Trump in Britain for NATO meetings. Macron talks may be more important thumbnail

Trump in Britain for NATO meetings. Macron talks may be more important

CLOSELONDON – President Donald Trump lashed out at France’s President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday ahead of scheduled direct talks between the two leaders on the sidelines of NATO meetings talking place in Britain’s capital. Quarrels over defense spending, fights about trade and climate policy, rifts over Turkey’s actions in Syria, and Iran – Trump is in London for a gathering connected to the military alliance’s 70th anniversary. The official program starts Wednesday.  But ahead of that, Trump said Tuesday recent comments from Macron that NATO is experiencing “brain death” were “very insulting” to the alliance’s other 28 members. “Nobody needs NATO more than France,” he said. “It’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.”Trump’s NATO visit now risks being overshadowed by his meeting with Macron. “Macron is seizing (the) moment, seeking to be disruptive in his own way, and so we will see how that works,” said Heather Conley, a foreign affairs expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. NATO comes to London: Cracks in alliance’s armor begin to showAmong Macron’s disruptions: continuing to argue for the relevance of the Iran nuclear deal that Trump has withdrawn from; announcing at the end of August that Europe needed to seek a greater accommodation with Russia and China; and his “brain death comments,” made in an interview in The Economist, and a reference, in part, to NATO member Turkey’s incursion into Kurdish-held Syria to root out fighters it considers terrorists, but who had also been successfully assisting U.S.-led forces battle the Islamic State group. Macron has long argued that Trump’s exit from the international climate accord was a mistake. France’s president’s wants the military alliance, founded in 1949 to act as a bulwark against the then Soviet Union, to pivot more toward fighting global terrorism.  For his part, Trump has repeatedly called the alliance “obsolete” and publicly attacked NATO members for failing to meet defense spending commitments, a scenario that has slowly started to be rectified as more NATO allies meet mandated 2%-of-GDP spending levels. At last year’s NATO summit, Trump arrived late and called Germany “delinquent” and a “captive” of Russia.In a further ratcheting up of tensions, as Trump arrived in London on T
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