WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump’s four-nation European tour has allies fretting over the chance of harm he may do to the decades-old NATO alliance. They’re additionally fearful about his potential embrace of Russia’s Vladimir Putin throughout a summit in Helsinki.
The journey that begins Tuesday in Brussels can even take Trump to London, the place Prime Minister Theresa Might’s authorities is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union.
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Trump has been urgent NATO international locations to fulfil their aim of spending 2 per cent of their gross home merchandise on defence by 2024. Throughout his presidential marketing campaign, he instructed he would possibly solely come to the defence of NATO nations that fulfilled their obligation. He continues to criticize NATO international locations for not paying their justifiable share.
European Council President Donald Tusk mentioned on Tuesday in a message to Trump that “it’s at all times price realizing who’s your strategic buddy and who’s your strategic downside.” Tusk recalled that the Europeans are spending greater than Russia and as a lot as China on defence. NATO estimates that 15 members, or simply over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based mostly on present tendencies.
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“On the brink of go away for Europe. First assembly – NATO. The U.S. is spending many instances greater than another nation in an effort to defend them,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, including: “Not truthful to the U.S. taxpayer. On prime of that we lose $151 Billion on Commerce with the European Union. Cost us massive Tariffs (& Limitations)!”
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On Monday he’d tweeted the scenario was “not truthful, neither is it acceptable,” and insisted that NATO advantages Europe “way over it does the U.S.”
He added: “NATO international locations should pay MORE, the USA should pay LESS. Very Unfair!”
Trump, who has in contrast the sentiment that underpinned the Brexit vote to depart the EU to his personal election, will probably be making his maiden presidential journey to Britain at a fraught time for Might. Overseas Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned inside hours of one another in protest of her plan.
Trump’s go to is predicted to draw giant protests in London and elsewhere in Britain.
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Trump’s weeklong journey to Europe will proceed with a cease in Scotland earlier than ending with a sit-down in Helsinki with Putin, whose nation the U.S. intelligence group has concluded interfered within the 2016 election to assist Trump win.
The assembly will probably be intently watched to see whether or not Trump will rebuke or embrace Putin, who has repeatedly denied the allegations of election meddling, despite proof on the contrary.
Lemire reported from New York.