U.S. President Donald Trump talks tough to NATO allies. At his first NATO summit in Brussels, the U.S. President told member states to ‘pay up’ for defense.
CGTN’s Kevin Ozebek reports from NATO headquarters.
Trump talks tough to allies at NATO summit in BrusselsU.S. President Donald Trump talks tough to NATO allies. At his first NATO summit in Brussels, the U.S. President told member states to 'pay up' for defense. CGTN's Kevin Ozebek reports from NATO headquarters.
President Trump arrived at the brand new NATO headquarters and was quick to criticize.
“NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” President Trump said. “And I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost. I refuse to do that. But it is beautiful.”
President Trump doesn’t want to know the price tag because how NATO allies spend their money has been one of his consistent complaints.
Out of NATO’s 28 members, only the U.S. and four others meet the alliance’s defense spending targets.
And while the president’s persistence on this issue irks some European allies, NATO’s Secretary General agreed members must spend more with terrorism being a worldwide threat.
“Several NATO allies also expressed that we have to invest in defense not just to please the United States, but we have to invest because it is in our interest to do so,” Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO said.
Earlier, the president briefly met with the European Union’s top brass. Handshakes and smiles were exchanged, but serious differences now exist between leaders of the U.S and EU.
“I’m not 100 percent sure we can say today- we, meaning the president and myself- that we have a common position, common opinion about Russia,” Donald Tusk, president of the European Council said.
Because of President Trump’s past praise of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, and his tough talk on migrants and minorities, protesters were out in mass when he arrived in Brussels.
But those who study the long-time bond between America and Europe said even the unconventional Trump presidency can’t break that transatlantic tie.
“There is a high degree of unpredictability here for sure. There’s a lot of the relationship, whether its business or security, and it’s not going away no matter who is president,” says Ian Lesser of the German Marshall Foundation, an American public policy think tank.
So despite disagreements with some European leaders, and disdain from some in the European public, strong ties with the U.S. are likely to continue.
Some of the discussions President Trump had in Brussels will follow him to his next stop: Sicily. He’s finishing his foreign tour there at the G7 meeting. G7 leaders are sure to talk more about relations with Russia, and how President Trump’s “America First” stance is reshaping U.S. foreign policy.