In the photo were: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump, and British Prime Minister Theresa May. While Trump was expected to present his complaints that NATO’s member nations don’t contribute enough and make the US cover the defense bill, he ended up going on a tangent over this global “delinquency”, and he also slammed the Germans over their energy dealings with Russian Federation.
The attack on the Skripals was an example of a growing disregard for “the norms and laws that help to keep us safe”, she said, and undermined her vision for a rules-based global order. The station is part of NATO’s anti-missile shield for Europe. Hours after arriving at the summit, Trump delivered blistering criticisms of key USA allies and insisted that Washington was bearing an unfair share of Europe’s defense costs.
That brings us to Trump’s tweet, so all in all, it looks like we’re right back where we started when the day began.
Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in “very direct language” but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO’s resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.
TRUMP: “You know, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France”.
During a working breakfast that marked the start of the summit, Trump claimed Germany is “controlled” by Russian Federation due to an energy partnership between the two countries. Germany’s leadership has said the pipeline is a private business decision and they have been reluctant to interfere.
Merkel, for her part, called the two nations “good partners” and said “we wish to continue to co-operate in the future”. “Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions”. The pair was speaking in front of reporters at a breakfast meeting before today’s North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels.
Trump’s moodiness, along with his unpredictability and often-treacherous behavior towards his allies, makes clear that he views military security as a commodity that can be sold.
In recent months Trump has repeatedly launched invective at America´s partners in the Atlantic alliance, a cornerstone of European security since World War II, accusing them of freeloading on the United States for defense.
Of course, it’s impossible to say exactly what was going through the minds of Trump’s aides. Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung headlined its story: “It is not only bad, it is catastrophic”.
“The former chancellor of Germany is head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas”, Mr. Trump said.
The Kremlin hopes to increase the dependence of Germany and Western Europe on Russian gas while depriving Ukraine and other inconvenient states of the transit fees Russia must pay to use current pipelines.
Trump has promoted exports of USA natural gas to Europe as an alternative to Russian Federation as a supply source, although US gas is far more costly because of the expense of shipping it.
When it was her turn to address reporters in the room for the meeting with Trump, Merkel made no similar declaration about her relationship with Trump.
The two barely looked at each other during the few minutes journalists were allowed in the room.