Trump claims NATO victory after ‘go it alone’ ultimatum
BRUSSELS: Donald Trump claimed a personal victory at a NATO summit on Thursday after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington’s support, an ultimatum that forced leaders to huddle in a crisis session with the US President. Trump emerged declaring his continued commitment to a Western alliance built on US military might that has stood up to Moscow since World War Two.People present said he had earlier warned he would “go it alone” if allies, notably Germany, did not make vast increases in their defence budgets for next year.“I let them know that I was extremely unhappy,” he said, but added that the talks ended on the best of terms: “It all came together at the end. It was a little tough for a little while.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called the summit “very intense”, and other leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, played down the extent to which they had pledged to accelerate spending plans as fast as Trump wanted.Macron and others said they did not interpret Trump’s words as a direct threat to quit the alliance Washington founded in 1949 to contain Soviet expansion. Trump, asked if he thought he could withdraw from NATO without backing from Congress, said he believed he could but it was “unnecessary”. Others say Congressional approval would be required—and would be unlikely to be forthcoming.