President Trump, setting off for Brussels.
In 18 months in office, he’s not hidden his disdain for international organizations.
In his sights, in recent days, the US is the most important military alliance.
He’s been tweeting about it and he made these comments at a rally last week.
I’ll say NATO, I’m gonna tell NATO,‘You gotta start paying your bills. The United States is not going to take care of everything.’
Last year, on his first trip to NATO, Trump was far from diplomatic.
Here, he pushes past Montenegro’s prime minister.
He denounced allies who’d not met the NATO target to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense.
21 out of the 29 NATO members are still not over this threshold.
Last week, Trump wrote blunt letters to some of his counterparts.
At this year’s meeting, watch carefully, his interactions with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who he called very dishonest and weak after last month’s G7 summit.
But his meeting with another leader could be even more difficult, just listen to him again at last week’s rally.
And I say, you know Angela, I can’t guarentee it, but we are protecting you and means a lot more to you than protecting us cause I don’t know how much protection we get by protecting you.
The partnership between Angela Merkel and President Trump is certainly at a very low ebb at this time.
It remains to be seen exactly what happens at the summit, but I would suspect that Chancellor Merkel is going to challenge Donald Trump on his assertions over defense spending.
She’s very defensive over this issue.
She will point to limited increases in German defense spending.
As leaders arrive here in Brussels, the NATO secretary-general has been making the case forcefully yet diplomatically why the US needs its 28 allies.
NATO is a force multiplier for the United States.
Allies have stood with the United States on battlefields from Korea to Afghanistan.
The Pentagon has reportedly been reviewing US troop numbers in Germany in recent weeks.
The White House has since denied there will be reductions, but some US allies are worried. It’s almost 70 years since the alliance was formed.
The treaty was signed in Washington, never has there been a US president who sent such mixed messages about his commitment to it.