NATO summit: Trump says Germany is 'captive' to Russia

Cheryl Sanders
July 11, 2018

United States President Donald Trump claimed a pipeline project has made Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" during a combative breakfast that kicked off what was already expected to be a fraught North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many", Tusk said, before reminding Trump that European troops had come to America's aid following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

"The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. It's very unfair to our taxpayers". The meeting, which will be held today and tomorrow at NATO's new headquarters building in Brussels, is Erdoğan's first worldwide summit after taking office for a new five-year term as president.

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would double the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany, skirting transit countries such as Ukraine.

But a Europe that better defends itself and buys more American gas gives Trump another advantage because it makes Europe more resilient militarily and less dependent on Russian gas.

She said it showed Britain's "steadfast commitment" to the alliance and how it can rely on the UK. "And, we're going to make it fair, so that will be it".

Trump has called on allied countries to meet or exceed the 2014 Wales summit goal of spending 2 percent GDP on defense spending.

"They will spend more", he later predicted. Trump said as he unloaded on Stoltenberg. So I think the secretary-general likes Trump. "He may be the only one, but that's OK with me", he said.

Trump alarmed allies during a visit to Brussels a year ago when he did not specifically mention U.S. backing for Article 5, but aides said later that United States support was assumed and did not have to be mentioned. But we can not be taken advantage of. "Will they reimburse the U.S.?" he wrote on Twitter.

US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of strengthening the alliance ahead of Trump's visit - indicating some cognitive dissonance with the President. But Trump countered by saying the arrangement puts the United States at a disadvantage, pointing to the measly share of gross domestic product (GDP) that most members spend on defense.

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Tusk said "Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many".

Asked by a reporter whether Putin was a "a friend or foe", Trump responded: "I really can't say right now. As far as I'm concerned, a competitor - a competitor". "I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, is a good thing".

Trump said: "We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries".

Italy's new populist government lines up squarely with Mr. Trump on a range of issues, including a firm stance to stop the mass immigration that is vexing Europe. Trump's first words signalled this one is not going to be like this.

Even before he set off for Europe, the US President had warmed up with a Twitter barrage claiming the rest of the defence alliance were "delinquent" in their contribution. "Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem", Trump said.

"I think we can cope with it", von der Leyen said.

Trump interjected, asking Stoltenberg why he thought that had happened.

She added that "Trump is also bringing Putin a "little" present-why 'little, ' I don't know".

At issue, the disparity in defense spending; Kevin Corke reports from Brussels, Belgium.

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