Trump pushes allies for immediate military spending increase

Donald Trump says Germany is 'totally controlled by Russia' at Nato summit

Donald Trump says Germany is 'totally controlled by Russia' at Nato summit

Arriving at Nato, Ms Merkel sought to put her countries ties to the western alliance in historical context.

The two-day meet in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, with Europe and the USA engaged in a bitter trade spat and Trump demanding that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies "reimburse" Washington for defending the continent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back against Trump's comments on Wednesday, saying her country makes "independent policies and ...independent decisions".

Moreover, Stoltenberg argued Wednesday that the US military presence in Europe, through the 29-country alliance, gives it an advantage in dealing with Russian Federation and projecting power in the Middle East and Africa.

Earlier, Trump strode into NATO's new headquarters to shake hands with leaders - but only after publicly railing against Germany at a breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg.

"He suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4%", Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani will be present for the second day of talks, and Nato's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hopes the bloc will agree to fund Afghan security forces until 2024.

Referring to the 97-2 vote Tuesday in the U.S. Senate affirming its support for NATO, Kerry called on Republican lawmakers to call Trump on his actions.

Trump later softened his tone on Germany, saying during a press conference with Merkel that the USA has a "tremendous relationship" with its European ally.

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The U.S. president has lambasted U.S. allies for routinely failing to meet a 2 percent goal, a much lower standard that their nations agreed upon before he took office.

"I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union", she said of her youth in Communist East Germany.

While Germany's spending is increasing, it will not reach the target by 2024, instead expecting to boost spending to 1.5 percent by 2025.

Representative John Curtis wanted to get his thoughts in print prior to President Donald Trump's trip to Europe, so he published an editorial in the Deseret News. "We're protecting everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.

While it's true that only a handful of the 28 member countries now spend 2 percent or more of their GDP on defense, a 2014 agreement gave all of them a decade to get to the 2 percent level.

"We need to look at the history of Putin, whether he's been a reliable energy supplier or whether he's used energy for geopolitical pressure, which he has", Bloomfield said.

Trump's comment that Germany was controlled by Russian Federation earned a rebuke from Berlin.

The spike in tensions comes as President Trump is preparing for his first-ever summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in less than a week, sparking worry among allies.

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