Germany's Angela Merkel talks up North Atlantic Treaty Organisation role and military spending


Unfortunately, Ms. Hutchison can not predict the potential behavior of the commander in chief, President Trump, who has kept security officials across Europe sleepless in anticipation of a possible blowup like he initiated at last month's Group of Seven meeting. Still, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a weekly podcast on Saturday, said Germany would increase defense spending in its 2019 budget, suggesting Trump's jawboning is paying off.

He said that he expected leaders, including Theresa May and President Trump, to agree a number of initiatives at the summit to provide a...

"The main concern is he will spend much of the time berating them on not spending enough on defense" before having "a love fest with Putin, like he did with Chairman Kim", Goldgeier said.

"Of course, we want to have a responsible relationship with Russia", Merkel added.

Many U.S. troops are there to do more than protect those countries.

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.

More news: Belgium defeats Brazil to reach World Cup 2018 semi-finals

Separately, the U.S. envoy said she's concerned that Russian Federation is trying to "flip" Turkey and other American allies to its column. Mr. Trump makes a valid point about defense spending, particularly by Germany, which devotes just 1.2 percent of its GDP to its military, with the result that all its submarines, half its tanks and most of its warplanes are not ready for duty.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.

"That's the question: Is the USA security conditional?" asked Heather Conley, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of State in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs for George W. Bush and is now a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. The allies committed to devote 2 percent of GDP to defense by 2024, and the number of member states on track to achieve that has grown from five to 16 since past year, according to the State Department.

The White House declined to say if and how Trump might punish the countries.

This handout photo taken on June 12, 2018 and released by The Straits Times shows North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) and US President Donald Trump (R) together during a break in their talks at the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore.

Pentagon leaders canceled military exercises there at Trump's direction but they quickly reaffirmed the United State's "ironclad commitment" to defend South Korea.