In what seems to be another attempt to destroy the few political alliances that the U.S. has left, President Donald Trump recently referred to the E.U. as a “foe” of the United States.
Trump argued that the E.U. has abused his country and his administration because of “what they did to us in trade.” He also made similar claims about China and Russia. However, Trump also claimed that having an adversarial relationship isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Trump stated during an interview with CBS Evening News:
You wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. It means that they are competitive. I respect the leaders of those countries. But in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us. And many of those countries are in NATO, and they weren’t paying their bills.”
Trump’s rhetoric has been inconsistent with the outcome of his meeting with NATO in Brussels. After heavily criticizing NATO for not having increased its funds in military spending and reportedly having harsh negotiations behind doors, Trump ended up signing the joint statement between NATO leaders. After signing, Trump mentioned:
“The United States’ commitment to NATO is very strong, remains very strong. I believe in NATO.”
There was some speculation that Trump may have been considering withdrawing the U.S. from NATO. However, French President Emmanuel Macron was quick to dismiss the speculations as mere rumors.
However, it has been confirmed that Trump pressured NATO members to increase their military funds before January 2019. While NATO members have plans to increase military funds in the near future, the commitment they signed years ago was due in 2020, making Trump’s demands non-achievable.
During the days leading up to Trump’s trip to Russia, he released a rather confusing and jumbled statement on Twitter. He stated:
Heading to Helsinki, Finland – looking forward to meeting with President Putin tomorrow. Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition! Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct!”
The tweet was not the only one of Trump’s actions which left NATO allies confused and worried. In the days leading up to their meeting, Trump had increased his harsh rhetoric towards the organization’s members, especially Germany. He accused the country and its Chancellor Angela Merkel of being “captive to Russia,” after signing trade deals with the country. The declaration caused a great deal of controversy, as Trump is currently under investigation for possibly colluding with Russia during his 2016 campaign. Analysts also pointed out the fact that Merkel came to an agreement with Putin’s administration due to Trump’s abusive trade tariffs.
However, before leaving for his trip to Europe, Trump stated that Russia would be the “easiest meeting” of the trip. So, he definitely has been giving mixed and contradictory statements about Russia and his meeting with Putin, which leaves it impossible to know how he will proceed during the summit.