Trump claims a phantom victory in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending war

U.S. President Donald Trump declared victory Thursday as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit ended, saying he had won commitments from other countries to increase their defense spending after he had complained that Washington for too long has borne the brunt of financing the West's key military alliance.

"Prior to past year, where I attended my last meeting it was going down, the amount of money being spent by countries was going down and down very substantially", he said.

Trump: "They really stepped up their commitment ... stepped it up an additional 33 billion ... "

Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets. "NATO", he added, "is much stronger now than it was two days ago".

Mr Trump refused to deny that he had threatened to pull the United States out of the organisation, but said the atmosphere in the meeting was cordial.

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally. The U.S.is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. "I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius...and a very stable genius at that!" Going into the week he was pressuring them to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, a figure that was established in 2002 and reaffirmed in 2014 when the allies not meeting the target pledged to reach it within a decade.

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When asked how that conversation might go, Trump said, "He may deny it".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called an emergency session of all 29 allies to address Trump's demands, and the U.S. leader said his hectoring had paid off.

After leading allies to believe that the US might abandon its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, President Trump reversed course at an impromptu press conference. But also, that we are doing this already since many years.

Trump's surprise demand came after he clashed with Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling Germany a "captive" of Russian Federation because of its gas links and singling out Berlin for failing to pay its way. 'Digging into the available details, we think that plus-ups for key missile defense and legacy aircraft platforms make Lockheed Martin and Boeing early winners, ' a firm analyst wrote, CNBC reported in February. Now, never more vividly apparent than in his behavior Wednesday, President Donald Trump seems perfectly inclined to dismantle it, if that serves his goal. On Thursday, Trump said he wasn't troubled by the planned protests.

"At the end of the day, however, I know that the relations between the United States and Canada militarily are going to continue to be superb".

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