On the streets of Berlin, people were just shaking their heads.
"We are investing heavily in the German armed forces and other European countries too, because the armed forces need it". All #NATO allies have committed to extending this success through increased defense spending, deterrence and defense, and fighting terrorism.
Tusk and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members are also concerned about the security implications of Trump's friendly relationship with Putin, who he publicly praises more than his European partners. He recently suggested that his relationship with Putin is "easier" than his relationships with United States allies in Britain and Europe.
In a bid to avoid a row, Stoltenberg replied: "Nato is an alliance of 29 nations and there are sometimes differences..." The United States spends heavily to defend Germany from Russian Federation, he said, while Germany is paying "billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation". "I think that's very inappropriate". But here's the rub: Many of those free rider countries are on track to up their spending to the required 2%, and oh by the way, the USA doesn't even spend 4%.
"So, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries".
"Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back", Trump said at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. He slammed Germany and Russia's ongoing construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will double the amount of natural gas Russian Federation can funnel directly to the heart of Europe when it goes online at the end of next year.
Stoltenberg responded cordially, noting Trump's leadership for bringing the issue of defense spending to the forefront of NATO's agenda.
"We're paying for anywhere from 70 to 90 percent to protect Europe, and that's fine.""Explain that. And it can't be explained, you know that". She did not dispute the Bulgarian president's version of events.
Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled her own youth in Soviet-dominated East Germany and said Germany was independent in its policy choices in a pointed response to Trump saying Berlin was a "totally controlled by Russia". His tone was described by one source as imperious.
On 17 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump is demanding that Germany drop Nord Stream 2 as one of the conditions for a trade deal with Europe that would not include high tariffs on steel and aluminium.
"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond.
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