NATO Braces for Trump Visit, But Fears May Be Overplayed

As we approach the July 16 meeting, the European Council's President, Donald Tusk, has sent a clear message to the United States. According to a recent poll, just 40 percent of Republicans think the US should should stay in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, while 56 percent of Republicans consider Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin good for the United States.

Despite Russia's aggressive moves in Ukraine and confirmed election meddling in the USA, the president wouldn't say if Putin was friend or foe.

President Donald Trump's repeated tongue lashings of NATO allies and his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin are stirring questions at home and overseas about Trump's commitment to an Atlantic alliance that has been a pillar of USA security policy for more than half a century.

When asked if Putin was a friend or foe, Trump replied, "I really can't say right now - as far as I'm concerned, a competitor". So Trump's rhetoric about Putin puts GOP members of Congress like Gardner in a tough place.

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others, is a good thing, not a bad thing", the president added. United States doesn't have and won't have a better ally than EU.

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The president also took aim at the European Union, saying the "being taken advantage of" by the economic bloc. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of all'.

One can not rule out the possibility that Trump lacks the mental capacity to understand the basic form of America's most important alliance.

Speaking about his European trip, Trump said his sitdown with Putin might be "easiest" of all the meetings. However, many members pitch in far less than that figure, while the USA puts in more than 3 percent of its GDP.

Last year, Trump ruffled feathers by refusing to affirm NATO's Article 5 principle that an attack on one nation is an attack on them all as he scolded other member nations for falling short of the defense spending guideline. The official agenda includes a plan for increasing the number of land, air and sea forces capable of reacting quickly in a European crisis, but overshadowing it are tensions generated by Trump's view that the Europeans are slackers leaning unfairly on the USA military. At the G7 meeting in June, weeks after slapping tariffs on U.S. allies, Trump fiercely criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for suggesting Canada might impose retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. Then, after engaging in a public spat with one of America's closest allies, Trump sat down with Kim and declared that he and the dictator have developed a "special bond".

US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of strengthening the alliance ahead of Trump's visit - indicating some cognitive dissonance with the President.

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