Trump arrives in Brussels ahead of potentially contentious North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2018

Justin Trudeau says Canada has no plans to double its defence budget, despite calls from U.S. President Donald Trump to do so. And, the prospect of a less-than-committed US has thrown some of Europe's military weaknesses into plain view. "Will they reimburse the USA?"

Britain's summer 2016 referendum saw the leave side prevail by a 52-48 margin - a populist victory combined with Trump's surprise victory in the US presidential race later in the year that sparked upheaval in the global order. Will they reimburse the U.S.?

"You can expect to hear a lot about that - other countries taking on a bigger role and doing more", the official said.

Trump replied, "Well, we do have a lot of allies, but we can not be taken advantage of".

"He's made the 2 percent the only thing he seems to care about", says James Goldgeier, visiting senior fellow at Council on Foreign Relations.

As with many Trump crusades, there's truth to his claims-but more to the story.

All major USA intelligence agencies agree that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election with the aim of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton; special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with such efforts. "Of course, they kill us on trade. We are the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing". "It's much too costly for the U.S". "And that is a change that Europe has a problem to deal with".

Last month, the president even wrote letters to a handful of European countries, urging them to up their defense commitments. He may have had political reasons for tying trade to security: It allowed him to bypass Congress as he imposed the tariffs.

"So I have North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; I have the United Kingdom, which is in somewhat turmoil; and I have Putin", Trump said, referring to meetings he has during his trip to Europe.

Analyst Karlijn Jans of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies said there have been numerous governmental and independent reports "talking about the dire state of especially European militaries - in terms of how they're able to deploy, if they can work together in the battlefield, communicate with each other".

Since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, the country has built up its forces close to Baltic states.

"Disparaging long-standing allies at the same time as talking up the country that has wantonly seized territory and redrawn Europe's borders by military force for the first time since World War Two is disconcerting to say the least", said Boudreau.

"NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations ..."

A senior European Union official lashed out Tuesday at President Donald Trump, lambasting the US leader for his constant criticism of European allies and urging him to remember who is friends are when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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