Trump commits to NATO mutual defense after hesitating

by Garry Watts June 10, 2017, 7:03
Trump commits to NATO mutual defense after hesitating

But the president alleviated many of those fears during a news conference alongside Romanian President Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, saying that he was "committing the United States to Article 5".

"One of the things I was referring to during that speech was the fact that, yes, they haven't paid what we should be paying now, but for many years they haven't been paying", Trump said about his speech in Brussels.

President Trump indirectly implied when addressing the press in the Rose Garden alongside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, that firing former FBI Director James Comey and the drama that followed is a distraction to his administration.

That's another reason Trump's Article 5 statement today is so jarring: He made a decision to commit to America's most important alliance in an answer to a question that hadn't even explicitly asked about it, not in his prepared statement.

But Trump said that he, Tillerson and military leaders had decided during Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia last month that a public rebuke was needed.

He did not specifically mention Article 5, which has only been invoked once, after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

At the same time, Trump reiterated the need for all 28 members to meet their obligation to spend at least two percent of their budget on their own self-defense.

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Iohannis became the third European head of state who Trump received in the Oval Office.

What's puzzling is that the president's staff had reportedly written a line explicitly stating his commitment into the Brussels speech, according to Politico.

He also pointed out that Romania, which stands of NATO's Eastern flank, heavily relies on the U.S. for defense.

"I'll tell you about it over a very short period of time", Trump told reporters.

"I'd put it in the "better late than never" category", said Jeff Rathke, a retired career foreign service officer at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"We hope our other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies will follow Romania's lead in paying their fair share for the cost of defense, but I will say this, that because of our actions, money is starting to pour in to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

But having not mentioned it himself, Trump sowed some doubts among allies and the ensuing controversy prompted Vice President Mike Pence to later express explicit USA support for the charter.

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