clear
Sunday November 18th, 2018 11:33AM

Trump's claims progress at NATO but specifics scant

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BRUSSELS (AP) — In a chaotic 28 hours at NATO, President Donald Trump disparaged longtime allies, cast doubt on his commitment to the mutual-defense organization and sent the 29-member pact into frenzied emergency session. Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, on Thursday he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had caved to his demands to speed up increases in military spending.

Trump claimed member nations had agreed to significantly boost their defense budgets and reaffirmed — after days of griping that the U.S. was being taken advantage of by its allies — that the U.S. remains faithful to the accord. "The United States' commitment to NATO remains very strong," Trump told reporters at a surprise news conference following an emergency session of NATO members held to address his threats.

There were no immediate specifics on what Trump said he had achieved, and French President Emmanuel Macron quickly disputed Trump's claim that NATO allies had agreed to boost defense spending beyond their existing goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2024.

"There is a communique that was published yesterday. It's very detailed," Macron said. "It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That's all."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the leaders had agreed "that we need to deliver on our commitments. There's new sense of urgency, and all allies agreed to redouble their efforts."

"This is about making sure that we deliver on our commitments and that we continue to add more billions to our defense budgets," he said.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed Germany was already working to increase its spending before Trump's push.

"I made clear that we know that we have to do more and that we have been doing so for quite a while," she said. "That turning point has long been initiated."

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the U.S. and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were attacked.

Trump said he made his anger clear to allies on Wednesday.

"Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening," Trump said, adding that, in response, European countries agreed to boost their spending.

"They have substantially upped their commitment and now we're very happy and have a very, very powerful, very, very strong NATO," he said.

Painting a rosy portrait before he left Brussels, Trump added: "I can you tell you that NATO now is a really a fine-tuned machine. People are paying money that they never paid before. They're happy to do it. And the United States is being treated much more fairly.

With that, Trump moved on to the United Kingdom, where significant protests against him were expected. Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, the center of the protests.

Instead, a series of events — a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II — will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

Trump brushed off the protests, saying, "I think they like me a lot in the U.K. I think they agree with me on immigration. I'm very strong on immigration."

At NATO, Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans. He suggested an accelerated timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip." That would mark a significant milestone for the alliance.

"Some are at 2 percent, others have agreed definitely to go to 2 percent, and some are going back to get the approval, and which they will get to go to 2 percent," he said.

U.S. leaders for decades have pushed NATO allies to spend more on defense in an effort to more equitably share the collective defense burden.

NATO countries in 2014 set a goal of moving toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense within 10 years. NATO has estimated that only 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.

Macron, in his own news conference, seemed to reject Trump's claim that NATO powers had agreed to increases beyond previous targets. He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 percent by 2024 and no more.

The emergency session came amid reports that Trump had threatened to leave the pact if allies didn't immediately up their spending. Officials said no explicit threat was made.

"President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO," Macron said.

Still, Trump confirmed the fears of NATO officials and allies as he sent the carefully orchestrated summit into chaos. On Thursday, Trump arrived late to the official meetings, missed scheduled sit-downs with two allies on the margins of the summit, and skipped part of a session on the NATO mission in Afghanistan to hold the impromptu news conference.

Trump had taken an aggressive tone during the summit, questioning the value of an alliance that has defined decades of American foreign policy, torching an ally and proposing a massive increase in European defense spending.

Earlier Thursday, Trump called out U.S. allies on Twitter, saying, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia."

He complained the United States "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that member nations reach their goal to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Trump on Wednesday also turned a harsh spotlight on Germany's own ties to Russia, alleging that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russia.

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that "Germany just started paying Russia, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russia."

"Not acceptable!" he railed before arriving late at NATO headquarters.

___

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Darlene Superville and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.

___

Follow Colvin and Lemire on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/JonLemire

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Serena Williams nears 8th Wimbledon title, 24th Slam overall
'It's crazy': Serena Williams nears 8th Wimbledon final with routine win over Julia Goerges
1:54PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Trump's claims progress at NATO but specifics scant
Trump reaffirms commitment to the NATO alliance after he says members caved to his demands by making significant commitments to increasing defense spending
1:54PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Player-coach bond may have saved lives in Thai cave ordeal
Some of the lessons of the playing field _ try your hardest, support your teammates, trust your coach _ may have helped save the lives of the 12 youth soccer players rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand
1:36PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Attorney: Charges dropped against Stormy Daniels
The attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels says prosecutors have dropped all charges against her following her overnight arrest at an Ohio adult club
1:16PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Florida gun, mental laws couldn't have stopped massacre
The sheriff overseeing an investigation into the Florida school massacre says the state's mental health evaluation law would not have prevented suspect Nikolas Cruz from buying guns
1:03PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Syrian government raises its flag over cradle of 2011 revolt
The Syrian government has raised its flag over Daraa, the first city to revolt against President Bashar Assad in 2011 and plunge the country into its calamitous civil war
1:01PM ( 58 minutes ago )
AP National News
Underdog status suits Croatia perfectly for World Cup final
A billion-dollar assembly of stars makes France the favorite for the World Cup final and that's a scenario that suits Dejan Lovren just fine
11:41AM ( 2 hours ago )
Government probing "new information" in Emmett Till slaying
The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till, a black teenager whose brutal killing in Mississippi shocked the world more than 60 years ago
11:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
Sparse details on Iowa plans that bypass Obama's health law
An Iowa law approved this spring in the Republican-controlled Legislature would allow the conservative and politically powerful Iowa Farm Bureau to offer health plans that skirt requirements of the Affordable Care Act
11:21AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Strong 2Q at Delta, but soaring fuel costs dim 2018 outlook
Delta Air Lines tops expectations for second-quarter profit, but rising fuel prices prompt a dimmer outlook for the full year
1:08PM ( 52 minutes ago )
The Latest: Sandra Oh's Emmy nomination makes history
The Latest: Sandra Oh makes Emmys history as first actress of Asian descent to get Emmy nomination in leading drama actress category
12:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
Technology companies lead US stock indexes higher
US technology companies are leading the market higher as stocks recover a piece of the steep losses they took the day before
12:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Trade war fears a clear concern of European bank officials
Top officials at the European Central Bank expressed confidence at their last policy meeting that the eurozone economy remains "broadly on track"
10:27AM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump's claim that NATO will boost defense spending disputed
Trump reaffirms commitment to the NATO alliance after he says members caved to his demands by making significant commitments to increasing defense spending
9:32AM ( 4 hours ago )
US inflation reaches 2.9 percent in June, highest in 6 years
US consumer prices rise in June from year ago at fastest pace in 6 years
9:18AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
NATO holds emergency session as Trump presses on spending
NATO leaders hold emergency session amid demands from President Donald Trump that member nations dramatically increase their defense spending.
6:19AM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump to make statement at NATO summit
President Donald Trump plans to make a statement at the NATO summit in Brussels
6:11AM ( 7 hours ago )
Trump back at NATO after rattling allies, condemning Germany
President Donald Trump is attending a second day of NATO meetings as he continues to press member nations over their defense spending
5:46AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Serena Williams nears 8th Wimbledon title, 24th Slam overall
'It's crazy': Serena Williams nears 8th Wimbledon final with routine win over Julia Goerges
1:54PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Player-coach bond may have saved lives in Thai cave ordeal
Some of the lessons of the playing field _ try your hardest, support your teammates, trust your coach _ may have helped save the lives of the 12 youth soccer players rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand
1:36PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Image issue: Papa John's still tied to founder who resigned
Papa John's founder John Schnatter is no longer CEO or chairman, but his image is still in the center of the company's logo and he owns nearly a third of the company
1:36PM ( 24 minutes ago )
FBI agent angrily rejects charges of bias at chaotic hearing
An FBI agent whose anti-Trump text messages fueled suspicions of partisan bias said at a bitterly contentious and occasionally chaotic hearing in Congress that his work has never been tainted by politics
1:32PM ( 27 minutes ago )
The Latest: Man accused of mailing explosives not competent
A federal judge ruled Thursday that a Washington state man accused of mailing explosive devices to government agencies is not competent to participate in his court case and help in his defense
1:32PM ( 27 minutes ago )