Moscow drafts a blueprint for the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki

Leroy Wright
July 10, 2018

Many members of Congress, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans, have sought to reassure allies nervous about some of Trump's statements that there is still strong support in Washington for traditional allies like the country's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners.

"We will talk about the biggest increase in defence spending by our allies since the Cold War", she said. Trump has already met with Putin twice as president, including a meeting on the sidelines of a summit in Germany that stretched for more than two hours.

Trump also took aim at what he indicated were trade inequities with the EU on Monday in an indication he will attempt to link the US commitment to European security with trade.

The US president has been unleashing scathing attacks on America's traditional allies ahead of the meeting which will be followed by a one-on-one with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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"He will have watched the Kim Jong Un summit and he will have the same appraisal: that Trump gave away a major American card without getting anything concrete back for it", said a former senior US official.

He noted that member states have been improving, but insisted they "must do much more". "It's not, sort of, a policy statement or, as one person described it, a press release".

Trump also said while the U.S. dedicates the bulk of the funding to the 69-year-old organization, Europe gets a lot more out of it than America. A quarter of the survey's participants hoped for an improvement in relations, while nine percent say that relations will deteriorate even further. (After being told recently that Sweden not a member, he reportedly commented that perhaps the best thing for the United States would be the "deal" that Sweden has of picking and choosing which operations to join.) This would be a waste of rare face time between the world leaders, especially with vastly more important issues to address. At any rate, the Russian side is getting ready, and Putin is prepared to discuss the topic of Syria. Still, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a weekly podcast Saturday, said Germany would increase defense spending in its 2019 budget, suggesting that Trump's complaints are paying off. "They should let Russian Federation come back in, because we should have Russian Federation at the negotiating table".

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