European peace activists march against Trump's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation visit

NATO Braces For Trump, White House Says Business As Usual

NATO Braces For Trump, White House Says Business As Usual

Given the president's reported desire to explore pulling USA troops from Germany, one administration official said "there is nothing being said at all about the troop alignment in Germany or anything that would change the 32,00 troop force we have in Germany".

"It will, however, become increasingly hard to justify to American citizens why some countries do not share NATO's collective security burden while American soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives overseas or come home gravely wounded", Trump reportedly wrote to Merkel.

European leaders are in a state of high anxiety about the two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting, to be followed by Trump's bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Still, any move to permanently withdraw American troops from Europe would ultimately require congressional authorization.

Erik Brattberg of the Carnegie Endowment's Europe program, anxious that criticizing Europeans weakens alliances and provides "new opportunities for countries like Russian Federation to take advantage of that".

A third of active-duty US military troops overseas - more than 60,000 - are stationed in Europe, including 35,000 in Germany, 12,000 in Italy, 8,500 in the United Kingdom and 3,300 in Spain, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of information from the Defense Manpower Data Center, a statistical arm of the Defense Department. Thousands more rotate into other European countries temporarily. They are strategically located to help in other regions of the world, such as counter Iran or strike the ISIS.

Brexit: May's European Union plan faces backlash from Brexiteers
He did not comment directly on her new plan, which had not yet been detailed in full, but suggested it may fall short. This would allow Britain to set its own import tariffs and seal new free trade deals .

But despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has maintained tactical support for Europe, having sent military equipment, participated in regional exercises, and signed defense agreements with Finland and Sweden.

Trump directly addressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the rally in the USA state of Montana, saying: "You know, Angela.we are protecting you and it means a lot more to you.because I don't know how much protection we get by protecting you". Poland is willing to spend up to $2 billion to lobby the U.S.to build a permanent military base there, according to a Defense Ministry proposal. So it's understandable for the USA to air frustration and ask European nations to do more - especially as some states are yet to meet their standard 2 per cent obligation.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said Germany should be more vigilant in increasing its defense spending, as 29 countries prepare to meet for a NATO summit on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, Trump suggested withdrawing more than 25,000 US troops stationed in South Korea after trying to persuade Kim to rid his country of nuclear weapons.

The ultimate goal of all the anti-NATO activities planned for the weekend is to emphasize that "NATO was never a peace-defending organization", he said, adding that the threat the bloc poses to global peace and security has only increased over time due to its rampant military build-up - first and foremost on Russia's doorstep.

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