NATO Summit Live Updates: Trump Pushes Allies to Increase Spending

The seven-day, three-nation trip underscores President Trump’s transformation of U.S. foreign policy. Up first: The NATO summit meeting in Brussels.

Comments: 289

  1. "You've got to pay your bills!" says the man most famous for not paying his own workers.

  2. https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-former-chauffeur-sues-for-unp...

  3. Or, perhaps not paying his own taxes!

  4. Similarly, when he needs to hire immigrants for his hotels, it's OK. Otherwise, he wants a wall built. Among other things, he's a fraud and a hypocrit.

  5. Dear Europe, Resist the urge to spend more money on mililtary defense like we do. Instead, keep investing in your people's education, childcare, healthcare & a clean environment. Don't turn yourselves into a country like the U.S., where 25% of our children live in poverty, people go bankrupt from medical bills, infrastructure is crumbling, education costs more than a mortgage, our public lands and resources are exploited for the highest bidder and our legislators are owned by the wealthy. Do not allow corporations and billionaires to take get the lion's share of all profits while leaving crumbs for your people like we do here. Reject U.S. corporatism which has ruined our country.

  6. Well said.

  7. A sad but great summary of our reality. A woman falls on a rail track and begs her rescuers not to call an ambulance because she can't afford it. We make choices when we allocate our precious resources and unfortunately, they're not in the best interest of the common man.

  8. Bravo! The Europeans have taken heed of President Eisenhower's advice to beware the Military Industrial Complex. Too bad our leaders aren't pragmatic enough to do that. BTW, I don't consider Trump an American leader...he's just the Bloviator in Chief.

  9. NATO acknowledges there are improvements to be made. There are post Cold War changes that should be made although the Russian threat has only worsened so we may be going back to the old days anyway. Germany needs to beef up its military for its own sake. The fact remains there is value to the alliance. It has resulted in peace for over 70 years. The past is so easy to forget but the horrors of two world wars still leave scars to this day. People should never forget. Trump and his ilk should not forget (or told of this fact since they don’t read about history) that NATO invoked Article I after September 11. No one expected it and was a true gesture of friendship. An attack against one is an attack against all. Europeans fought and died alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alas all Trump cares about is money and power. He is a pox on this country.

  10. That is an insult to pox everywhere.

  11. An attack against one NATO member is an attack against all. That though is Article 5, not 1. Article 5 was not invoked during the Iraq war, nor during the Afghanistan war., only as you obviously meant after 9/11 the first and until now only time

  12. Excellent points. I recently re-read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I was struck by how Austria and Poland received no assistance in defending against Germany. NATO is a very valuable alliance.

  13. America is by the most destabilizing force in the world. America's Military-Industrial Complex has a vested interest in keeping much of the world in a state of conflict. America is the main country that perpetrates wars based on outright lies - as in VietNam and Iraq.Since we all 'in this together', perhaps NATO should start insisting that America tone down the militaristic bluster and start working on peace, rather than always preparing for war.

  14. And aren't you happy that you live in a country where you can say these things, publicly, without reprisal?

  15. Maybe they should relay that sentiment to Putin also. If you recall it was Putin's army that invaded the Ukraine not so long ago which only reinforces the need for a strong NATO.

  16. couldn't agree more.

  17. I am a white, Catholic male who is 69 years old. I've seen or lived in 28 countries. i was in East Germany before the wall fell. I experienced "Checkpoint Charlie" and the Stasi checking passports, making people take off their glasses and using mirrors to check under busses lest any East German citizen try to escape. Few know this horror better than Angela Merkel. Trump's words are a disgrace to the United States and its people. He has no knowledge of anything much except a dollar and cares even less. I have respected every President in my lifetime from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. I now disown this despicable being who is destroying us. Has anyone ever considered that perhaps we are spending too much on our military's dated technology kept in place to placate Senator and Congressmen in whose districts these facilities are located. In the end, this is yet another smokescreen to attempt to distract from the investigation into Russian meddling in our elections and possible financial gain by Trump's extended family. Frau Merkel, I join millions of Americans this morning in condemning the words of Trump and insulting a great nation whose own history taught us the horrors of ignoring a dictator thug and following him blindly into oblivion.

  18. Then why did you vote for him? If not you, but your fellow Catholics, who put pro-life above everything else. What was elected was the kind of person who made East Germany possible (start WWII, killed 6 million Jews, millions more in the war, thousands more in prison camps, and enabled the Soviet Union to take over eastern Europe). Yes, all life is sacred, but electing someone who cares nothing about the living, let alone the unborn, is, and will be, a mortal sin.

  19. I am an American living in the former East Germany and talking to my German neighbors and doing my own investigations I agree your comments are spot on. The Russians don't have a large conventional army anymore for a large land invasion and besides what would it bring besides killing the European cash cow that helps keep them afloat? Mutti Merkel knows how to deal with infants like the one we sent Europe, but it is embarrassing to see how low we go on the world stage. If Putin again says they did nothing to interfere in our election of course the child will believe it!

  20. I grew up in a divided Germany and have been writing here all along that it is unfortunate how Donald Trump and most Americans not only haven't a clue of what NATO is, but how grateful they should all be that they never had to live in a Soviet East Bloc country when there was a Wall. But then again, if they had, they would better understand the motives of Vladimir Putin and recognize he is no friend of this country or Democracy. That this president is so enamoured with him does not bode well for the future of America. It's time to wake-up.

  21. Whatever Trump's goal here-- he wants to dominate the conversation in every meeting that he attends. He could simply want all the NATO countries to meet their military spending goals or he could want to take NATO apart to please Putin and the Russians or even his isolationist America-First base. Or this created conflict could be a distraction from everything that is going wrong elsewhere in the Trump universe. In any case, we're not making friends and influencing anyone except in Russia and among Trump's supporters and of course his ever-faithful and obedient Republican Party. These may be interesting times in which to live, but they are also dangerous and frustrating as well.

  22. Mr. Trump indeed wants to dominate every conversation and meeting he attends. Trouble is, he has nothing positive to contribute. His ignorance makes him dangerous and unpredictable. I feel sorry for all the Americans who did not vote for him and are now stuck with an egomaniac. The USA deserves better.

  23. I am really pessimistic about the future of NATO, let alone a "united west" that shares values and interests. It's pretty obvious that Trump does everything he can to destablize the European Union - from the outside and from within by supporting people like Victor Orban. He offered Macron a trade deal if he leaves the EU? He praises the Brexiteers? He tries to blackmail us? The starts a trade war based on false claims? Seriously? What else should we Europeans tolerate? What more evidence do we need that he is not an ally? I can't believe that I say this, but we as Europeans have to realize that obviously the US under this president wont be a reliable ally but more of a rival. Europe and the US will probably have to go seperate ways in the future. We both, Europeans and Americans will pay a high price for this presidency in the decades to come.

  24. You are sadly correctly. We are already paying the price.

  25. "..Europeans and Americans will pay a high price for this presidency in the decades to come." How about just paying your bills today?

  26. What bills do you mean?

  27. I find it amazing that POTUS is going to bat for the US taxpayer and the Leftist in the US take the EU's side more often than not. It's disingenuous based on past leanings towards the very subjects he is hammering. If you listen to the video with the NATO secretary he is not being rude just firm in his position. He is doing exactly what the last three presidents promised to do but then walked away from the issue. Also, what is absent from this article is that a few of the NATO members actually agree with Trump in regards to the German/Russian pipeline, in particular Poland.

  28. "I find it amazing that POTUS is going to bat for the US taxpayer " This is laughable. Trump is proposing a massive increase in the number of nuclear warheads. Nato participation is chump change by comparison. If Trump were truly concerned about the US taxpayer he would do his job instead of playing golf everywhere but Washington, and he would have fired Pruitt months ago.

  29. What U.S. taxpayers that "he's going to bat for" are you referring to? You mean the $1.5 trillion new debt that's just been created by the recent GOP tax cut where 80% of it went to the top 1%?

  30. And let's not forget that Obama actually had Merkel phones bugged. He wanted to know if (Former KGB and former Stazi) former friends were duping the USA. Trump should demand that Europe decrease their dependence on Russian energy and perhaps move to Libyan(etc) oil and offset some of the refugee crisis there.

  31. NATO is obsolete. The Warsaw Pact countries, other than Russia, are now in NATO. They are the only ones with any anxiety about Putin. Moreover, these Eastern European countries, especially, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and the Slovak Republic are undemocratic and authoritarian (and corrupt), qualities that run counter to the alleged reasons the US would be called on to sacrifice American lives in their defense. Germany can't put a squadron of modern planes into the air, yet Merkel hypocritically talks about Europe being responsible for its own defense. Defense against whom? Germany relies on Russia for much of its gas and oil, supplying Putin with much needed Euros. Yet Russia is the only conceivable threat to NATO. NATO was formed at the time of the Cold War and is a relic of that "war." The USSR and Communism were existential and ideological threats to the capitalistic West. As for "democracy," many former Warsaw Pact countries can not be classified as such. The fact is that NATO has been extended right up to Russia's borders, despite American promises to the contrary. It was a grievous geopolitical strategic error. The real issue is not defense spending, a Trump obsession, but one of effective defense - and if against Russia, what constitutes an adequate defense? Russia is not the USSR, although it still has several thousand nuclear weapons. Will more defense spending protect against this threat? Let Europe decide on adequacy, and turn American attention to ASIA.

  32. Russia is in Asia, and ask Ukrainians who want a fair representative government and open trade with the west whether or not Russia is a threat. NATO is about much more than defensive readiness, no matter what the focus at its founding, and it's not just a club for self-reforming governments. Without an umbrella of cooperation, both militarily and economically, European governments are exposed to all manner of threat from China and Russia - despot-led asian nations will press any advantage the west presents to them.

  33. If you aren't writing and posting this from the Internet Research Agency in Leningrad, you're missing out on a valuable income stream.

  34. NATO is only as obsolete as our own Defense Department. Sure, a lot of the traditional use of physical force concepts might eventually become obsolete, but we're not there yet (terrorism, piracy, et al.). Meanwhile, there are new 21st century threats to our citizens and homeland: more frequent and ferocious natural disasters, disease, radicalized (as opposed to political) terrorism, etc. Just like our own DOD is thinking about these future threats, NATO would do well to do the same. All NATO is is a collection of countries pooling resources for defense. To some of those countries, defense means different things, including protection of values and economic security.

  35. President Trump has yet to understand the basic parameters of NATO alliance. To hit Germany on the silly charge that the country’s basic trade relationship with Russia goes against the grain of NATO is pure nonsense. NATO is a security alliance, not a fence to keep Russia away from entering into bilateral economic deals with any European country. Germany had been purchasing fuel from Russia long before Trump, and it had never been any issue with it earlier. Why now? Why now when Trump himself is hell-bent to have an amicable relationship with a country which has had been US’s erstwhile enemy? How on earth could Trump defend his policy toward Russia? This brings up the third issue as a possibility. Could it be that the President Trump wants to destroy NATO (as he already indicated that NATO is obsolete) and reestablish Putin and his fascist country as the new partner and cohort of USA undermining national and the world security at an expense of Europe precisely the way Russia now, and the Soviets earlier wanted? Where does the Congress stand on this? Will they allow abandonment of Europe in this way?

  36. Germany needs to pay their share. 1% of GDP is a joke. Meanwhile we're paying 4% of GDP. That's the issue.

  37. How is Russia our enemy? If anything, they have cause for opposing the West, due to our actions during the Bush and Obama years.

  38. But the US doesn't need to spend 4% - it chooses to, in its desire to have influence around the world. Step back, spend that money on something else .... maybe education and healthcare?

  39. The U.S. is in Europe because we want to have ground troops ready to invade Russia. There is no physical access to Russia on the ground from its north or east. Areas to the south of Russia will not let us have troops there. The only spot is Europe. The U.S. is in Europe for our own sake, not Europe's. That was a clear outcome of WWII, that we need to always have offensive capability against Russia on the ground. If Europe were to pay nothing we would still be there.

  40. Agreed. NATO has been beneficial for security and economic reasons, but we would create a military presence without it for the simple reason that it is in our interest to create a deterrent to Russian initiatives.

  41. Well, close: our bases in Europe project force into the Middle East, too, where we have no reliable allies.

  42. The Russian people are not the “enemy”, rather, the international cartel of oligarchs who benefit perpetually from war mongering are. When you consider that American financiers funded the Third Reich and the US supplied the USSR in WW II the template has been set. The real “wars” are being fought in the Middle East to secure and dominate the oil and gas supplies. The Russian threat is as much a propaganda sham as the “War on terror.” There are too many inconsistencies to make any of this credible except in the sense that war is big business and peace is NOT! People will die, but not for the reasons we are being groomed to believe.

  43. I marvel at President Trump's myopic view of NATO and the contributions of member states. He and other who agree with him should not see the US payment as a bill but rather as an investment. Our continued support provides the US incredible leverage around the globe. For example, if our military needs to travel through a NATO member's airspace on a mission, permission is forthcoming. Beyond that our contributions ensure that we remain the arbiter of world peace, practically. Ceding that role, because the relative costs have risen or nationalistic fervor has risen in the US, is very shortsighted. Someone else will assume that role if we do not maintain it. A similar logic can be used in trade. Yes, trading partnerships may place much of the onus on the US, but again, this is an investment. Our market influences around the globe help ensure our economic hegemony. How anyone cannot appreciate the distinction the US has with these responsibilities is asinine.

  44. Hear, hear!

  45. total strawman. why cant european countries make the same investment in nato as we do, so we can invest less? re trade, i agree- we need free trade, zero tarrifs, and the wto needs to be beefed up to keep everyone playing fair

  46. Will you please stop being logical? He's never going to understand that. Confrontation is the order of the day.

  47. When Trump was shown to have wiggled out of paying his fair share of taxes, he declared that this showed he was "smart." Yet he accuses others of being "delinquent" and "freeloaders" and "bought by Russia." It is high time that the language he uses about others be directed toward him, where it actually fits.

  48. Good one!

  49. He also reneges on contracts (doesn’t pay contractors or vendors what was agreed), cheats people (Trump University) and lies (always).

  50. With Trump, it's always about projection.

  51. Trump brings out the ugliness in me. I want to sling insults his way. I feel anger and hatred toward him and his base, and this is not how I want to be as I journey through life. I imagine my feelings are a microcosmic perspective of his influence in the world. Sad times.

  52. European nations should be spending a lot more on their defense. If anyone thinks that the USSR's goal of western European domination ended with the folding of the USSR, that is a huge and potentially fatal mistake. The mindset in Russia regarding the US and the west is the same now as it has been since Khrushchev's admission - We will bury you! It doesn't matter what they call the country, the perspective remains in full force. On NPR today, there was a comment from Brussels that Obama made the same complaint as Trump has about insufficient financing of European defense, only Obama did so quietly and diplomatically. Well, that didn't work. Trump is crass and offensive, but maybe a change in tone is what is necessary, and what may be effective. Russia is utterly untrustworthy. Wherever there is a significant population of ethnic Russians (Estonia, Latvia, eastern Ukraine), Russia will try to take over if only to recover what it claims is rightfully Russia's. Russia was never going to let Crimea go because of the naval base and Black Sea control, and because it views Crimea as Russia. All the anti-Trumpism reflected in the Times Picks is irrelevant to the reality of Russian revanchism. People should pay more attention to the legitimate concerns expressed by those who know from experience - Estonia, Latvia & Ukraine. Yes, it would be wonderful to eliminate all military spending. But that isn't reality - never has been, probably never will be.

  53. And that proves DT is right in this case?

  54. and vice versa, Ben ?

  55. Was that meant for me.

  56. Trump's comments to the head of NATO were boorish and don't represent most Americans - he did not win the popular vote. I apologize to Europe for his disrespectful behavior.

  57. Bobbie that took guts to say that ! It’s not your fault a Child became President

  58. Why does NATO even exist almost 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union?

  59. I recommend Two Lean Years: Russia's Budget for 2018-2020 By Sergey Zhavoronkov, The Russia File, a Kennan Institute Blog, Dec. 2, 2017 http://www.kennan-russiafile.org/2017/12/08/two-lean-years-russias-budge... (Zhavoronkov is an economist and a board member of Moscow’s Liberal Mission Foundation.) In his final paragraph the author says: "In coming years, the Russian budget will continue to allocate about a third of its spending to military and police needs, whereas the social policy expenditures will decline, with ordinary citizens getting ever poorer. ... According to his [Putin's] new budget, the military-industrial complex will have money while the majority of the population will have none." In short, President Trump is trying to take the heat off President Putin by forcing NATO members to increase their defense spending & also, by happenstance, decrease their social policy spending. In Trump's thinking, it's almost like handing money to Putin if it keeps him out of trouble with his own citizens as he increases defense spending while putting citizens of NATO member countries closer to the poorer folk of Russia. Russia's oligarchs are like our 1%: They'll feel no pain and, more likely, make money. Putin doesn't care about Trump's illogic & contradictions as long as Trump succeeds in weakening NATO & the EU. Putin will continue his military buildup to bring Ukraine, the Baltic countries & others back into the fold. A "Moscow Pact" with war clouds for sure.

  60. I can't see your logic at all. NATO countries spend more to increase their military capabilities and this helps Putin? More then likely it will force Putin to spend money and take more from social services. This is exactly what happened to the Soviets in the 80's when they tried to keep up with the US and could't. BTW The amount of money that the Euros would spend on defense is a tiny amount. 2-3%? Nothing! Russia at 30+% is hardship!

  61. A hardship? For who? Putin? The oligarchs? The Military? Or the vast Russian people outside the big cities? Their elections are rigged as well. Their votes don't count. So the Kremlin inhabitants care nothing about "the people." If Trump could get NATO to spend more on the military it would put more pressure on their economies. Putin will spend as much as HE likes. The Duma supports him, the oligarchs support him, and who else cares what "the poeple" think or need? Trump's nice words about NATO after the meeting was over is just another misdirection so no one knows what comes next - except for that one on one meeting coming soon with his buddy, Vlady By the way, you mis-spelled SQUIRREL.

  62. Trump is a wrecking ball. "This too will pass." May our European allies thrive without us until we once again elect a civil president who understands our values and honors our history.

  63. Our "history" of paying Europe's defense bills is over. Europeans got used to Uncle Sam gifting it to them. No more. By the way, it's time for EU to also start protecting its exterior borders. You can't do it if your military is a joke.

  64. And also survive the damage of the U.S. (and possible worldwide) recession Trump is setting up for 2019.

  65. The US strong army is so efficient in protecting its borders , isn't it?

  66. Germany doesn't need military protection from Russia. Along with the rest of Europe it needs to be protected from the US which is attacking Europe verbally in a threatening manner and with tariffs. I think the EU or Germany and France together should try negotiating an understanding with Russia thus trumping Trump. The US via Trump Is betraying Europe.

  67. Yuri, Is this the “Offical Kremlin view” from the Bronx? What happened the last time there was an “Moscow Berlin Alliance? As I rember it Poland was served for “lunch” and Eastern Europe for “dessert”! I’m not sure the Germans, Poles or the Eastern Europeans have long enough spoons to supp with Putin and Russia again! It’s far better to be insulted than invaded! Of course Putin has a “better plan” just sell Germany gas to heat their country. Then no invasion is necessary to get Germany to “agree” with Moscow. You only need to have “technical difficulties” and turn off the heat in winter!

  68. It is becoming more apparent that Trump will claim the same excuse as Eichmann at his eventual trial: "I was only following orders." The orders to create chaos of the Atlantic Alliance were given by Trump's paymasters, Putin & Co., with whom he will meet after insulting our allies. I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping that this man-baby and his entourage remain in Russia permanently.

  69. I was rather hoping that Space Force meant he was planning to live much further away one day soon.

  70. The other NATO countries don't owe the USA any money. If Trump or any other US President wants to spend less on defence, they are free to do so at any time. As for being dependent on the Russians, that's a good point. How much does the Trump organisation owe Russian financiers?

  71. Trump must be reminded of the fac t that he is prresident of the USA and only the USA.Europeans don't acept his bullying.

  72. Other NATO countries do owe the US some fairness in terms of funding NATO - if they want NATO to survive. They have not been paying their fair share, preferring to spend their resources on social programs that Americans can only dream about. It's time that the US start investing in our own people too, instead of being Europe's patsy.

  73. You say this while Merkel partners with Russia to build a $11 billion gas pipeline.

  74. I am no fan of Trump However if Trump left Helsinki with a deal with Putin to build a $10B pipeline for gas he would be called a traitor Germany has made such a deal with the Russians Trump is mostly wrong on his policies, but even when he is right his rhetoric is difficult. On this point with Germany, he is right.

  75. Russia was always a reliable partner when it comes to gas supply. Even during cold war times they fulfilled their contracts. The pipelines make the supply independend from supply via Ukraine (still a unstable region) or other countries in the region. I don't have a problem with multi-sourcing and there are already two dozen LNG teminals in Europe. But at the moment this gas is much more expensive and the US doesn't exactly fill the picture of a reliable partner. So in the end it's a choice who we should depend on - Trump or Putin. Not a easy decision...

  76. Why is somebody doing trade with Russia a traitor? Because they are not shipping gas from the US instead? As long as the attitude of the US government and a significant part of the people still think in terms of the Cold War, it may be worth considering to dissolve NATO. It is a tool for the US to keep influencing Europe but maybe the world should end that. Keep doing what you are doing, you are "losing real estate" in Europe. Reelect Trump and/or elect some president who has similar attitudes towards Europe and The "Atlantic Bridge" will be torn down and "Eurasia" and the New Silk Road from Portugal to China will emerge instead.

  77. Germany should buy its gas from the US instead, even though it’s more expensive (as a consequence of its having to be liquified) and it’s had to endure insults from the American president? When Putin meets Trump in Helsinki, he’ll owe the president a big thank you. Rapprochement between the Russian leader and Europeans is a direct result of Trump’s belligerent attitude and actions.

  78. Trump appears to have scheduled his post NATO Summit meeting with Putin as a congratulatory affair. Surely Putin will be happy with all that his star pupil has accomplished over the past few months, and a debrief to assess Trumps NATO Summit performance is more than understandable. We are only 1.5 years into this mess of a presidency with 2.5 years to go (potentially 6.5). Hopefully, the USA will make it out in one piece... Shameful.

  79. I fear these protests will not end well - mostly in the form of angry tweeted insults and pouring fuel on the Brexiteers roaring fire.

  80. Donnie Fats is on a tear against NATO, but having his perpetual bromance with Bad Vlad Putin!

  81. "Tweaking and refuting Mr. Trump, often slyly and sometimes quite directly" is not an accurate representation of Donald Tusk's commentary on Mr. Trump. It accurately reflects what most Europeans feel about the President and his bizarre attempts at influencing foreign policy of the United States. You could only wish the members of Congress had the same forthrightness in there critiques of the President and his 'policies.' Not sly but honest! Umiliviniq

  82. Is this the end of NATO? Our Western democracy is crumbling very fast, with a little help from Russia.

  83. As long as Canada stands by us Europeans, than we can still call it Trans Atlantic. Even without the US. And not having to contribute to US wars in non-US countries would save us a lot of money and many soldier's lives.

  84. Hopefully it is. The USA are bringing more harm than not outside their own borders since long. The entire middle east are a war zone started by the USA for cheap oil, and then they call for NATO to do their own dirty work, and now Trump and his loyals even care to demand NATO to spend MORE on AMERICAN wars. If the USA wants to go to war, let them pay for it themselves. And let USA also take care of all those millions of millions of refugees instead of having the EU take care of them.

  85. Hanna, Call it whatever you want but don’t expect Canada to be able to defend the Europe that can’t defend itself!

  86. Not satisfied with bankrupting businesses several times at the expense of everybody but Donald Trump, this man is now building policies that will bankrupt the US and our allied partners----while undermining the very concept of the rule of law, civility, honesty, and free and open world trade. Is there anything in the world that Donald Trump touches that does not become a foul mess?

  87. Trump says NATO member countries need to pay more for their security. Let's look at the increases they are already paying due to Trump's policies (on the heels of Bush Jr. and to some extent Obama's) that have led to further violence and destabilization in the Middle East. Here's the list: NATO countries have contributed soldiers and money to help fight the U.S. war of choice in Iraq and the war of revenge in Afghanistan. They've been threatened if they don't back out of the multi-nation Iran agreement and boycott Iran's oil, which will send their oil costs higher; Trump sold planes and arms to Saudi Arabia now being used against Yemen forcing them into starvation, creating a humanitarian crisis and further destabilization; Trump sided with Israel against Palestinians and cut in half the meager U.S. aid sent to Palestinian relief orgs.; Trump's Syrian stunt was to drop a mega ton of bombs, killing civilians. Along with the failure to hold Putin and other M.E. strong men to account, U.S. policies have helped send millions running for their lives to Europe. So the case can be made that NATO allies have been paying more than their fare share due to America's aggressive and short-sighted policies and Putin's support for Syria's dictator, a calculated strategy to flood Europe with refugees. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/opinion/americas-forever-wars.html

  88. Oops! I forgot to mention the cost of the tariffs...(but then it's the middle of the night.)

  89. Ann, You too might benefit from a visit to some of the many American War Cemeteries scattered across Europe as a result of two European World Wars! Europe is still far short of paying us back in either blood or treasure!

  90. @Richard lots of countries have war cemeteries in Europe. You’re country was not alone they helped win the war. Please also note many of the same countries help the USA in You’re wars in Asia, Middle East, Mexico and central and South America.

  91. Trump, aka John Bolton, is determined to expose the duplicity of the EU leaders. They condemn the Crimea move, but buy Oil. The tacitly support Russia spending money in Syria fighting terrorists, so they can save money doing just that. EU has not addressed the migrant crisis, continues to fund health care, welfare, education for its residents, while US is their free "security guards" Trump may not have the skill of words when expressing dissent, but the core of his message is spot-on.

  92. If I get it right, the poor healthcare system of the US is what it is because of the duplicity of Europeans , not because of big money- backed Republicans. Without the Europeans duplicity, the US would be a world example of welfare. It longs for it but is impeached by those across the pond. I think you deserve your great man.

  93. The EU funds (or going to fund) my healthcare, welfare and education??? How cool is that! So far to my (oviously lacking) knowledge it's been funded through taxes and contributions to our social security system. Thanks for the heads up!

  94. Trump views everything through the lens of money. He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. All I can say to the rest of the World is this too shall pass. Please join us at the after party.

  95. I agree with you, but at the same time I fear that 1) DT will be reelected in 2016 (reading some of the comments here that support the foolish statements of him), and 2) to much has happened the last 18 months that makes an after party impossible. Never before has one man backed by a party that is following blindy their bully in chief done so much harm to his own country and to the free world. What happens nowadays cannot even been called collateral damage. It's mere destruction of all the good that brought 70 years of diplomacy and shared values.

  96. Unless US voters opposing Trump get busy with some appealing policies, credible candidates, and strong voter turnout, there will be no after party. Waiting for "this too to pass" ain't gonna create party time - except for the Trump oligarchy.

  97. “Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back," Irony from a man who's being currently sued by a former driver for withholding pay.

  98. Teresa, “Many” = just eight! Germany is not one of them nor is France and the U.K.!

  99. They do not owe USA a dime. Trump nonsense. They owe their own military the money. All the NATO countries have fulfilled their NATO spending obligations. Some like Canada have not hit overall military spending at 2 percent of GDP. But they have until 2024 to hit that target. Richard does not read he just pops off like a true Russia/Trump trol.

  100. If Germany is in Russia's pocket it must be pretty large because Trump has taken our government to join him within it.

  101. Diplomacy is defined as an “”Art” and “a practice of negotiating between nations and securing advantages without raising suspicions “. This also involves trust and a belief that said negotiations are concrete. President Trump invites suspicion and whether he speaks truth or hyperbole.. Couple that with his need for elocution lessons and manic statements and negotiations are frustrating at best. Many countries have long known of Mr. Trump the businessman , as he has tried to bring his “Trump” brand to their nations. His lecturing others about responsibility of financial commitment is laughable with his personal history of bankruptcies and shady deals.

  102. How has it only been 18 months?

  103. So Russia "totally controls" Germany? Then I don't know how you would call what the USA does here. Mr Trump, would you please answer the following questions: 1. Which country still has troops in Germany - the USA or Russia? 2. Which country started a trade war on Germany - the USA or Russia? 3. Which country threatens to sanction german companies if they are not inline with its doctrine - the USA or Russia?

  104. Which country rebuilt Germany after a war Germany started and which country has run big trade deficits to support Germany in addition to picking up the defense tab for a Germany while Americans go without health coverage that Germans fund from the defense budget Germany doesn’t fund for itself?

  105. Germany has auto manufacturing plants in the US that have saved and turned around the economies of at least two southern states. Shame on us!

  106. Which country after WWII had its infrastructure intact? The US. Which country had a 40 year clear path to sell all its products to the destroyed countries. Sorry, the Marshall plan was designed to rebuild those countries and as a corollary buy goods from the US.

  107. Finally a president who takes seriously the fact that NATO countries freeload off America Thank you, President Trump

  108. Lucian, actually he is not. Eisenhower, Bush Jr. and Obama all raised these issues, Obama most recently in 2014.

  109. Tell that to the NATO troops currently deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. And NATO countries started to increase their defense spending before Trump took office.

  110. NATO countries do not owe USA a dime. They do not freeload. Trump nonsense. They owe their own military the money. All the NATO countries have fulfilled their NATO spending obligations. Some like Canada have not hit overall military spending at 2 percent of GDP. But they have until 2024 to hit that target. Luciano does not read he just pops off like a true Russia/Trump troll.

  111. Come on, military- industrial complex and the "national security establishment". Your hysteria for preserving NATO from that pathetic clown Trump reminds us that you expanded to eastern Europe in violation of the Soviet Union's agreement to German unification. Do you really think Russia is interested in invading NATO countries? Trump is wrong about almost everything but (like that famous clock) right that NATO has outlived its expiration date.

  112. I was in Poland, about 20 km from the Russian border, two years ago. Yes, Russia is a threat to Eastern Europe. You could really feel the fear there. And, it is worse in the former Baltic countries with large Russian ethnic majorities. Putin has been quietly threatening them for years.

  113. The US spends a lot more on defense, but how much of that does it spend ON NATO? Very little. The US has almost no forces in Europe anymore. Meanwhile, Germany, France, and the UK each spend as much on defense as does Russia. Other NATO nations spend a good deal more. If all NATO did the demanded increase, it would rise to six times Russian spending, without counting anything from the US. Those nations don't have worldwide bases or worldwide wars, it is all for NATO. How much is enough? Three times? The current four and more for all of NATO? As for Russian gas, the US has ties to China that dwarf Germany's ties to Russia. Furthermore, for a long time Germany has made an effort to diversify their energy sources, or at least to keep other options. The US is not doing that regarding China.

  114. According to the figures provided by NATO, the US pays 30% of the cost of the joint operation. The shiny new headquarters included. 70% is paid by the delinquents. But who needs facts ?

  115. "The joint operation" is the headquarters operation. It is not the balance of expense for the whole defense of Europe.

  116. A German perspective: A. It makes no sense that the US alone is outspending Russia and China by multiples of 4 B. The EU can hold their own against Russia. It’s spends 4 times as much as Russia today. Inefficiently, yes. But is there anyone doubting France, Germany et al can’t get their together, if they choose to do so? C. The US outspending all other large countries, devoting 3,8% of GDP to it, while neglecting to supply basic services as universal health care, make the US seem like an belligerent or dumb actor on the world stage D. Kleptocratic Russia is - strange thing to say - a more rational actor than the US under Trump D. Since the industrial Revolution Germany always got its lions share from Russia. That not new. That’s called geography E. Trade is causing mutual dependency- one of the best ways to foster collaboration. Germany used this lever to achieve its unification Europeans want the US as an ally. But a US based on shared values. Not a the proto-fascist Trump Version

  117. A. It does make sense when you think about it for a second. Value of money are different in different places all around the world. The value of money in USA are higher than in both Russia and China (just have a look at average income, expenditures and compare among the general public in these three places, it's easy when you open your eyes). Obviously the American expenditure is gonna be many times higher. B. The EU "can hold their own" what does NATO have to do with EU? Absolutely nothing, hence, your argument is invalid. C. The same people in the USA that wants to spend so much on the military are the same people who are not willing to implement a system where everybodys basic needs are met. Fact is, the same warmongers calls them selves "pro life" while doing everything in their power to end life. D. Kleptocratic russia is about as much kleptocratic as USA. More rational? Doubtful. E. True in parts. But there are also other factors, like how they treat their allies in general among others, building a common ground for the collaborations to work. Europeans are hesitant to having the US as an ally. The voters of the US and the people they voted for have for a long time made the Europeans angry, just look at the violent demonstrations all over the continent when G.W Bush went there in the early 2000's.

  118. He's always projecting.

  119. Those of us here in the USA now look to Europe for hope for democratic institutions and humanistic values. We need you at this time when you clearly don't need the leadership we are offering; greed, mendacity, and aggression.

  120. Charlatan, liar, hypocrite? How should we describe Trump? With the willing connivance of the GOP, he inflates the Pentagon budget and then blames Europe for our mad spending. He encourages the notion that there is a mega-fund somewhere for NATO military activities. There is not, unless it be in Arlington, Virginia. There the Pentagon employs about 23,000 military personnel and another few thousand civilians, to support American military posture all around the globe. American leaders decided their own posture in the Cold War, and essentially dragged Europe along. Some went gladly, some resisted. Some civilians resented what they called American imperialism, others, especially in the UK, resented their country being used as a US aircraft carrier and a base for cruise missiles. The peace camp of the women of Greenham Common must not be forgotten. But in the case of Trump and his ilk, they can’t forget what they never knew. America has done much good, and helped to break the USSR. But now Trump behaves like an agent of the successor to the USSR, the new Russian empire.

  121. "Charlatan, liar, hypocrite? How should we describe Trump?" How about, "Someone who speaks the truth"? Isn't Trump right when he says, "“How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against?” ""

  122. No, my dear Ludwig.....never shall we refer to this man as someone who speaks the truth, unless accidentally.

  123. Ludwig- Gee, we're at war with Ira, our sworn enemy, yet WE buy their oil. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. "OK, U.S. refiners are buying the stuff, rather than "taking" it -- whatever that might mean -- but the volume of Iraqi oil entering the U.S. has been on the rise since the middle of 2015 and has continued to increase this year, despite OPEC's output cuts. Imports of Iraqi crude have averaged 600,000 barrels a day so far this year, according to data from the the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy. That's up by 50 percent from 2016 and is almost three times as much as U.S. refiners bought from Iraq in 2015. The flow through American ports has exceeded 1 million barrels a day three times since the start of June in weekly EIA data." https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-10-29/turns-out-the-u-s-d... But keep blindly defending the hypocrite-in-chief while he sells our country to Russia in his private meeting. You all are outraged with Germany's trade with Putin but don't seem to have much of a problem with Putin's number 1 fan- Donald Trump!

  124. Trump is not just ripping at the seams of our global alliances, he is unraveling the very fabric of world order. He disparages our neighbors, two of our closest allies and essential extensions of our borders, while berating the security entourage that underpins the democratized western alliance. His actions towards our ‘friends’ trickle down, giving pause to those counties struggling between options and bolstering those who have decided on a nationalistic or worse path like Turkey and Indonesia. Trump’s embracing of despots accelerates the collapse what little world order may be left. Collectively, his actions drained American prominence and diminished our moral authority. The complicit Republicans revel in their short-term success domestically without seeing the long-term damage both at home and abroad. Trump’s continuous lies and disregard for the very office he holds are taking their toll. The Democrats, for whatever reasons, cannot yet stop the ringmaster and the Republican relinquished any sense of propriety long ago. The leaders at Nato appear to be standing up to Trump’s-bullying more forthrightly than most but that too holds little sway over Trump. Until Putin and Xi and Kim and others tell Trump that his actions are so destructive to the tenuous global peace we have now, he won’t change. But they won’t for Trump is doing exactly what they want.

  125. DJT....the king of debt and well known for failing to pay his bills is lecturing NATO for being "delinquent"?

  126. So why don't the leaders of other countries call him out about his ripping off of his workers? Do they not have the guts to do it to his face like he does it to them? That's how you treat a bully, by publicly humiliating him. He doesn't hesitate to humiliate you in front of the world. There is no high road to take when dealing with this ignorant despicable man-child.

  127. And conflict of interest...

  128. Trump needs to meet the families of every non-American NATO service member that were killed when we were the first and only country to invoke NATO's article 5 and tell them to their faces that their countries haven't paid enough. Encouraging our allies to increase their defense budget is one thing but to disparage our allies that have come to our defense is a complete disgrace.

  129. Jason, thanks for your comment. But we all know that Trump will say anything to anyone's face. It's just that he won't accept anything someone else tells him to his own face. Our Prime Minister was an exception (I'm Dutch), but I wonder how long it'll take for Trump to lash out on him. And let's hope for the US people that they don't need our soldiers in a new war. Our people might not be willing to send them after everything Trump said. Despite NATO there is only so much any politician in any country can do against the will of the people. And most people in Europe, Canada and other NATO countries are against Trump and won't be willing to help him in any way.

  130. I wouldn't count on Trump acknowledging the sacrifice others have made since his Daddy paid off a doctor to get him out of serving FIVE TIMES. Cadet Bonespurs is just a tough talking coward and fraud. He's as fake as the fake medical report he presented to the American people. He insults parents of fallen soldiers, war hero's and even war widows. The man is just sick in the head.

  131. It would be cruel to introduce him to those people. Is there anyone you know more vulgar, dishonest or mean? The only people who want to meet him are as debased and immoral as he is.

  132. The debasement of America proceeds. Another day another lie.

  133. Small correction: Another day, another ten lies.

  134. He singled out Germany for particularly sharp criticism, saying the country was “totally controlled by Russia” because of its dependence on Russian natural gas. Ah, yes, “totally controlled by Russia”...Easy to diagnose in others but...

  135. No, he singled out Germany because German has a female leader. Trump doesn't respect any woman and he won't accept criticism from them. He always lashes out to women who criticized him. And keeps doing that long after. He doesn't seem able to cope with his perceived feelings of humiliation.

  136. You nailed it, Hannah! And please, allow me to thank all the commenters from outside the US who are participating in this discussion and give those of us here with their different perspectives. And most of us a so sorry for all this.

  137. You're welcome! Make sure you elect a decent person next time! No matter if it's a Republican or a Democrat, just someone with moral values, manners, brains, etc. That would make all the difference!

  138. Thank you, President Trump, for pointing out the hypocrisy of European and American liberal leaders. Germany has been buying gas from Russia for more than twenty years and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was nominated to Russia's Rosneft board; Hillary Clinton sold uranium to Russia ... Mr. Trump might be the only politician ever to tell the truth.

  139. Let me correct you: Germany has been buying gas from Russia since 1973 which was in the middle of the cold war. This was a good thing because more trade basically means less risk of war. Did the USA oppose it back then? Btw, I think Germany should be allowed to buy its gas where it wants to. The real reason the USA is opposing that is because the USA wants to sell its own liquid natural gas to Germany instead. Your ambassador to Germany even dared to threaten german companies that take part in the russian gas pipeline project.

  140. Worth noting: Mr. Trump, his lawyers, his family members and his associates have at least 40 ties to Russian contacts or businesses . Uranium is widely bought and sold around the world for a range of purposes, from nuclear power plant fuel to medical treatments and research. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Links_between_Trump_associates_and_Russian... http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/oct/24/what-you-nee... http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/06/561587174/the-alternat...

  141. He wants to sell American LNG gas. This is the reason, not dependance (if you exclude irrational other reasons and fixations). And for your interest: not Germany is buying it, German companies are buying it and this gas is part of the European energy market. And when you need a guess: trading partners are not fully free in their actions. So you can dependance also consider as containment of Russia which is dependent from European customers. And as a history lesson: containment by trade is a decade long European strategy.

  142. This is mostly disingenuous! Europeans don't include pensions & medical payments for discharged service men & women in defense spending and budgets. They are part of the general expediture on social programs i.e. there is no equivalent veterans administration. Rightly so, as if WWII German veterans pensions and medicals were included there'd be an outcry! Maybe the US should pull out of NATO, it's now more of an Eastern European battle preparedness organization. Putin spends about the same as Spain on military (though using the German model above); this would release funds back to the American taxpayers for social programs, Medicaid etc.

  143. It is interesting to hear Mr Trump saying "Germany is captive of Russia". Indeed, trade makes dependent. But without trade and without the kind of dependency trade implies, there can be no peace. This is something people in Europe remember well after two world wars. Furthermore, not so long ago, a part of Germany was a satellite of Russia. The current German chancellor, like so many people in Germany, grew up and studied in this satellite. In my humble opinion, all this makes Germany rather immun against being "captive of Russia. Finally, it is fun that someone who is investigated for "collusion with Russia" and who is suspected of being blackmailed by the Russian government to take such a stance at Germany. How low has fall the USA!

  144. Trump is a captive of Russia and most Americans understand. We hope that our congress has also begun to see this.

  145. Why the U.S. have a Massive trade deficit with Germany plus Why the U.S. continued to pay money to the military alliance while countries continue to purchase energy from Moscow. It doesn’t make sense.

  146. Celine Dion, these countries bought energy from them during the Cold war too. The military budget has nothing to do with where they get their energy

  147. There is always a perfectly good excuse, always a reason not to. NATO was designed to protect Europe allies and prevent the spread of Soviet Union Communist and that threat is insignificant. now we spent trillions in Europe's defense and got nothing but massive trade deficits with Europeans? Absolute nonsense.

  148. Well to your first two points: it doesn't, and it doesn't. Germany's fiscal and trade policies are determined by the EU, so it's not particularly meaningful to speak of a German trade deficit in isolation. Accounting for goods and services (the latter of which Trump conveniently ignores despite the US being a service economy), the US runs a $92 Bn trading deficit with the EU, which sounds scary, but the EU is our biggest trading partner and that's only a fraction of the overall trade. Regardless, the US and the EU have a much, much greater stake in maintaining friction-less, amicable trade than either has in redressing a deficit. Not only is a trade deficit an unreliable indicator of economic strength. but Europe is (despite Trump) our closest ally and vital to the American economy and security. Speaking of security, NATO members don't 'pay money' to the alliance (or a relevant amount, anyway). It is a military alliance; there is no communal pot of money which the US disproportionately pays into. Rather, each country committed to financing their own defence forces with 2% GDP by 2024. Some countries already do this; most don't. I'm all for increased NATO defence spending, but because Russia is a legitimate threat, not because the NATO is in imaginary arrears to the US. NATO is the guarantor of peace and prosperity in a free Europe. The cost of that is worth it for everyone in NATO.

  149. Trump is a true outsider. Even Reagan, who ran as an outsider, was not a complete outsider as he was CA governor first. Trump never held any political office. He went straight for president and won. This guy is calling out the world political elites like only an outsider can. He is exposing them for the world to see. He may be the best president ever.

  150. He is not exposing anything. He is embarrassing our country incredibly and the ling-term damage will be grave.

  151. The son of soon retiring Supreme Court Justice Kennedy was essentially Trump's personal loan officer at Deutchbank. Trump personally laundered money for the Russian mob for decades with casinos and real estate deals. Trump's Commerce Secretary ran a bank in Cyprus notorious for Russian money laundering. Donny is the most insider, corrupt President in history.

  152. That comment pretty much proves the USA spends waaay too much on guns and not nearly enough on education. This will all come crashing down, the sooner it does the less damage will be done. The amazing thing is that the base will be the ones that are going to take the biggest hit and they are also the only ones that are going to be surprised.

  153. 1) USA starts war 2) Refugees goes to Europe 3) Trump complaints Europe pays to little of the war materiel, totally forgets Europe instead pays for all of those millions refugees the USA are the reason for Even at school for kids with special needs you could find plenty of students who knows their maths better than mr Trump and his followers

  154. "Mr. Stoltenberg countered that “despite differences,” NATO was about uniting “to protect and defend each other.” But Mr. Trump shrugged off the collective defense principle, saying, “How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against?” " Mr Trump should remember that NATO troops protected the United States from that superpower, Afghanistan. "Currently there are about 500 British troops in the country, providing security in Kabul and training at the Afghan Officer Academy." Even Australia is protecting the United States and putting its best foot forward. "Operation Slipper is notable for the first Australian combat deaths since the Vietnam War, and to date all casualties have occurred during operations in Afghanistan. 41 Australian soldiers have been killed and 261 wounded, the majority since October 2007." So clearly NATO is good for SOMETHING (smile).

  155. Money is at the root of these problems. According to the NATO link given in this article, Europe's richest country, Germany, pays 1.24% of its GDP for defense. In 2017 Germany had a record budget surplus of over 36 billion euros (nearly $45 billion), so it does not seem that the German government is strapped for cash. With these figures, the U.S. government believes it is entitled to criticize the German government for a lack of financial commitment to NATO.

  156. Because we took on the refugees American wars set free in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya .

  157. Money is at the root of the problem, all right. How much did Putin spend to buy Donald Trump and propagandize the masses to get his so-called "victory" in the 2016 election? Probably about the same amount the Russians spent to do the same thing with the Brexit election. Electronic media make it easier than ever to sway the uninformed with lies they want to believe, especially when aimed at "the other". The other race, the other nationality, those who speak a different language, those who marry their own gender, those with a different haircut, those with different color eyes, those who don't own lots of firearms . . . .

  158. Germany trades with Russia and obtains a modicum of natural gas. The United States has helped to turn China into an industrial juggernaut, and the U.S. Treasury is like a heroin addict begging Chinese bond purchasers for another fix. So, Mr. Trump, your point is...?

  159. Hey, Mr. Trump is the biggest deal maker in the world. He will fix that problem. And the Earth is a slice....

  160. For those who believe the Cold War is truly over, then a break from NATO might make sense. It seems that Putin wants the Cold War to go on, so NATO is absolutely necessary and will save the US money down the road by avoiding a costly war against Russia. Putin will likely not think twice about taking over boarder states if the US shows itself to not be willing to defend those countries.

  161. After Jim Baker and George Bush (senior) promised Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not be moved "one inch" to the east if the Soviet Union (Russia) allowed us to include East Germany in NATO (a united Germany), we promptly broke that promise and continued the Cold War ourselves by moving NATO into Eastern Europe. Let's dispense with the myths and get the history straight. Then we then began deploying NATO forces on Russia's borders. This all occurred before any Russian (or American) meddling in the Ukraine (which the U.S. also wanted as a NATO member). Why do you think the Russians reacted the way that they did? We've been provoking them for decades. And a war with Russia would not only cost us a few bucks but might also cost us a few limbs as well (maybe a little reality included with the history lesson). We could have had fairly friendly and cordial relations with Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, but chose to make enemies out of them instead by trying to control Eastern Europe. The thought of nuclear war with non-communist Russia? What idiocy. The Russians may have their faults (like any other nation), but it's also time we took a good look in the mirror - preferably ignoring the propaganda while we're at it. We went looking for trouble in that part of the world and found it.

  162. The United States spends more on its military than the next 10 world nations combined. Is this necessary? I suspect the other NATO nations think not.

  163. In June, Trump arrived late to the G7 gender equality breakfast. Today, Trump embarrassed himself at the NATO breakfast. Eye rolling chief of staff John Kelly was looking at the ceiling. Without a hint of irony, Trump claimed a pipeline project rendered Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia. He repeated himself with the same endless phrases, acting as if he was hurting for money. (Turns out he wanted the U.S. to have that pipeline to Russia.) "Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made," he had tweeted Tuesday--demanding "Will they reimburse the U.S.?" You'd think Mattis, Kelly or Pompeo would explain to Trump that the 2 % represents the amount each nation will endeavor to spend on its own defense, not a specific payment to NATO ---or the U.S. It is utterly embarrassing.

  164. So pleased to hear the U.S. has sent its’ chief spokesperson to straighten out Western Europe now that he has North America inbroiled in economic warfare. Seems the main U.S. export has become hubris & hollow bluster.

  165. And this coming from the biggest cheat of all. Filing for bankruptcies, stiffing employees, a travesty of a "University" that duped hard-working people out of their money and education. The list goes on.

  166. It is time for our NATO allies to fire back and criticize our pitiful social spending and the obsequious devotion that our leaders show toward our military-industrial complex.

  167. Trump blasts Germany for being dependent on Russian energy while ordering our European allies to stop buying Iranian oil. While the US and Russia (and former Soviet Union) have greatly undermined Europe's security with all the blow back from their proxy wars in the Middle East. If anything Trump's moves will only make Europe more dependent on Russian and US energy. Is this criticism of Germany not a ruse on Trump's part to cover for his plan to ally more closely with Putin? To drive up the price of oil to benefit Russia and US energy interests?

  168. Why is "defense spending" even considered a need in a world which could evaporate under the assault of nuclear weapons in a matter of hours? A world in which almost 25% of us are undernourished. If our male world leaders would stop their posturing and get on with the business of making this world which belongs to all of us more equitable for all of us instead of enriching themselves exclusively, this childish back and forth would stop. As it is these are men still playing their little boy games of cops and robbers and making everyone else pay for the ammunition in their anything but, toy guns. Meanwhile Asia gets on with the business of business and is slowly and steadily buying up the world. Collectively these guys, our world leaders, are in need of major organ donations, starting with the brain. The rest of us would do well to learn Mandarin.

  169. Germany? Close ties to Russia? The guy's campaign had more contacts with Russians than every presidential campaign in US history combined. Oh, wait, all the others had zero. Well, that's logical. Why would a campaign for the US presidency need to have interactions with Russia? Ever think about that?

  170. TREASON At what point does the disruptive behavior of Trump toward allies and alliances constitute aiding and abetting the enemy: treason?

  171. Trump desperately wants a war. With Nato, China, North Korea ... with anyone really, except Russia. One has to wonder why he so desperately needs a war.

  172. Yes, you right. As you infer, a sitting POTUS is rarely defeated in a time of war or VERY large crisis.

  173. Well, #1 Putin wants him to start a war to disrupt the West and because it would make Trump feel like a man....sad but true. Odd that Vietnam War era draft dodgers are often so hot to send others to wars of choice......strange but true.

  174. How many $ is it worth, that the US gets to fight Russia on European soil rather than on US soil? How much does the US spend on defence, after you subtract the cost of the war/occupation of Iraq? The US ('W') started that war based on lies, and for no good reason. And I would like to remind everyone, that the governments of France, Germany, etc. told the US at the time the GWB-administration was starting this totally unneccessary war, that it was just lies, and that there was no reason to go to war. This is not monday-morning-quarterbacking or hindsight or anything.

  175. It is time that Europe should break from NATO. Europe is strong in hi-tech,sends satellites in space,makes fighter planes and submaines. There are nations equipped with nuclear missiles - France,and the UK. Europe can very well defend itself. Why does the US think that Germany will toe its policies - every nation is independent to have its own foreign policy. Europe needs gas from Russia,in winter.

  176. The end product will be that Germany, France and all of Europe will ignore USA and begin a military buildup unduplicated in history, Europe will incite each other toward strength dominance unlike any period in history. US troops can readily come home and the German military will number in the millions. Once, the US wanted to dominate military readiness ( For obvious advantage ) however things change rapidly. The ability of Germany to crank up industry is well known and indominable. Germany will not allow the Russian Bear to growl.

  177. Never mind the World Cup and Wimbledon, Trump wielding his wrecking ball is the big game to watch. Will Trump's first words to Putin in Helsinki be "mission accomplished master"?

  178. Now hand over the tapes.......all of them. I need extra copies for Melania, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter.

  179. Trump is a tool of Putin. In the roll that he is playing, he is a useful idiot and a mouth piece of Russian foreign policy. Yesterday, the US senate voted 97-2 reaffirming the US commitment to NATO. This vote was non- binding, but if Trump interferes with NATO, congress must rise to fulfill it's constitutional duty to protect the constitution and remove this ignorant fool.

  180. Bullying Ms. Merkel with these tirades is no good idea. Then her actual problem not to listen when she should is no issue. In contrary: In these situations her well known outstanding ability not take notice and her core competence to sit things out by a stubbornness without compare is her greatest feature . Especially when it comes to such baloney her stunning ability to ignore what she is told and to stay at the table when all others are exhausted is still unbeatable - particularly when the "wild man" will be gone afterwards. BTW: Exactly this is the reason she was elected anyhow...

  181. Trump is the only politician or president who has the courage to say what is true: the United States taxpayers, in large part, foot the bill for Europe's defense. We receive smiles and handshakes in return. There is nothing sacrosanct about NATO. We are under no obligation to Europe. It's best that the alliance continues, but the members are now put on notice: show your gratitude by paying up.

  182. Zugzwang, Your opinion here is noted. Often times we form opinions based on "ideas" far from reality. But there is a way to check those opinions. The historic mission of NATO and it's funding principles can easily be found, in members own national websites, volumes of books and other media, along with the NATO website itself. From this, and informed observation arrived at through data and understanding of this topic can be made. Our "Dear Leader" has not done his homework on NATO and his available tutors/handlers could help, but won't as it is easier (and funner) to let study hall be a giant and loud free for all. So once more, the apprentice POTUS who thinks he's cool, will again be a fool.

  183. So, will you admit that you do not want the USA to be the leader of the free world? It’s ok, just admit the truth then we can move on. Once America decides it does not want to be leader of the free world, then all sorts of wishful thinking can happen - don’t need nuclear weapons, don’t need a wall just put all those tanks from S Korea and Germany on our southern border, close all the embassies, etc, etc. Then we can give the 1% an even bigger tax cut.

  184. Putting words in someone's mouth---that's arguing against a "straw man" (that you set up)--a fallacy by the rules of logic.? You conflate "leader of the free world" with our insistence that the NATO members pay up. That that's equivalent is far-fetched.

  185. This will come as news to Trump, but businesses like mine generate more than half their sales from Europe. At least we do today. This one man wrecking crew approach to diplomacy is not going over well and puts American jobs at risk.

  186. Did you vote for Trump? Did the tax cut help you? If you answered yes to both questions, you are partly to blame.

  187. @Jack: Nearly all of my clients are in Europe and I find myself apologizing to most of them frequently for some dumb thing that Trump said or did. I'm terrified that he is going to ruin my business entirely.

  188. Trump’s supporters will be cheering. Their King Trump has spoken. Never mind he has embarrassed the United States and scoffed our years of being allies with NATO. He was even able to sneak in a lie about NATO not owning up to paying their bills. Would anyone be surprised?

  189. Credit where credit is due. Trump is providing a shining example of constituent service. Unfortunately for us those constituents live in Vladivostok, etc.

  190. I can't really grasp how a (rightly) proud and independent people like that of the USA can stomach having a president that is obviously an agent working for a foreign power.

  191. Bruno, Millions can not stomach this. But a Republican coup d'etat has taken place. Perhaps if this exposes all the corruption, eventually we can move forward with some basic lessons learned and embodied.

  192. Why would you think we do? Don't you read the posts?

  193. And the party that controls the legislative branch, which is supposed to be a check on the president, does all it can to aid and abet him.

  194. I am very interested in the Ukraine discussion and sessions tomorrow... Was the 2004 'hold' for NATO membership because of Russian hands deep in the pockets of the Ukraine gov't? That is not the case in 2018. Here's a current strategy suggestion: now that Ukraine's Donesk region secession is at a stalemate, they should allow it to be grafted to Russia. Then, join NATO, and the Black Sea will have protection from the Russian Navy. Turkey and Ukraine would benefit the most with a new NATO country.

  195. The US defense budget covers a lot of ground, including wars Europe opposed (excepting the UK) that have destabilized an entire region, generated the ISIS threat and war, but perhaps most critical for Europe, the migration of refugees. It is about time Europe factors in the collateral costs of US unilateralism and failed foreign policies.

  196. ”They’re delinquent...” continues to exemplify the semantic surrealism, voiced and written by many, many elected and selected policymakers. Local, regional, national and global, who each of US permit and enable to be personably unaccountable for their harmful words and deeds. Daily! In our enabling such “delinquency” we ourselves become complicit in the creation of unnecessary pains. And at times even deaths.The Trumps, and their minions, wherever, can’t and don’t exist without our enabling THEM.

  197. "Germany is totally controlled by Russia..." - Trump. One has to love the irony in this statement from Trump who got elected with the help of of Russia. Trump is controlled by Putin and no one will convince a lot of Americans otherwise.

  198. Susan I haven't seen any evidence Russia did anything except assumptions by 3 Intel group. You know those groups that assured us Saddam had nukes primed for NYC. Getting indictments for some financial chicanery in Ukraine that supposedly happened 12 years ago by some Trump associates is not a sign of 2016 collusion. We loved Wikileaks for exposing US misdeeds under Bush but now hate it for exposing Clinton misdeeds under Obama. Btw Obama did nothing to stop this meddling and even you can't deny that.

  199. The NSA, FBI, CIA, the Director of National Intelligence and the bi-partisan Senate committee all concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Not to mention the meetings with Russians held in Trump Tower which Donald Trump Jr. confirmed took place. Clearly you have not been paying attention.

  200. Larry, All of our intelligence services and our highest military leaders agreed Russia did interfere. Sadam and nukes on NYC? No.

  201. Germany? Close ties to Russia? The guy's campaign had more contacts with Russians than every presidential campaign in US history combined. Oh, wait, all the others had zero. Well, that's logical. Why would a campaign for the US presidency need to have interactions with Russia? Ever think about that?

  202. Even if Trump were a self-declared mole for Russia, he could not be doing a better job undermining NATO and the West. This is insulting to our allies and the people of our own country. Who does this? A person who does not care......a person who is held in the palm of Putin's hand for a reason yet to be revealed by Mueller's investigation.

  203. Would it surprise anyone to learn that Germany has the largest positive trade balance in the world? And that Russia considers Germany its greatest adversary in the world? Any connection to the disrespect Trump personally shoes Merkel and Germany?

  204. Doesn't the US and Trump owe $1 Trillion to China?

  205. I don't know that that is such a bad thing. China owns US Treasury securities. and of course China does sell lot of goods to the US. So think about it: you do not want your bank or your buyers to suffer a collapse - you're an investor. If China simply collects their money and stops investing, then we might have a crisis.

  206. Why are our representatives NOT speaking up against Trump? Is everyone in bed with Putin?

  207. Re-election is more important than loyalty to their country.

  208. Trump has a real point when it comes to German dependence on Russian oil and gas. Especially gas. And how Germany effectively funds the Russian State. The Germans have had their heads in the sand on energy independence for decades. The French run tremendously successful, safe and secure nuclear power plants. The Germans? Nein Danke! The German solar program is wonderful but it gets awfully dark and cloudy in Deutschland in the long months of fall, winter and early spring.

  209. Who is dependent on whom? Germany? Or Russia? Russia which is a petro state with no economy completely dependent on oil and gas sales? Germany could source natural gas from around the world. It would just be more expensive. If Trump still had Tillerson he could explain him that oil freight by sea is a lot cheaper than natural gas freight and the reason Europe doesn't buy shale gas from the USA is simply the price.

  210. Gas and oil pipeline rates beat sea freight rates.

  211. I wonder if the US considered itself captive to Saudi Arabia and the othermiddle east petro states back before shale gas? I sat in some very long gas lines back in the day. But we can’t expect Trump to remember that.

  212. As if it were needed, Donald Trump proceeds to demonstrate, once again, that he has no concept of irony and absolutely no shame. Germany captive to Russia? Donald Trump declaring someone to be a captive of Russia? I am truly living in some bizarro world.

  213. Agreed. We're through the looking-glass here, people.

  214. Our beloved fake-president plainly communicates the little he knows; and brags. Bragging and lying render him easy to read. He knows captivation, so captivation comes to mind, and he speaks of it. Our fake-president bragged of fixes, fancying he was warning his enemies, so fix came to mind before the last November election. He spoke fixing plainly. In consequence, patriotic Americans switched from the Republican Party. One can switch without giving away one’s vote. The press does not write about those changes because election bureaus here are traditionally secretive, but people talk.

  215. I fear dying in one.

  216. So, as Europe Increases it's NATO spending, the president will itemize the resulting cuts we can make in our military spending. Is that correct? Seems like it would be. Can we spend the savings on Americans? Educational opportunities. Infrastructure. Innovative energy ideas like other countries are investing in? Show me the money.

  217. How many men has the US sacrificed defending NATO countries after NATO was formed? Ask the parents, spouses, siblings, and children of soldiers from those NATO countries fallen while cooperating with the US in its wars of choice in Iran and Afghanistan the price paid.

  218. In training accidents in and over NATO countries since ww2 we have lost far more people than our partners have in our stupid wars in AF-Iraq.

  219. The meme that the USA would be richer if it weren't paying for the world's defense is popular in Trump's base ... just like the meme that Main Street has been decimated by an invasion at the Mexican border. Trump's policy preferences vis-a-vis NATO can't be inferred from his bombast any more than his statements on North Korea reveal where those negotiations have been, are, or are going. He always begins with serious bombast and personal attacks to build a smokescreen that conceals the lack of substance that follows the name-calling. And then he claims great success under all that smoke. This is his opening midterm election campaign tour.

  220. Again, there continues to be a single, simple and effective thing that Trump, the US, Europe, and NATO can do to in one fell swoop address all of the outstanding questions while also reaffirming their commitment to principle: invite Ukraine (and perhaps Georgia) to join NATO on an accelerated (matter of months) timetable. Ukraine would agree to this even if it meant effectively surrendering Crimea and parts of Donbass to the Russian invaders as it would allow them to finally be forward looking and would ironically make the formerly nonsensical claims of Putin's fearmongering propagandists come true. The Russian people would see clearly that Putin was less the man who "cleverly won" Crimea, but more then man who recklessly lost Ukraine to the west (and his great Eurasian Economic Union is in shambles). Ukraine would meet all NATO obligations and there is zero - ZERO - danger of Putin attacking a NATO country while Article 5 is in place. Ukraine has tremendous unrealized economic potential - and this would signal to western countries and to ukrainians alike that the conditions are right to build it up in safety. It would be a great win to all but Putin and requires precious little from the west except for the strength of character and commitment to principles to see it through.

  221. What is disturbing when reading these comments - Rosamaria Consoli for example - is how many people have swallowed the Trump propaganda: "Mr. Trump might be the only politician to tell the truth.." Gratuitous references to other 20th century autocratic regimes where true believers - and fanatics - would believe anything, are met with opprobrium. But their comparison to Trump seems irresistible now.

  222. Also take note that many of them hide behind fake names too.

  223. What has soft talk and behind the scenes "diplomacy" with our NATO allies gotten in regards the imbalance of monies spent by the U.S. vs the other members of NATO. Maybe its a systemic clash now, (Cradle to grave vs self responsability?) The U.S. is always the dominant player, both in action and monies spent, whenever there is an important situation that need be taken anywhere in the world. The President speaks the truth, most of the EU doesn't want to hear it for obvious reasons.

  224. Perhaps the US spends more because they have a need to start wars in other countries to enrich the military industrial complex at home.

  225. So President Trump is the "enfant terrible" of world politics and everyone is offended. So what? Is is better that countries like Germany continue to rip us off? The Germans of all the countries can well afford to pay 2% of their annual budget for defense instead of their current 1%. With the exception of the Swiss, they are one of the thriftiest countries on the planet. They have the cash they just don't want to spend it. Why should the US have to continue to foot the bill for NATO's Defense? The Germans and the other allies know full well what they are doing. They are just stone walling us because they know that in the past we have been far too polite to say anything. Now, granted, if Trump was someone like FDR he could have charmed the birds right out of the trees and then maybe the NATO allies would gladly pay up. Trump does use what I call sledge hammer politics. He just doesn't have the patience for the slow process of wheedling and cajoling and all the arm twisting that goes along with politics. However, that having been said, maybe these countries need to be embarrassed. If I were a prim and proper European maybe I'd want to pay up just so I wouldn't have to be publicly embarrassed. If Angela Merkle can pay Billions to Russia for fuel, why can't they afford a few dollars more to pay the 2% instead of their current 1%? Trump is correct on this one. Is he diplomatic? Of course not. But sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make the omlette.

  226. So it's ok to be a bully and to lie, as long as there are a few good points? This seems to be the philosophy of the Republican party. If you read the story you see that we aren't "owed" money.

  227. Boy, you've never cooked. A good omelet is made by someone with skill and/or experience. Trump has neither. His omelet is just raw eggs and egg shells all over the place.

  228. Most people do not like egg shells in their "omelette".

  229. Remind me again how many times has Trump been sued for non payment? The fact that Trump thinks he can lecture anyone about not paying their bills is laughable.

  230. At any other time a history of nonpayment of debts would be detrimental to the president. Somehow we have entered a"Twilight Zone", where it doesn't appear to matter.

  231. When Trump talks, NATO members shrug. Why? Because they know Trump is a bellicose liar. They also know that his Presidency, wracked by serious investigations and high turnover, is clouded by possible Russian interference/collusion, and that articles of impeachment will be drawn after the GOP loses the House this fall. More to the point, as Trump was berating NATO, the Senate overwhelmingly (97-2) passed a resolution in support of NATO. The Donald show jumped the shark. Time for the clown to step down, change the channel, and let the adults get back to governing.

  232. I am dismayed to see comments that dismiss the diplomatic successes, national security, and bulwark against an expansionist Russia/former USSR that NATO has helped ensure. Such comments also seem ignorant of what NATO military forces do to aid American interests. A world without NATO would be much less secure. Americans need to read more history and fewer of Trump’s misleading and erroneous tweets.

  233. Yes in general, Americans need to read more history. But when you have a person in the white house that admits he knows everything without the benefit of reading and a base that, in some cases, can't read, history is just a word and not something to be studied.

  234. If anything, he’s the last guy that should be talking about people who don’t pay their fair share.

  235. How did the USA accumulate a debt of 20 trillion dollars from the end of world war II until Trump took office in 2017? It did so by spending on defense of not just the NATO countries but fighting the cold war and the wars against terrorism and useless wars.

  236. Along with eroding our tax base by letting the rich off easy.

  237. JP from Morrobay. You are right the millionaires and billionaires have been eroding our tax base well before Trump took office. These rich got off easy and have not become billionaires and millionaires overnight after Trump took office.

  238. The U.S. used to have a vital interest deploying U.S. armed forces into Germany. Germany was a designated U.S. warzone in lieu of the U.S. homeland. Maybe Mr. Trump will soon stop to bully the E.U. including Germany.

  239. It is nothing less than revolting watching Trump's behavior at NATO. The drumbeat and bullying about too little spending by the allies. Absurd lecturing on the dependence on Russia. Language that would be offensive to adversaries, let alone allies. One reason for this is obvious: this is Trump posturing in a big way to his base, pretending to defend taxpayer dollars (even as he dismantles medical insurance, lavishes tax breaks on the rich, brings about job losses and price increases through his trade wars). Another reason is his sheer incompetence and malignant narcissism. The big question remains: how much of this is a plain service to Putin? Is the POTUS 2018 under Russian blackmail?? Is he in a chokehold of an evidence, videos, in possession of the FSB, a clear possibility after discoveries of the dossier and others?

  240. Trump is either doing Putin's bidding or he simply has no concept of the importance of NATO in the world's history. One must read to understand history. I hope our NATO allies can weather the Trump storm. Muller will finish his work soon. Sooner or llater Trump will no longer be President and America can start cleaning up Trump's mess.

  241. NATO was important. Right up until 1992. After that it searched for a real to exist and most of its members used it as an excuse to take an ax to their military. It should have been given a big retirement party and replaced with something that met the post cold war needs.

  242. As he transforms the US from ally to adversary he urges those whom he would have as his opponents to arm themselves.... with American weapons!

  243. So he blows a 1 billion dollar hole in the U.S. budget, and worries about the nickles and dimes we're losing over there? As always, doing Putin's bidding.

  244. Trillion, not billion, sadly.

  245. 1 trillion dollar hole!

  246. Every single day is HARROWING with Trump. A HORROR. As an American who speaks fluent German I can't rid myself of my NYC accent. I wish I could these days since every single day I have had more than several reasons to feel shame. All of my reasons can be summed up in one word: TRUMP. I feel sick that he's here. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way.

  247. There are millions who feel precisely the same. Hang in there.

  248. We're all sick that he's there.

  249. Trust me you aren't alone! We're all feel ashamed that this pathetic, philistine creature seats in Oval Office. I'm rereading 3rd time my favorite book by Stefan Zweig "The World of Yesterday." I'm sure you're familiar with this memoir of brilliant Jewish-Austrian writer. I came from the USSR one of the most terrible destructive regime, I'm sure he would find it a perfect fit. So ashamed to be an american right now. Complete and utter disgrace.

  250. trump really has it out for Angela Merkel, I guess its because she is for what he is against. It seems he is trying to influence the collapse of her government. He should take heed if the old saying "people in glass houses should not throw stones" because trumps own government and intelligence agency agree Russia put him in power, he is a puppet of Putin. If trump wants to throw around his fake news and insults at this meeting our Europe allies should call him out on his ties to Russia, my advice to them, stop being so nice!!!!

  251. If you think about it Angela Merkel is the complete opposite of Trump. She is a women, she comes from Eastern Germany, she believes in study and thought, she has a PhD in Quantum Chemistry, she likes to slowly build consensus around her solutions... You could go on and on...

  252. And of course another thing Trump hates is that Merkel is a powerful WOMAN!

  253. Angela Merkel does not "slowly build consensus around her solutions". She decided to open the country's borders to over a million un-vetted migrants in 2015 without giving the Germans any say in that matter.

  254. "Germany was 'captive to Russia'" Donald Trump has a fascinating and strange habit of accusing others of things that apply to himself. I'd be embarrassed to constantly accuse others of faults and shortcomings that are obviously part of my own character and personality, and would thus refrain from doing so. E.g. if I were habitually late (I'm not) I wouldn't go out of my way to chew out others for being habitually late. It's almost as if essential elements of being human were never installed in Donald Trump's brain.

  255. It's called projection and is typical of narcissists.

  256. Regarding Germany's purchase of Russian gas keep in mind that Germany is moving quickly in its use of renewable energy. Currently Germany generates 36% of it's electricity from renewables. as compared to only 15% in the US. No doubt Trump would prefer the Germany burn coal rather than cleaner gas. If Germany is "totally controlled by Russia" then I guess we are totally controlled by Saudi Arabia.

  257. Last month counted (Apr. 2018) the US imported 904,000 barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia. How much oil was consumed in the US that month? What amount of fossil fuels were consumed by the Federal German Republic; What amount came from Russia? Larger questions include: Why aren't our allies pulling their weight in this alliance? and, Why do we still caste Russia as our enemy? For crying out loud, the cold war is over! We (the West) won. Learn how to win.

  258. You may not be so far off; this was particularly true in Trump's earlier, formative years.

  259. We should be questioning the power that is placed in the presidency in our country. The executive branch has too much power to make decisions that affect us all with no basis and very little control. The presidents power should be democratic and not a dictatorship.

  260. It is our weak congress that allows this power grab. Don't blame Trump alone as he is facing an abdicated congress.

  261. You may want to read the Constitution. Article I powers pretty clear. Did you say the same when Obama was president?

  262. Interesting that you generally only hear these complaints when a Repub is in the White House. Never heard when Obama was getting us into conflicts.

  263. Not sure who is putting the words into his mouth, but he can't possibly be coming up with this stuff on his own. He's the Siberian Candidate.

  264. "Mr. Trump kicked off his meetings on a contentious note..." So what else is new? This runaway train of a president is actually getting worse in the second year of his term. Somehow he feels embolden to air self-concocted grievances, partially based on fact, but more in terms of someone who hasn't a clue about what NATO is, has been, could be. Look I know I'm terribly biased because of my antipathy for this man, but to watch him bumbling around on the world stage, insulting allies and cuddling up to strongmen seems surreal. Recently I've come to feel there is something stronger here with his relationship with Vladimir Putin than mere envy for his absolute power or even because he's somehow compromised by the Russian state. His behavior has all the markings of a clownish Russian asset, doing their bidding, never crossing them in public, continually taking private calls from Putin with no readouts. And nobody except the left and some independents finds this absolutely incredible, strange, and totally embarrassing? It's as if a drunken uncle were taking a dinner party hostage and instead of being thrown out or led upstairs to sleep it off, continues to crash into china and yell non-fact-based insults at every single guest. Because it's too strange without some explanation of a long-term relationship with Russia, I rest my case.

  265. Donald Trump is continuing to sow discord and division amongst our NATO allies. This can only weaken NATO's will to win, in any confrontation with Russia. This indicates to me that Donald Trump is on the side of the Russians. He wants the Russians to win, and our NATO allies to lose. I believe he is out to destroy Europe as we know it. How can the Free World continue to tolerate this, and not be in eminent danger? We must [constitutionally] remove President Trump from office as soon as possible!

  266. Would any bonafide traitor be able to do better? Have to wonder what's in it for him; Trump does nothing if not for himself.

  267. It is correct to expect a change to what has been a long term free ride for those members of NATO not paying their agreed upon share. Twenty two of twenty eight countries are not in compliance. You may find it distasteful because it's Donald Trump doing this, but that's your problem. He won, get over it.

  268. Try to imagine the Republican reaction if any Democratic president had said or done what Trump has to our allies and adversaries. The US has been well compensated for it's investment in NATO. Because of our defense Hegemony, our currency is the world standard. Oil is traded in US dollars, which gives us an huge advantage over other currencies who must adjust their currencies to ours when prices sway. It also means that we set the value of our debt. While the inflation that would result would be devastating to the US economy to do so, we could still wipe it away ourselves by changing the value of our currency. While Trump provokes our traditional allies, and coddles some adversaries (Russia) while provoking others (China), China stands ready to assume the US role in the world economy. We will be ones who can't afford membership in NATO if the Chinese Yuan becomes the currency standard. And our 21 Trillion dollar government debt and $1.5 trillion dollar a year deficits will become very real, very quickly.

  269. He hasn't won much, a snowflake in the long run - or snowball, will melt away. The yapping about euro defence costing US taxpayers could easily be turned up side down. Who cleanes the middle east mess if not Europe, taking care of a million refugees. Aim seem to be to weaken EU as much as possible , might not happen but might make the Atlantic seem wider and the road to Chinaand India/Iran shorter.

  270. Did you read the story? The idea of free ride isn't accurate. The percentages and the fact that anyone "owes" us money is not true. Frankly Trump cares about none of the actual issues but he does care that this sort of "we've been cheated" rhetoric is popular with his supporters.

  271. See the top 10 defense spenders of NATO based on GDP: It's USA, UK, France (i.e. countries with super-power aspirations and large military industries) plus 7 countries that are next to potentially aggressive neighbors. I.e. nobody throws money in defense, unless they have some perceived return from their investment. The USA military spending is largely to maintain the domestic military industries that would shrink or collapse otherwise, leading to recession. So essentially, Trump asks other countries to subsidize the USA military industries so he doesn't have to do it using US budget.

  272. He Is in a true one trick pony -- repeating himself, ranting, alienating those we have much in common with, praising enemies. The sign of a man for whom EVERYONE is an enemy or a potential one. A man for whom a "friend" is someone who is subservient and willing to accept any level of personal humiliation to be in Trump's circle. In the end,of course, no self respecting person will deal with him. Plus - Trump attacks when there is absolutely nothing to be gained. For the country, that is. For himself, there's always the headline, soundbites, Fox praise and a new line for his next "rally." I am utterly dismayed that the Republican Senators with experience are not standing up disowning him and his statements. It isn't terribly reassuring that seasoned men - ones who have been in on foreign policy for years - will not stand up for policies they believe in for fear of alienating his supporters in the very short term. They'd sell out the country to keep on his good side? They're OK with the US 's diminishing influence (in trade as well) and loss of allies, under a liar who creates crises rather than deal with real problems? A thought: the Wild Boars and the divers who saved them dominated the news for over a week. IS THIS Trump's preschool tantrum because HE wasn't getting enough attention? Is that what we are controlled by? Can we give him a nanny and lock him in a room with fake streaming news featuring no one but him for the next 2 years? Or get him out of office . .

  273. Cheryl, When it comes to Trump, the businessman Trump, I know I'm looking at, and hearing, what we call in the real estate world, "an operator, an hard, cold, calculating operator, one who knows that the end justifies the means, and regardless any perceived adverse consequences, he will never consider them, never, unless new information weakens his hand. Remember, he grew up in the game, he huffs, puffs, and bluffs, and regardless how the cards turn up, he plays, win, lose or draw. Any other way to understand Trump, is useless. Hard to deal with, but as the NATO gods are finding out, Trump is God, for the moment.

  274. It's simply uncanny how those on the left, (Trump haters) have no idea how much negative coverage of Trump there actually is. The U.S. has forged the world's path both economically and culturally for 100 years and the socialists who are heading to Washington on behalf of the democrats want to take control of that future. That Vlad sits in the Kremlin both laughing at this system and that posssibility and praying those "weak" leftists take power in 2020 is the most frightening thing I can possibly imagine.

  275. I support the President. I agree that the NATO countries must spend more on their protection. The USA has been a patsy for too long. I can understand the need for NATO when the USSR (Soviet Union) and its Eastern European allies posed a threat to Western Europe. But now that threat, largely due to President Ronald Reagan, is over and many of the Eastern European allies of the former USSR are members of NATO themselves as well as the Baltic states. In many ways NATO has served its usefulness; its original "raison d'etre" no longer exists. Russia is not the USSR. Most people have no clue about Russian history, unless they took a Russian history course in college. They don't appreciate that fact that Russia and the USSR are two entirely different political/historical entities, although the terms "Russia" and the "Soviet Union" were used interchangeably throughout the Cold War. Russia's current behavior is much like that of it's during the days of the Russian Empire. I hope President Trump tells NATO like is; that the free ride is over; its time to take personal responsibility. And hopefully his meeting his Vladimir Putin will yield successful results, similar to those garnered from the Trump-Kim summit earlier this year. As Bob Dylan wrote and sang, "The times are a-changin'." I support the President. I support Trump. He has triumphed. And may he continue to triumph through 2024. Thank you.

  276. I hope this country can afford this reckless behavior. I am sure you will defend it by joining the military.

  277. In the history of NATO only one nation has ever invoked article 5 (- an attack on one member is an attack on all members). That was the US. Every member was at the ready and send troops and support with the US in its subsequent actions. Your military knows this. They knew who were there when they needed help. Hence there's not a member in the entire US forces your hear spouting this drivel.

  278. I'm interested to hear your views on the "successful results, similar to those garnered from the Trump-Kim summt..." 45 conceded more than he got, got played by NK state television, then was caught being his normal, misrepresenting (lying) self when he claimed the that the NK threat is over only to be revealed a liar (*gasp*) as they kicked up nuclear production (unless this is another instance where Trump and his supporters think our intelligence agencies are "Deep State"). So much winning!...I hardly think 45 managing to not stagnate what was already a steadily growing economy (yet) and somehow avoid throwing us into a war of his own creation is "triumph".

  279. Of course the US has higher military expenditures than the other NATO nations, but it has used that imbalance to its advantage throughout its days as the leading global power. Only the US has the mass of military bases, Air Force hardware and ships floating around the globe 24/7. This is expensive but it also gives the US its direct presence in every nook and cranny outside Russia, China and North Korea, and fairly quick access to those nations if needed. In the past, it allowed the US to influence nations' policies quickly and launch military invasions and covert activities. Every empire throughout history has aid higher military costs as part of the tradeoff of retaining its influence. So...what's the decision: global presence and influence or falling behind China and Russia? You can't have both.

  280. Robert, as I have been for years and continually comment here and everywhere: "We can't be an Empire"

  281. Alan, I am with you 100%. I have lived and traveled as my family was posted overseas. The US is an empire, and it makes choices in the process. Healthcare or empire? Education or empire? Social Security or empire? We had a chance to create a global "pax" based on trade, but now it has all slipped back to the lowest common denominators of populist self-interest and unilateral power. And in that scenario, demonstrating might at any cost is a prerequisite to positioning.

  282. Here’s another view:the US spends far too much on military. Cut the $700billion defense budget by $100b-$200b. Spend it on infrastructure including jobs for veterans.

  283. With all his negative impulses and unending gruelling Trump's behaviour at the Brussels NATO summit is akin to the proverbial bull in the China shop or else his presence is like an elephant in the NATO summit room.

  284. This all reminds me of my idle-curiosity-bound efforts to communicate with and make sense of the schizophrenics found on the street around here. However, those people don't seem to have any ulterior motives. I made a previous comment that the Man(child) reminds me of a psychopathic acquaintance. Trump reverses the Zoroastrian credo. His is "bad thoughts bad words bad deeds".

  285. Elect a mob boss, expect a mob boss approach to diplomacy (none).

  286. Defense spending? Bologna (or in newspeak, baloney)! The NY Times has succumbed, rather completely, to the propaganda concocted by America's warrior class. Changing the name of the USA's War Department to the "Defense Department," was a brilliant beginning of an effort opened the floodgates to drench our war industries, and those that own them, with an inundation of previously unimaginable amounts of public funding. Spend more money for offensive, NATO allies hear when any USA president yells "Spend more on defense." USA federal government spending is weighted heavily on the side of offensive capability (killing tools and those that "man" them) rather than "defense." Stop calling it "defense" spending. It is "offensive" spending that is draining taxpayers' coffers. Where is the more accurate plea: "We need to spend more on "offense?" The USA today spends more on wartyime spending, and sells more to other countries, than any other nation. "The U.S. outpaces all other nations in military expenditures. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total. U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined." (https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/us-military-spending-vs-wor... 'More money for defense?" A propoganda sandwich of pure bologna.

  287. I felt like crying as I watched the clips of Trump's churlishness at the first NATO meeting. It is not only embarrassing it is frightening to have this OAF as POTUS. I do not exaggerate when I say that my health, physically and mentally, has been harmed by this administration. I worry not so much for me as I do for my children and grandchildren. Shame on the Republican Party. Shame on his supporters.

  288. So many people drinking the Fox Kool-Aid on this . With great wealth comes great responsibility period. This is what has made America great.

  289. Germany does buy nearly 50% of its energy from Russia. What happens if they suddenly shut supplies? Germany closed many of nuclear plants. He does have a point there. Even Obama argued this point before less abrasively though.