Trump blasts Germany at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit over gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation

Clay Curtis
July 12, 2018

"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", she said.

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

The president says it's "inappropriate" that the United States is investing in European defense against Russian Federation while Germany, the EU's largest economy, is working on major energy deals with Moscow. According to Stoltenberg, eight countries would meet the 2 percent target this year and a "majority" put forward plans to do so by 2020 - compared to only three countries who were meeting the commitment in 2014.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he added, saying he had raised his concerns about a new gas pipeline planned from Russian Federation to Germany. "But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they'd up it or wanted to get involved", Trump said.

In 2017, the United States spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on defense, while Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom stand as the only countries which have crossed the two percent threshold. Germany is a rich country, they talk about increasing it a tiny bit by 2030.

"I'm very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany, and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions - and that's very good".

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HORSLEY: We don't know what the two leaders said to one another behind closed doors, but in public, when they did their photo op for the news media, it was generally polite. But Mr. Trump's claim that Germany is "a captive of Russia" is manifestly false.

Alluding to Trump's comments about Germany, Kerry also said that "European energy security is an important topic for allies to discuss, even when they disagree". As cameras left the room, Trump assured reporters his tough tone will encourage North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to pony up: "I have great confidence they'll spend more".

Asked at a news conference about Trump's demands on defence spending, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested that the focus should be on getting every member country to reach the current goal of 2 per cent.

Any such increase would be almost impossible for smaller countries in Europe to achieve, and it is not clear that the capitals of Europe could muster the public or political support for such breathtaking increases in defense spending.

"It's very important that we have these exchanges together because we are partners, we are good partners and we wish to continue to cooperate in the future", she told reporters. Opponents state that Trump is furthering Putin's agenda to break up the Western alliance.

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