on Trump's spending ambitions for other allies.

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

Although administration officials point to the long-standing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.

London protests against Donald Trump kick off with 'Trump baby' blimp
With considerable optimism, Treasury chief Philip Hammond said May was looking forward to her talks with the president. Trump said such a deal "will probably kil" any prospect of a US-UK free-trade agreement.


Trump releases 'very nice' letter from Kim Jong Un
But Pyongyang warned that the future of the peace process was being jeopardised by "unilateral and gangster-like" U.S. demands. Although the letter was written less than a week ago, it's not clear where US-North Korean talks stand now.


Police officer resigns ahead of hearing on Puerto Rico shirt incident
But he said the officer considered it "an unfortunate incident" and felt he was not "given a fair shake". As for Trybus, he was released on bond and has a court appearance scheduled on August 1.


Indeed, Trump on Wednesday sought to raise the bar for members' spending, calling for them to double their spending commitments to 4 percent of gross domestic product.

Despite the tensions throughout the summit, Trump and other leaders held a cordial dinner Wednesday night.

After an opening day of summit talks marked by clashes between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO leaders had hoped to focus on policy on Ukraine and Afghanistan.

But I would also encourage the president to exercise caution with Russian Federation - which has proven to be a hostile nation to the United States and our Western allies.

When asked how that conversation might go, Trump said, "He may deny it". The president said Thursday that he views Putin not as a friend or an enemy but as a "competitor" and repeated his desire for better relations with the Kremlin. "I think it's fine", he said. He said it could lead to "something very productive - and maybe it's not".

He did allow, though, that there was "a new sense of urgency" about increasing military spending.

Trump also sought to claim a victory in his news conference on Wednesday, defending his the hard-nose tactics he displayed at the summit, which included accusing Germany of being "totally controlled" and "a captive of Russian Federation".

Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending to relieve pressure on the USA budget. So he says that he has gotten them to commit to move much faster than ever before.

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