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Trump Presses Germany Spending and EU Trade Deficit Ahead of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Trump Presses Germany Spending and EU Trade Deficit Ahead of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

"I think the president will encourage Vladimir Putin to start changing their behavior to be - we'd like for Russian Federation to be an ally a trading partner". That approach has raised the stakes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gathering for Mr. Trump.

Trump has taken aim at European Union trade practices before. They're supporting a Syrian dictator who is using chemical weapons on his own people to kill even children and it's just on and on and on.

The Russian president complains to Trump about "fake news" and laments that the US foreign policy establishment - the "deep state", in Putin's words - is conspiring against them, the first senior USA official said.

In the past few weeks, Trump has sent sharply worded letters to the leaders of several European countries, including Germany, Italy and Norway, as well as to Canada, urging increased defense spending and warning that the USA was losing patience.

Through all this has run a thread of accusations, strangely enough by the very liberals who for decades insisted US leaders needed to work more closely with Moscow, that Trump should be actively unfriendly toward Putin. Most economists agree that China's trade policies are indeed unfair - and that Trump's tariffs, crude and unwieldy instruments, are far more likely to end up hurting American workers than helping them.

President Donald Trump's European summer swing will be bookended by summits that form a microcosm of his contrarian presidency.

Member countries are anxious that Trump will spurn them and threaten to unravel the organization, their fears stemming from the G7 meeting last month.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Friday told Bloomberg TV that the summit must show unity, warning that "our opponents would be delighted if there is a division in NATO".

But in March, NATO said that only four nations met that guideline in 2017: the USA (3.57 percent), Greece (2.36 percent), Britain (2.12 percent) and Estonia (2.08 percent). Still, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a weekly podcast Saturday, said Germany would increase defense spending in its 2019 budget, suggesting that Trump's complaints are paying off. "It's not as much as 2 percent yet, but I think they will recommit more to do more because they realize that Europe does need to do more and they are the strongest of the economies in Europe", Hutchison added.

So everyone knows what to expect come Wednesday and Thursday, when Trump and his NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison (who thinks the president is hitting it out of the park, of course) will join our global security allies.

-With assistance from Tony Capaccio, Richard Bravo and Nikos Chrysoloras.