From the Vault: President Trump's first NATO Summit

Republicans once ran on protecting Americans from Russia. Then Trump happened

Republicans once ran on protecting Americans from Russia. Then Trump happened

Kissinger Associates political consultant Thomas Graham told Kommersant that Putin might be willing to acknowledge that nonstate actors from Russian Federation were involved in the 2016 election. He also surprised many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders by urging them to focus on illegal immigration.

"But we can not be taken advantage of", Trump added.

Mr Trump has been accused of not really understanding the funding.

NATO's European allies have spent more on defense for a second consecutive year in 2017, but the majority of them still failed to meet the target of spending two percent of their GDP on defense. Infographic from PA Graphics.

"The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent's economy, including Germany's, are doing well and security challenges abound".

As you might expect of the world's only military superpower, the United States pays more than others.

In contrast, the United States spends 3.5% of GDP on its military.

Numerous same nations that failed to contribute more to the collective defense agreement have simultaneously grown their respective social welfare and migration programs. Mr Trump wants the nations to contribute 2 per cent of gross domestic product by 2024. "This is the fourth year in a row when defence spending is increasing". "This is not fair, nor is it acceptable". Four European members - Germany, France, Britain and Italy - combined pay 43.8 percent of the total.

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The NATO secretary general has told Sky News he is confident the alliance will "stand united". "Unfortunately, this motion has become necessary because some of our closest allies have come to question the USA commitment to collective self-defense".

He added that European soldiers had fought alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan, commenting that "870 courageous European men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland, Poland".

Why does this matter now?

Mr Stoltenberg was careful not to provoke the USA president ahead of a potentially testy meeting. The US, Trump stressed, was no longer going to be "the schmucks paying for the whole thing". "We are moving in the right direction".

He could withdraw U.S. troops from Europe.

But a Europe that better defends itself and buys more American gas gives Trump another advantage because it makes Europe more resilient militarily and less dependent on Russian gas. The budget for the European Deterrence Initiative, put in place after the Russian actions in Ukraine, nearly tripled between 2016 and 2017 and is expected to reach over $6.5 billion by 2019. Putin has already shown he is prepared to use military force on his neighbours, invading the Ukraine to annex Crimea in 2014.

What has been the reaction?

Trump said he may meet now-former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, whom he considered a good friend.

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