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Flake: 'Concern' about what Trump might promise Putin

10 July 2018

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis website says that the European Union had a trade in goods surplus with the U.S.in 2017 of US$151.4 billion - not million.

"Germany is at 1%, the U.S.is at 4%, and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S.is paying for 90% of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment", he said.

What we are trying to do is work with the German government, to work with the German CEOs, I'm working closely with Secretary [Wilbur] Ross and the White House to try to have that conversation which I think is a healthy conversation to say what would it take to get to zero?

Regional experts have questioned the success of the Trump-Kim meeting, in which the president agreed to suspend USA military exercises with South Korea but appeared to get little in return. "President Trump has been clear that we will use every available tool to ensure free and fair trade benefits American workers", ambassador Robert Lighthizer said at the time. On Putin's wish list: an end to USA military exercises in Europe and the scaling back of US forces there. Trump asked Putin in a November phone call, according to one senior official.

Trump departs Tuesday on a four-nation tour amid simmering disputes over trade and military spending with fellow Western democracies and speculation about whether he will rebuke or embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders are due to meet on July 16 in Finland, and CNN previously reported Trump plans to meet Putin one-on-one before bringing in others to join their discussions. Don't let him deny the obvious.

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Allies are braced for a barrage of invective from Trump for not spending enough on defense, and are apprehensive that his often skeptical tone on the alliance that has underpinned European security for 70 years might turn into outright hostility.

"We will talk about the biggest increase in defence spending by our allies since the Cold War", she said.

Despite Trump's criticism, Ischinger said the transatlantic alliance is in its best shape in years, given rising military spending and efforts to shore up defenses in the Baltic states and Poland after Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

"I do think Russian Federation is trying to flip Turkey; they're trying to flip many of our allies", Hutchison said.

The Kremlin would like nothing more than to wangle a path toward the easing - or even lifting - of US and Western sanctions still in place because of Crimea, other Russian influence in Ukraine and the meddling in America's election process.

Flake: 'Concern' about what Trump might promise Putin