Germany's Angela Merkel talks up North Atlantic Treaty Organisation role and military spending

Pauline Gross
July 9, 2018

"In fact, Putin went as far as telling the President that the 'deep state" is conspiring against them both.

The Pentagon is already reviewing the impact of withdrawing some of the 35,000 active-duty American troops in Germany, The Washington Post reported last month.

The top German officials expressed their frank criticism in interviews with media published on July 6, one day after Trump told a rally of supporters that Americans have been "schmucks" for paying a large share of Germany's and NATO's defense bills.

"The president was willing to offer concessions to Kim without getting anything specific or concrete in return", said Jeffrey Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade". Trump asked Putin in a November phone call, according to one senior official.

Congress is likely to oppose troop withdrawals and could pass legislation to prevent Trump from using money to move the military.

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U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison says member states are "making progress" to increase defense spending at the urging of President Trump. "Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S.is paying for 90% of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment".

Erik Brattberg of the Carnegie Endowment's Europe program, anxious that criticizing Europeans weakens alliances and provides "new opportunities for countries like Russian Federation to take advantage of that". Estimated 2017 defense spending as a percentage of GDP was 1.2% in Germany, Europe's biggest economy. He has pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement as well as the Iran nuclear deal, slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and threatened additional tariffs on products like automobiles.

Separately, the USA envoy said she's concerned that Russian Federation is trying to "flip" Turkey and other American allies to its column.

But despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has maintained tactical support for Europe, having sent military equipment, participated in regional exercises, and signed defense agreements with Finland and Sweden.

Poland, Romania and the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been asking the US for additional troops for several years.

FILE PHOTO: National flags of Ukraine and the USA fly at a compound of a police training base outside Kiev, Ukraine May 6, 2016. "And that's fine. Of course, they kill us on trade". In addition to plotting global policy together, Putin and Trump have often commiserated with one another over both the "deep state" and "fake news, ' according to one senior official".

Other reports by GizPress

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