As a defense against impeachment, Trump clings to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Nellie Chapman
December 3, 2019

Trump has since questioned whether Johnson's own Brexit deal would allow Britain to sign a trade deal with the U.S. - something the Conservative leader holds up as one of the biggest prizes of leaving the EU. Trump and Macron were once so close that their friendship was regarded as a "bromance".

Trump also took aim at Germany's perceived shortfall on defence funding commitments, but he singled out Macron before the two leaders met in London on Tuesday, in advance of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit marking 70 years of the military alliance.

"I think we'll probably be able to work it out but we have a big trade relationship and I'm sure that within a short period of time things will be looking very rosy", Trump said.

The French President gave a long answer, in which he argued that foreign fighters from European countries were a small minority among troops with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and that it would be unhelpful to focus on them rather than on the broader problem.

But the U.S. leader's broadside came only hours after splits opened up elsewhere in the alliance, with Turkey threatening to block a plan to defend Baltic states and Poland against Russian attacks unless the alliance backs Ankara in recognising the Kurdish YPG militia as a terrorist group.

But on Tuesday he insisted: "We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn't want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter".

The French president said that he stood by his assessment of the health of the alliance and lamented the USA decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria in October. He said that "I don't want to complicate it".

"Emmanuel Macron made some fair points in his Economist article, where he talked about the need for Europe to step up, for the need for the Europe, the United States, and Canada to stay engaged", said Rutte, referring to an interview that the French leader conducted with the British publication in November.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 29 lashed out at Macron, saying the French leader should have his "own brain-death checked" and accusing him of "a sick and shallow understanding" of terrorism. He added that Turkey "could not have been nicer, could not have been more supportive".

"Then Turkey responded by saying he was brain dead, which was interesting". "Frankly, the one that benefits the least is the United States".

Mr Johnson is also set to host talks on Syria with Mr Macron, Mrs Merkel and Mr Erdogan later on Tuesday.

"The question is, as we celebrate 70 years, are we waving in celebration or do people think we are drowning?" said a senior European NATO diplomat.

"Never even thought about it, honestly", Trump said.

Mr Trump said they were "looking at" whether to impose sanctions, while Mr Macron asked: "How is it possible to be a member of the alliance. and buy things from Russian Federation?"

Trump said he would be meeting with Johnson at 10 Downing Street later in the trip. "We can't let that happen", he said of transatlantic disputes over everything from the aerospace sector to a European tax on United States technology giants.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, visits a veterans centre, as part of the General Election campaign, in Salisbury, England, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.

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