Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Kay Bailey Hutchison says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members 'making progress' on increasing defense spending

NATO Braces For Trump, White House Says Business As Usual German Officials, Trump Exchange Criticism Ahead Of NATO Summit
Melinda Barton | 09 July, 2018, 14:58

It comes as nations, especially in Eastern Europe, are lobbying the United States to increase the number of troops on the continent as they worry about combating an increasingly aggressive Russian Federation. The "Trump Not Welcome" march and a companion concert come as European and North American leaders prepare for an annual summit at NATO's Brussels headquarters.

"They are scared to death", former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told McClatchy.

"They are very cold-blooded, calculating", Blunt added. Trump said Washington allocates about 4 percent of USA economic output to defense spending while Germany has set a goal of 1.5 percent.

With the established global order on shaky footing, President Donald Trump's weeklong trip to Europe will test already strained bonds with some of the United States' closest allies, then put him face to face with the leader of the country whose electoral interference was meant to help put him in office. "Change is Coming!" Trump said on Twitter in June in posts that specifically called out Germany.

"The main concern is he will spend much of the time berating them on not spending enough on defense" before having "a love fest with Putin, like he did with Chairman Kim", Goldgeier said.

Regional experts have questioned the success of the Trump-Kim meeting, in which the president agreed to suspend USA military exercises with South Korea but appeared to get little in return. Last month, he abruptly refused to sign a joint statement with the G-7, the world's largest economies, following a meeting in Canada. "But right now, we have sanctions against Russian Federation due to their malign influence and the things they're doing that are very disruptive - trying to divide our alliance", Hutchison told "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "It would weaken the alliance and provide new opportunities for countries like Russian Federation to take advantage of that".

Many U.S. troops are there to do more than protect those countries.

"And we are the schmucks who pay for the whole thing", he said, using a slang term for "fools".

The ties between the US and many of its longest-standing allies have frayed since Trump took office and put his "America first" agenda into practice. Estimated 2017 defense spending as a percentage of GDP was 1.2% in Germany, Europe's biggest economy.

Speaking in the run-up to Saturday's rally, Tsavdaridis argued that the people's anger should not be directed at Trump or any other personalization of power, but rather at the policies championed by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states for years that spark and foment wars.

"That's the question: Is the US security conditional?" asked Heather Conley, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of State in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs for George W. Bush and is now a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

The White House declined to say if and how Trump might punish the countries.

"It does concern me", the Arizona senator told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday.

In recent weeks, Trump suggested withdrawing more than 25,000 USA troops stationed in South Korea after trying to persuade Kim to rid his country of nuclear weapons.