Published: Tue, December 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Infighting roils NATO as leaders gather in London

Infighting roils NATO as leaders gather in London

Trump is due to hold separate talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently vented that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was experiencing "brain death" - prompting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to tell Macron to check that his own own brain was not failing. He has since tempered his criticism somewhat.

Trump hit numerous same notes that he hits regularly in White House lawn press sprays and on Twitter, but what makes this event unique is that it flouts the accepted "water's edge" decorum to not discuss domestic politics while on foreign soil. They pledged to "move toward" spending 2% of GDP on their national defence budgets by 2024.

Despite the current strains, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenber insisted that NATO was "the most successful alliance in history", telling CNN ahead of the gathering that the allies "have been able to change again and again when the world is changing". He added that the figure of 2% "is a very low number, it really should be 4". Stoltenberg pointed out on Friday that by next year, non-US allies will have increased their defence spending by $130 billion since 2016.

Fellow NATO leaders can be relieved that Trump, who derailed final yr's summit agenda along with his calls for, seems to be happy with how the allies have stepped up their army funding.

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The controversial USA leader's visit to London comes just nine days before the United Kingdom general election - leaving British politicians holding their breath to see what he says.

However Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson will nonetheless be nervous that Trump's presence will harm him within the closing phases of the British election marketing campaign.

And he warned he could see France "breaking off" from the allies, after Macron in an interview criticized NATO's leadership and strategy. The clause has only ever been activated once, after the 9-11 attacks in the United States.

Trump will have the chance to discuss the measures with Stoltenberg when they meet for breakfast on Tuesday, before he talks with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of an evening reception at Buckingham Palace. A short working session will be held at a golf resort in outer London on Wednesday.

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