President claims victory in battle over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation cash

NATO leaders family

"Tremendous progress has been made, everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment, they're going to up it at levels they've never thought of before", Trump told a press conference before leaving for a visit to Britain. The leaders, including Trump, had signed on to a statement that highlighted agreement on a plan to improve the readiness and mobility of the armed forces across the Continent, and they agreed on tough language aimed at Moscow.

Germany's foreign minister rejected suggestions that Berlin could be browbeaten by U.S. President Donald Trump into hiking military spending, saying that his country would make its own "sovereign" decisions. Then, in a closed-door session with allies, he suggested that even spending the agreed-upon 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense wasn't enough. Only eight countries will hit the bar this year, and seven more have unveiled roadmaps to meet goal on time.

After days of calling on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to increase their defence spending to at least 2 per cent of their gross domestic product, accusing Germany of being "totally controlled" by Russian Federation and pondering "what good is North Atlantic Treaty Organisation?" The president began his visit with a blistering attack on Germany at a breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg Wednesday, claiming NATO's largest European country is "totally controlled by Russian Federation".

But on Thursday, Trump came ready to tussle.

The cold-war era military alliance has added billions to its budget since 2015, most of which has contributed to the militarization of areas around Russia's border.

At the end of the first session of a two-day summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the aim first was to reach 2 percent, but moments later Trump tweeted that allies were undercutting the USA on trade and needed to immediately boost spending.

"That's why we are pleased that based on the consultation we did with Canadians and our own defence policy review, we're moving forward with increasing by 70 per cent our defence investments over the coming decade". Well, things got real weird this time around with Macron trying to balance his (calculated?) friendship with the president with his relationship with the rest of his allies.

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is insisting that Georgia will one day join the world's biggest security alliance, despite separatist ambitions in parts of the former Soviet republic. "After we're at 2 percent, we'll start talking about going higher". But such a change would be subject to parliamentary approval, and another diplomat said no absolute commitment had been given. "It was the same wording as previous year", the official said.

Still, Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday.

So, to what new funding commitment is the president referring?

She said that the meeting was a continuation of what has been discussed for months.

Trump threw the summit into turmoil by demanding not only that allies reach their commitment to increase spending to two percent of GDP "immediately" - instead of by 2024 as previously agreed - but also telling them to eventually double the figure to a punishing four percent. "President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO", Macron told reporters. "Because I said it was unfair".

After the morning's drama, reporters were left to sort out just how far Trump was willing to push in his negotiations with allies. The president replied, "I think I probably can, but that's unnecessary". However, he said the issue over a better distribution of contribution to the military alliance is legitimate.

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