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World Report: Trudeau Defies Trump at NATO Meeting, Cuts Military Spending

16:06  11 july  2018
16:06  11 july  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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New figures show that Canadian military spending will be cut significantly, even as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to face U.S. President Donald Trump ’s demands for higher NATO military spending at the alliance's summit in Brussels.

New figures show that Canadian military spending will be cut significantly, even as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to face U.S. President Donald Trump ’s demands for higher NATO military spending at the alliance's summit in

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan arrive at the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on July 11, 2018.© Sean Gallup/Getty Images Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan arrive at the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on July 11, 2018. New figures show that Canadian military spending will be cut significantly, even as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to face U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands for higher NATO military spending at the alliance's summit in Brussels.

According to the CBC, Canada will spend around 1.23 percent of its GDP on defense in 2018, down from 1.36 percent last year. This is far below the 2 percent target set for NATO members, which has been a particular bugbear for the American president.

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He faulted Berlin for failing to meet its NATO spending obligations and accused it of treating the US "unfairly" on trade. Earlier this month, US media reports said Trump was planning to pull some troops stationed in Germany. The reports caused alarm among some German politicians, with

President Trump with the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, at the American Embassy in Brussels ahead of the NATO summit meeting on Wednesday.Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Canadian National Defence spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said the drop in investment was largely down to one-off payments. One was a retroactive pay increase for service members and the other was a $1.3 billion payment into the fund that pays out servicemember pensions.

In a statement carried by CBC, Le Bouthillier said, “Canada continues to place a premium on tangible operational contributions as well as on demonstrating a commitment and capacity to deploy and sustain personnel in support of the NATO alliance.”

Meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Wednesday morning, Trump set the tone for what is expected to be one of the most acrimonious conferences in NATO’s 69-year history. The president repeatedly brought up one of his favorite NATO talking points, that the U.S. pays an “unfair” amount towards the defense of Europe. He warned Stoltenberg, “We’re not going to put up with it, we cant put up with it,” demanding that other states step up military spending.

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Trump cuts NATO trip short after Trudeau 's hot mic moment. "And honestly with Trudeau he's a nice guy, but the truth is I called him out on the fact he's not paying 2 percent (in military spending ) Trump later canceled his remaining Wednesday press conference. "When today’s meetings are over

Trump says NATO allies need to spend more on defence. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo). A recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading Washington-based Conflating military spending with NATO commitments. Robertson said Trump also has conflated

Few NATO nations have met the 2 percent pledge since the fall of the Soviet Union, and the alliance has now committed to meeting the target it will take time for them to deliver. Trump, meanwhile, said he expects the change "immediately."

Germany was the first nation this week that Trump criticized publicly, but it is unlikely to be the last. Trump and Trudeau head to Brussels not long after a public spat that followed the G-7 meeting in Canada last month. Trump’s proposed tariffs were the subject of that disagreement. Trudeau had previously branded the president’s protectionism “unacceptable,” and after the G-7 meeting warned Canada “will not be pushed around.”

Trump then refused to back the G-7 joint statement, and took to Twitter to brand Trudeau “dishonest and weak.” As the war of words escalated, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said there is “a special place in hell” for any leader that “engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”

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Trump has demanded that all NATO allies meet the benchmark of spending two per cent of their gross domestic product on the military . At one point during his media event with Trudeau this morning, Trump asked the prime minister directly how close Canada is to meeting that goal.

At NATO , Trump claims allies make new defense spending commitments after he upends summit. Trump pointed to what he said were billion in NATO defense spending increases this year as evidence Trump told his counterparts that if they did not meet their 2 percent targets by January

Relations between the leaders were already shaky thanks to Trump’s repeated attacks on NAFTA — another sign of his apparent distrust of any transnational organization, be it NATO, the European Union or even the World Trade Organization. With all, Trump believes the U.S. is being “ripped off” in an unfair marketplace. The president has repeatedly said America will no longer be the “world’s piggy bank.”

NATO leaders in Brussels this week will fear a repeat of Trump's G-7 performance. A fractured summit would play directly into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Trump will meet next week in Helsinki, Finland.

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