Trump rattles North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, knocking its value and assailing Germany

Trump rattles North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, knocking its value and assailing Germany

The Reuters sources said Mr. Trump did not go as far as to threaten to pull the United States out of the transatlantic defense alliance - as some European organizations reported - but officials told the Associated Press that his demands for increased national defense spending were enough to prompt North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials to declare an emergency session in Brussels on Thursday.

GETTYThe US President said the other members have agreed an unprecedented increase in defence spending.

He also said he thought spending of 4 percent on defense - similar to the USA level - would be the right level.

Trump had pushed for an increase to 4 percent - about what the USA spends. But, several sources said, Trump instead reopened in strong terms his demand that other countries spend more immediately.

Trump also singled out Germany over its low-levels of defense spending - it now spends 1.24 percent of its GDP on defense - and renewed his criticism of a controversial gas pipeline deal between Germany and Russian Federation made a day earlier.

"The problem is Trump seems to really see no benefit that allies provide the United States", says James Goldgeier, visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Some fear Trump, who has often voiced admiration for the Russian leader, could make a bargain with the Kremlin that could sacrifice the security needs of the region, such as acknowledging Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

"The clear message from President Trump is having an impact", he said.

Asked about pressures on countries with weaker finances, he said, "We have many wealthy countries with us today but we have some that aren't so wealthy and they did ask me if they could buy the military equipment, and could I help them out, and we will help them out a little bit", he told a news conference.

One official said the morning meeting Thursday was taking place against the backdrop of Trump threatening allies to "go it alone" unless if they agree to increase their defense budgets immediately.

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French President Emmanuel Macron was more straightforward.

According to CNN, he said: "I told people that I would be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments very substantially".

Macron said France, which previous year spent 1.8 percent on defence, would meet the target by the 2024 deadline. He added that Putin was "not my enemy" and "hopefully, someday, he'll be a friend".

Though NATO allies have squabbled in the past, Trump seemed to be leaving in his wake not just bruised feelings, but deeper concerns about the future of the Western alliance that has served as a bedrock of the worldwide order.

"Secretary Stoltenberg gives us total credit, meaning me, I guess, in this case, total credit".

Sen. John McCain issued a stern warning Thursday to President Trump in advance of his summit with Vladimir Putin, saying that it would be "a serious indictment" of Trump's leadership if he does not hold the Russian leader accountable on a range of actions.

In 2011, when the United States was still heavily involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, defence spending was at 4.78% of GDP.

Officials said that non-members of the alliance had been asked to leave the room early Thursday and that everyone in the room had been told to leave their phones outside.

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