Decoding Donald Trump's body language at the G7 Summit

Claudine Rigal
Mai 29, 2017

Fellow NATO leaders occasionally exchanged awkward looks with each other during the president's lecture, which occurred at an event commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Let's hope this is a lesson that the U.S president does take the time to learn.

But he complained that "23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying. for their defence".

All member states have previously pledged to work toward spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

"It seems Donald Trump did not want that anyone overshadows his presence at the summit", said the Montenegro newspaper Vijesti. He said, "It's not possible to be committed to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation without being committed to Article 5". "It was really disappointing", he said.

Last year, Trump threatened to abandon US allies in Europe if they did not spend enough on defense, comments that were particularly unnerving for the ex-Soviet Baltic states on Russia's border which fear Moscow might try a repeat of its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

"This was not the right place or time", the diplomat said of the very public harangue. And this wasn't it. (Trump) doesn't understand that. The meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel came a day after Trump reportedly called Germans "bad". "Tomorrow's meeting will demonstrate NATO's ability to change as the world changes", Mr. Stoltenberg said.

Praise was always going to be in short supply after Trump's sharp election campaign criticism of the alliance, which he blamed for not doing more to combat terrorism.

Where President Obama tried to encourage Iran to reform through the Iran nuclear agreement, President Trump sees a new alliance of Sunni Arab states and Israel, united against their common enemy Iran, as the key to curtailing terrorism and to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Each NATO member is supposed to spend two per cent of its annual gross domestic product on defense. The money is not paid to a central fund, though Trump continues to allude to a system like that, raising questions about his ability or willingness to listen and learn.

"It isn't about defense spending, it's about solidarity and security, which the defense spending enables", Daalder said.

Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic adviser, said Trump is listening to the views of his world counterparts on the issue. "The Europeans expected it and he didn't do it.that isn't how you lead an alliance".

When Pope Francis met the president and first lady he asked Melania Trump, "What do you give him to eat? But today was a chance to be big and Reaganesque and he didn't do it". The other leaders are divided over his spending demands, as well as over how much intelligence to share with Trump's troubled administration.

"It was not a particularly good way to convince members that they should invest", Daalder said.

He faced a far cooler reception in Europe, where he has gone on the offensive, including an extraordinary scolding of some of the United States' closest allies.

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