Wednesday and Thursday (11 and 12 July 2018), leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization -NATO met in Brussels, Belgium. The agenda of this meeting discussed the security situation around the NATO region. However, instead of discussing the issue of security, US President Donald Trump mentioned about the enormous burden of US donations to the organization, and asked other member countries to increase contribution. In the previous NATO meeting, there was an appeal to member countries to raise it to 2 percent. President Trump stated that the burden of US taxpayers for NATO is too huge. Currently, the United States accounts for up to 70% of NATO's budget. In the forum, he objected if the member states only rose to 2 percent and wanted to increase their contribution to 4 percent. President Trump threatened that there are big consequences if his request is not met. Does that mean getting out of NATO? President Trump did not actually say it but further developments remain to be seen. Anyway, at the end of the meeting, President Trump signed a joint declaration on which member states would increase their donations to NATO. It also voiced criticism on the Russian occupation of the Crimean Peninsula, and attempted assassination by using poison in England.
In addition to making a fuss over the issue of donations at the NATO meeting, President Trump also made a critical statement to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel through his twit on social media. He stated that Germany was held hostage by Russia because of gas business and German-Russian direct gas pipeline. Chancellor Merkel responded with a press conference before a one-on-one meeting with President Trump. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said that Germany is doing business with Russia independently. Interestingly, when they met directly, President Trump acted as if there was no problem between the two.
Despite criticism on Germany being too close to Russia in the gas business, President Trump himself did not make any anti-Russian statements, and simply called Russian President Vladimir Putin as a competitor. President Trump is even set to meet President Vladimir Putin in Finland on July 16, after his visit to Britain. Some points on the agenda are the current world situation and the chances of developing bilateral relations. It is hoped that the two leaders' meeting could lead to conflict solutions in areas where the two sides are facing each other as in Ukraine and Syria.