The Brussels summit between NATO allies of the USA and Donald Trump was expected to be fiery. The European allies who were hoping that a different Trump would emerge have been dashed. Trump expressed divergent views about NATO from his predecessors. While there is a lot of opposition to Trump, other people in the USA feel that what he did at the meeting was right and proper. Trump read out the riot act to the allies and reminded them that must increase their defense spending. He said that for too long has the USA been subsidizing the defense of Europe by spending billions of dollars and it's about time Europe shouldered its responsibility.

Ivan Krastev writing in the New York Times has opined that maybe the US president does not need any "allies" as he seems to be going his own way and upsetting a lot of leaders. In any case, one can recollect that during the election trail he had referred to NATO as "obsolete" though later he changed his opinion.

Trump and Germany

Trump is a man who has strong beliefs but many people feel he has the right ideas as the European powers have for too long been dependent for their defense on the USA. His predecessors accepted it as a matter of policy but Trump has different ideas. He has repeatedly, during and after the election campaign, talked of making America "great" and as such cannot accept that billions of dollars should be used to bail out the European powers for their defense.

He insisted on western allies keeping their promise of making good the expenditure committed by them. He also singled out Germany for some harsh words. CNN reported that Trump referred to Germany as a "captive" of Russia because it imports gas from that country.

Onward to Helsinki

Trump will now, after a brief visit to England, head for a meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki on July 16.

Nobody can forecast how this meeting will go. Asked at a press conference about his views about Putin, he refused to label the Russian leader as a foe or a friend but only said he was a "competitor." Trump has always admired Putin but after he came to power, the so-called Russian connection emerged and Trump lost his freedom of action with Russia for some time.

The president appears more assertive now and had congratulated the Russian leader on his victory in the Russian elections. One can safely conclude that he is a man who looks at events and leaders through a different microscope to his predecessors.

Last word

The Brussels summit would have given fresh food for thought to the European leaders as they hopefully realized that taking the USA support for granted in military matters, while they opposed his policy on Israel and Iran, is not the best way to go forward.

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