Trump lashes out at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders over defense spending

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit

"Well, they could increase it immediately - tomorrow - and have no problem", he said of Germany. "The United States is paying far too much and other countries are not paying enough".

But Trump's increasingly vitriolic tone on those issues, plus his criticism of Merkel's migration policies and his decisions to pull out of agreements dear to Germany like the deal meant to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and the Paris climate accord, have many questioning what comes next.

US officials have told Reuters that Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war.

"What we have here is an alliance of necessity, not necessarily a love relationship", said Gienow-Hecht, whose university was established with American support in West Berlin during the Cold War. "And yet, we're paying a lot of money to protect ..." The gas pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany is one issue where allies disagree. But Europeans have even more significantly cut their defense spending, and become more tentative about the use of military force.

TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood has more.

Trump was due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the summit later in the day and will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

Arriving in Brussels, he said it was "totally inappropriate" that Germany was paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation for oil and gas while spending little over 1% of its GDP on defence. In an informal proposal, he suggested each member state provide spending equal to 4% of GDP.

Others say quality is just as important as quantity. "Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?" "I think that is very inappropriate", Trump said. He said Canada shouldn't ignore the "aspirational" two per cent target entirely, but there are other ways to assess its contribution.

"I understand the need to have a number there, you need to put a stake in the sand somewhere, but it doesn't tell the whole picture".

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"It's all about capability". It's true that if the overall defense budgets of all 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are tallied, the US defense budget accounts for about two-thirds of that total. "The two per cent is just one of the ways you can look at it".

Germany indeed devotes only about 1.25 percent of its GDP to defense.

"You know, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France".

Robertson said he has sympathy for the government's argument.

The exchange was part of an uncomfortable day as anxious Western allies were subjected to the USA president's "America first" approach.

A recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading Washington-based think tank, also sought to challenge the tunnel-vision focus on the two per cent target.

Stoltenberg agreed there should be more done to prompt allies to invest more in their defense.

Trump also is expected to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Typically, when people are "involved in a persuasive effort together", those in nonspeaking roles will gaze at the person who is talking, occasionally nod to reinforce what they are saying and then look at those on the opposite side of the table to convey a sense of unity, Civiello said.

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