Trump emerged declaring continued commitment to a Western alliance built on U.S. military might that has stood up to Moscow since World War II.
NATO leaders at the opening ceremony for the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. The episode was so cringe-inducing, even Trump's own staff was trying to pretend they were anywhere else.
"I made clear that we know that we have to do more and that we have been doing so for quite a while".
Trump may not count that as a contribution to the GDP goal, Hodges said - but that just shows that spending isn't the only yardstick for measuring the alliance's success. "That is, are we really committed to the same goals and to the future of the organization?"
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Trump's comment that Germany was controlled by Russian Federation earned a rebuke from Berlin. The U.S. share of that is capped at 22 percent. The new communique says 24 allies will meet the 20% guideline by 2024.
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 defence spending. Trump offered Thursday that "people have stepped up today like they've never stepped up before". Trump has repeatedly denounced low levels of defense spending among remaining members, particularly Germany.
At present, not even the United States spends 4% of GDP on defense with only five - USA, UK, Estonia, Poland, and Greece - out of NATO's 29 members now meeting the agreed defense spending target of 2% GDP set for countries to meet by 2024 in accordance with a 2014 agreement.
"For Nato to be sustainable and successful, all countries need to step up to the plate". "That was not on Trump's watch", he said.
What did President Trump say?
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Following the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was careful not to contradict the president's claim of a substantial increase in spending but was only able to directly point to members' existing 2 percent commitments.
"I made clear that we are on this path", she said, a day after having to challenge Trump's suggestion German imports of Russian gas meant that her country was "totally controlled by Russia". "It's very detailed", the Associated Press quoted Macron as saying.
That would represent a massive upheaval of budgetary priorities in Europe where Germany and many others have pledged only to reach 2 percent by 2024 or later, the report noted.
Trump last week told senior aides he was going to make threats about defense spending and that he was determined to flip the table over before he left, a senior administration official said ahead of Thursday's drama, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive summit planning. But I said, ultimately we should be - in years in advance, we should be at 4 percent. "The additional money they will be putting up has been really awesome".
German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump's contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the US gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.
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Military personnel from member states stand to attention during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit at the military and political alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. As to whether he could unilaterally pull the US out of the alliance without congressional approval, Trump said, "I think I probably can, but that's not necessary".