Trump takes a bold stance before NATO while the political trial boils at home

LONDON (AP) - Hitting his chest on the world stage while facing a political trial investigation at his home, President Donald On Tuesday he claimed the credit for transforming NATO when the military alliance celebrates its 70th anniversary. But he also confronted NATO allies in the United States, especially French President Emmanuel Macron, about defense spending and the mission of the alliance. Trump began the first of two days at the NATO conference by publicly reprimanding Macron, once possibly his closest European ally, for saying recently that the post-World War II alliance was experiencing brain death as a result of the US leadership decline under Trump. I think that is insulting to many different forces, Trump said. It is very disrespectful. But the president himself has questioned whether the alliance has become obsolete, and once again accused NATO members of evading national commitments on military spending. Hours later, Macron and Trump sat side by side for a media session, and Macron said he supported his comments on the health of the NATO alliance. He also strongly expressed his frustration because Trump withdrew hundreds of US troops from Syria in October. The president of the USA UU. He talked to reporters for more than two hours on Tuesday, sitting casually in a room at Winfield House, the careful state of the US ambassador. UU. In the United Kingdom, where he also met with other NATO leaders. He criticized the impeachment investigation led by Democrats in the United States as a hoax and declared that he was not worried about the declines in the stock market stimulated by his comment that a trade agreement with China might not materialize until after the elections of 2020 Later, Trump called Prince Charles and his wife Camilla and attended a welcome reception from NATO at Buckingham Palace, before proceeding to an event at the prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street. Trump punctuated the day of diplomacy with a fundraiser for his re-election effort that, according to his campaign, raised $ 3 million. The meeting of NATO leaders follows Trump's frequent criticism of alliance members for failing to do their financial part during the first three years of his presidency. After a NATO summit last year, he asked members to devote at least 4% of gross domestic product to military spending and pointed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who she accused of paying Russia's billions of dollars for gas and energy while failing to fulfill its nation's commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense. But at this NATO meeting, Trump, who is heading towards an election year that seeks to showcase victories in foreign policy, offers a more optimistic outlook for the future of the alliance. To that end, he suggested that he deserved much of the credit for progress. I don't believe frankly before us that NATO was changing at all, and NATO is really changing right now, Trump said while sitting down for an individual conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. White House officials say that before Trump took office, only four NATO members had reached the 2% benchmark set in 2014. Now there are nine, it is projected that eighteen of the 29 will reach it by 2024 . Stoltenberg said Trump deserves credit for pushing members. The reality is that, especially because President Trump has so clearly conveyed that we need to share the burden fairly, the allies are intensifying, Stoltenberg said. In his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump criticized the Prime Minister, whose country is spending around 1.3% of GDP on defense, as slightly criminal. Some are older criminals, Trump said. He added that he is analyzing the possibility of imposing unspecified trade sanctions against NATO allies that remain below the benchmarks. Some are well below 1 percent and that is unacceptable, and if something happens we are supposed to protect them and it is not really fair and has never been fair, he said. Trump's conversations with Macron were tense at times. Before meeting him on the sidelines of the summit, Trump got into the French president for what he called very, very unpleasant comments in The Economist on NATO's health with Trump as his most important member. Macron did not back down when they appeared later in the day, and renewed his own criticism of Trump for withdrawing US forces from Syria. That Trump decision, taken without consulting France or other NATO allies, gave Turkey, another NATO member, a green light to launch operations against Syrian Kurdish forces that played a key role in the fight to clear a large swath of Syria of the Islamic State. Trump and Macron have had a relationship of ups and downs in the almost three years that Trump has been in office. Macron, who at the beginning of Trump's presidency had tried to cultivate a close relationship, hosted Trump in 2017 for Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. Trump corresponded by honoring Macron last year with the first state visit by a foreign leader during his time at the White House. As the journalists' questions were answered, the new stress became more evident when they discussed their concerns about Turkey's plan to buy a Russian anti-aircraft missile system. Macron said there is a disconnection by allowing Turkey to buy the system from Russia and also be a member of NATO. Trump said he is considering issuing sanctions against Ankara if he moves forward with plans to buy the weapons. Before the meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would oppose a NATO plan to defend the Baltic region if the alliance does not support Turkey in its fight against Kurdish groups it considers terrorists. I am sorry to say that we do not have the same definition of terrorism around the table, Macron said in a coup to Turkey. Trump showed more deference to Erdogan, saying that Turkey was very useful during the October US command attack that led to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi near the border between Syria and Turkey. We flew over areas that were totally controlled by Turkey and the Turkish army, Trump said. We didn't tell them what we were doing or where we were going. Turkey could not have been friendlier, it could not have been more supportive. At another time in their extended comments to the media, Trump and Macron had a brief exchange on the repatriation of Islamic State fighters who are European citizens and were captured in Syria and Iraq in recent years. Trump has pressed unsuccessfully for European nations to accept fighters captured by US forces. “Would you like some good ISIS fighters? I can give them to you, ”Trump said. You can take everything you want. Let's be serious, Macron replied. Their number one problem is not foreign fighters. Trump replied: “'That is one of the biggest non-answers I've heard. And that's fine. After such exchanges, however, Trump gave Macron, along with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a ride in his armored presidential limousine from the Queen's reception at Buckingham Palace to another meeting organized by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at number 10 Downing St. This story has not been edited by The Times of India and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe. (This story has not been edited by timesofindia.com and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe.)

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