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Weekend Reads Tim Harper: Trudeau gets out of the way and gives Trump his victory lap at NATO summit

21:57  12 july  2018
21:57  12 july  2018 Source:   thestar.com

Trudeau gearing up for NATO summit

  Trudeau gearing up for NATO summit Trudeau gearing up for NATO summitOTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders are gearing up for what already promises to be a lively debate on defence spending at the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels next week.

Trudeau was much more diplomatic in his assessment of the NATO summit but the underlying message was clear — Trump was living in a fact-free bubble, Tim Harper writes. (Sean Gallup / GETTY IMAGES).

At his first meeting of the summit , with the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, Trump That summit ended in disarray and a spat between Trump and Justin Trudeau , the Canadian prime minister. Nato officials are clinging to hopes that the Nato summit will not end the same way .

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Video provided by cbc.ca

The last time Justin Trudeau met the media at an international summit while Donald Trump was aboard Air Force One, the prime minister’s efforts earned him an invitation to “a special place in hell,’’ by a Trump official.

So, in Brussels Thursday, Trudeau was much more diplomatic in his assessment of the NATO summit but the underlying message was clear — Trump was living in a fact-free bubble.

Justin Trudeau to visit Canadian troops in Latvia ahead of NATO summit

  Justin Trudeau to visit Canadian troops in Latvia ahead of NATO summit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Latvia before heading to the NATO summit in Brussels next week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Canadian troops in Latvia before attending the NATO The Prime Minister's Office says the visit will be an opportunity for Trudeau to reaffirm Canada's commitment to the NATO alliance and Euro-Atlantic security. The Canadian-led multinational NATO battle group was established in Latvia as the alliance's response to Russia's surprise annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its invasion of eastern Ukraine.

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Arriving at Nato headquarters only hours after Trump singled out Germany for criticism That summit ended in disarray and a spat between Trump and Justin Trudeau , the Canadian prime minister. The friction between the two is a long way from 2013 when Trump tweeted praise for Merkel.

The NATO show was now a familiar international performance by Trump, the man who rolls into town, sucks all the oxygen from the room, breaks all the crockery, wipes his dirty hands on the clean towels, insult allies, then declares victory and gets out of town.

He turns anodyne photo opportunities into confrontation, he tosses smoke bombs into the room and then he emerges from the carnage to craft his own, self-congratulatory version of what happened.

Declaring victory when there is scant evidence of a win — witness last month’s summit with Kim Jong Un — is a favourite gambit of the U.S. president.

This time, Trudeau and allies got out of the way and let Trump take his victory lap.

At issue was the question of defence spending.

Justin Trudeau et al. posing for the camera: Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Polish President Andrzej Duda join other heads of state and government officials arriving at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Trudeau was much more diplomatic in his assessment of the NATO summit but the underlying message was clear — Trump was living in a fact-free bubble, Tim Harper writes. © Provided by Sean Gallup Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Polish President Andrzej Duda join other heads of state and government officials arriving at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Trudeau was much more diplomatic in his assessment of the NATO summit but the underlying message was clear — Trump was living in a fact-free bubble, Tim Harper writes.

Canada extending mission in Latvia

  Canada extending mission in Latvia Canada extending mission in LatviaTrudeau made the announcement in Riga following a meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and indicated that he hopes the increased Canadian commitment to Latvia gets the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Log out . Trump , Trudeau and NATO : What the leaders are doing in Europe this week. In a move that echoed his contentious departure from the G7 summit in Quebec, Trump later posted a tweet that appeared to contradict the communiqué, insisting countries should “pay two per cent of GDP

"I speak with ( Trump ) fairly regularly and I look forward to seeing him again," he said. There's a big target painted on Trudeau 's back, however. On his way to the summit , Trump fired off another Twitter volley: "Many countries in NATO , which we are expected to defend

According to Trump, he convinced all NATO members to spend 2 per cent of gross domestic product on defence. And he gave himself credit for allies agreeing to get to that level more quickly. Everybody in the room thanked him for his incredible leadership, Trump said.

That’s just the start, Trump declared. It won’t be long before everyone is spending 4 per cent, he boasted.

“We are doing numbers like they’ve never seen before,” Trump said.

Specifically asked about Canada, he said it will be up to 2 per cent in a relative “short period of years.”

And then came reality.

Trudeau refused to open his wallet at Trump’s urging.

Canada, Trudeau said, has recommitted to a goal of 2 per cent spending agreed to by Stephen Harper in Wales in 2014, but it is an aspirational target. It won’t be reached any time soon and never will be, at least under Trudeau’s watch, at the current pace.

The Wales commitment is really a Canadian mirage, but the prime minister is not doubling defence spending at Trump’s behest.

NATO to reinforce Russian threat to Trump: PM

  NATO to reinforce Russian threat to Trump: PM OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says President Donald Trump will face anti-Russian solidarity around the NATO table on Wednesday. Ahead of the 29-country military summit, Trump said Tuesday that Putin is less of a problem for him than under spending NATO allies, and the EU's pending Brexit breakup with the U.K.Trudeau says the NATO "table" remains united in its view that Russia is creating significant problems in the world. © Provided by thecanadianpress.

Trump claims victory at Nato summit after fresh row over defence spending. Could Trump pull US out of Nato and what would happen if he did? The US president has plunged the alliance into chaos with his threat to withdraw from Nato .

Image. President Trump spoke to reporters at the end of the NATO summit meeting in Brussels on Thursday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Trump signs a NATO declaration at odds with his own statements. Related Coverage. Trump Refuses to Sign G-7 Statement and Calls Trudeau ‘Weak’.

Trudeau said ‘no’ before the summit, and repeated that ‘no,’ as it wrapped up.

He was repeatedly queried on the 2 per cent solution and replied that his government was increasing defence investments by 70 per cent over the coming decade.

But while keeping that cheque book closed, pressure from Trump was behind some moves by Trudeau.

He extended Canada’s leadership role of the NATO battle group in Latvia through 2023 and committed 80 new soldiers to join the 450 there. And he announced that Canada will lead a new NATO training mission in Iraq.

Trump is correct that the U.S. is disproportionately doing the financial heavy lifting in NATO and he is also quite correct that, comparatively, countries like Canada are not carrying their weight.

But as angry as that may make him, no one voted for the Liberals in 2015 assuming they would double defence spending.

Trudeau and the Liberals have more pressing domestic concerns and all the hectoring in the world from the U.S. president cannot change that reality.

Upon election, Trudeau ended Canadian involvement in U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, but he then dispatched about 200 special forces to Iraq in an “advise and assist” role which often morphed into a combat role in all but name.

Trudeau not planning one-on-one meeting with Trump at NATO summit

  Trudeau not planning one-on-one meeting with Trump at NATO summit Any encounter between U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the next two days will happen on the margins of the NATO Summit in Brussels, not in any deliberate, structured bilateral meeting. The NATO meeting represents the first time the two leaders have been in the same room together since the disastrous G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec last month — and there's no sign at all of a thaw in their chilly relationship. The Prime Minister's Office said that, at the moment, no face-to-face meeting has been planned between Trudeau and Trump.

Trump tweeted about his determination to get trade tariffs slashed for US farmers' produce, in particular, soy beans. Trump looks out at gathered as leaders, including Merkel, chat to his right. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives at the Nato summit .

' NATO Is Much Stronger Now': Trump Claims Victory After Contentious Summit . At the press conference Thursday, just days before he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said he hoped he “will be able to get along with Russia,” adding that his NATO allies told him they agree.

He prematurely declared Canada “was back’’ and dragged his heels on a promised peacekeeping mission but by next month, as many as 250 Canadian troops will be in Mali, backed by two Chinook and four armed Griffon helicopters in perhaps the most dangerous mission on the planet.

Surely, no one needs a reminder of the price in blood and treasure this country paid in Afghanistan where it fought with distinction and precision.

Our defence resume might be spotty, but we have hardly sat on the sidelines.

So, score a victory for Trump if he wants, for forcefully putting defence spending on the global agenda and nudging Canada to do a bit more. Let him have his parade.

But nothing changed in Brussels except that with Trump in attendance, once staid summits with their pre-cooked communiqués are now exercises in spin where there is a Donald Trump summit and a real summit and a gulf that cannot be bridged.

Tim Harper is a former Star reporter who is a current freelance columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @nutgraf1

Trudeau insists Canada spending enough on defence, as Trump declares victory at NATO .
Trudeau insists Canada spending enough on defence, as Trump declares victory at NATO Instead, Trudeau said at the wrap of the summit in Brussels that Canada has reaffirmed its commitment to work toward contributing two per cent of its gross domestic product to military spending — the military alliance's benchmark —and reverse any cuts.

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