Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Donald Trump again says he’s a ‘very stable genius’ at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Donald Trump again says he’s a ‘very stable genius’ at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Despite his continued criticism of the transAtlantic pact, Trump on Wednesday signed the 23-page North Atlantic Treaty Organisation declaration, along with his 28 other allies, which reaffirmed the two percent goal to be reached by 2014.

Trump said he made his anger clear to allies on Wednesday. "It has been really wonderful to see the level of spirit in that room".

Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets.

When asked about that, Trump said he believed he could do that without Congressional approval but it was "not necessary".

"As with all our summits, sometimes the corridors, comments and tweets take on more importance than what is negotiated, said or endorsed by heads of state".

(From L to R, first row) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May attend the opening ceremony at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

"So we have a commitment to spend 2 per cent". He suggested an accelerated timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip".

By pointing out the close connections between Germany and Russian Federation on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and the degree to which they depend on each other financially, Trump was borrowing a page from his critics who suggest that because of Russia's interference in the 2016 election on his behalf, he is beholden to Putin. Most officials and the invited leaders of non-NATO Afghanistan and Georgia were ushered out. Is he your friend?

'And I said Putin may be the easiest of them all, you never know. Hopefully, someday, he'll be a friend.

As for what he and Putin will discuss, Trump said Syria will be a main topic - as will Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2016 election that put Trump in the White House.

"Quite frankly, this is a metric that was arrived at by political leadership because it is relatively simple to measure", he said. "Would I have allowed it to happen?"

Asked about Trump's suggestion, Stoltenberg said he'll focus on what's been agreed to. Let's see. No more nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, no more wars, no more problems, no more conflicts ... "I don't know that is what they voted for".

"We all agreed we have to deliver on that", Stoltenberg said, later saying: "We have agreed that we need to make good on the pledges we have made".

Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the United States now spends.

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