Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Donald Trump says he expects to find United Kingdom in 'turmoil' during visit

Donald Trump says he expects to find United Kingdom in 'turmoil' during visit

President Trump called-out European Union member states for their "big tariffs" against U.S. goods Tuesday, saying America loses over $150 billion in "unfair" trade with the EU as he departed for Europe.

With his escalating complaints that the United States contributes more than its fair share to defense, and vague threats to countries that do not spend more, Trump is diluting the alliance's appearance of unity, say diplomats and analysts. After all, NATO's main mission is to protect member states against outside threats, and right now one of those biggest threats is Putin's Russian Federation.

Kommersant's sources in the USA government say Washington is ready to incorporate these sentiments into a joint statement at the summit, but the White House wants a declaration (either in a separate document or a verbal statement) that the United States is concerned about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump administration wants a guarantee that Moscow won't meddle again.

President Donald Trump waves as he walks off after speaking with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Washington.

When asked if Putin was a friend or foe, Trump replied, "I really can't say right now - as far as I'm concerned, a competitor". "As far as I'm concerned, he's a competitor", he said, according to a pool report, "I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, is a good thing".

What can we expect from this week's summit in Brussels?

"The notion that America First Trump so obviously supports Brexit and one of its populist proponents is bound to give real pause for a lot of people, who are likely to conclude that if it's that great for the USA, then it will be at the expense of the U.K".

In the next Multi-annual Financial Framework, the European Commission proposes increasing defence and security spending to 27.5 billion euros - that would take up 2.4 percent of the total MFF budget. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all.

Trump said Johnson had been "very nice" and "very supportive".

Trump alarmed allies during a visit to Brussels a year ago when he did not specifically mention US backing for Article 5, but aides said later that USA support was assumed and did not have to be mentioned. "We're being taken advantage of by the European Union", he said, referring to trade issues with the EU.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies", Tusk said ahead of Trump's arrival Tuesday.

"The U.S. continues to be, by far, the biggest participant in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", he said, adding that the Pentagon has, in fact, "significantly increased defense spending in Europe".

Trump is to meet Putin in Helsinki next week in a summit that has generated much unease.

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