According to U.S. President Donald Trump, multilateral military and economic agreements, to which the U.S. is also party, provide an advantage only to other signatory countries. Therefore, Trump wants bilateral trade agreements exclusively with each country. There is a huge gap in trade with Europe and China. Trump is resorting to all sorts of arguments to reverse the situation to the advantage of the United States. Trump's additional customs tariffs, in addition to China, hit many U.S. allies. Analysts are calling Trump's trade wars an "economic cold war."
Trump became a relentless critic of NATO. His messages implying that the U.S. may withdraw from NATO if countries do not increase defense spending at the summit in Brussels cause a great deal of tension. In 2014, NATO members pledged to increase their defense spending by up to 2 percent of their countries’ total revenue within 10 years. Only four countries have reached the said percentage, and the richest EU countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands fell short of this target. Trump wants NATO members to act quickly, and even wants them to raise the ratio to 4 per cent.
Trump's conflict with NATO and the summit to be held with Putin is not welcomed by the mainstream "Republicans" and "Democrats" in the U.S. Congress. The Senate put forth its stance with a resolution that was approved by 97 out of 100 members just before Trump attended the NATO Summit. In the resolution, Trump is advised not to make any concessions to Putin on the issues of "Ukraine", "Crimea" and "Sanctions." Trump said he could withdraw the U.S. from NATO without congressional approval, but that he did not feel the need to do it, because NATO members have already agreed to increase their defense spending. However, in reality no such pledge was made by NATO members.
Trump's opponents emphasize that Trump only cares for the interests of Israel and the "American military industrial complex." Increasing of defense budgets by NATO members means that the "Military Industrial Complex" will make more money. Trump states that NATO was established to defend Europe against the "Russian threat" and accuses Germany of enriching Russia by buying its natural gas. Trump asserts that trade with South Korea and Japan, which benefit from U.S. protection against "Nuclear Threats of North Korea" and "a Rising China," is not beneficial to the U.S. economy. As in Germany, there are tens of thousands of U.S. troops in these two countries.
Trump's target is the "North Stream-2" project, which will which will grant Germany a monoply over gas distribution in Europe. Trump claims that this project, which allows for the transfer of Russian natural gas to Germany through the Baltic sea, will make Europe more dependent on Russia, and he offers American shale gas to EU countries as an alternative for natural gas. Shale gas is not preferred since it is expensive. Highly confidential shale gas agreements between U.S. companies and Poland had been signed. Trump is pressuring other EU members into purchasing shale gas from the United States.
Trump's trip to England was also phenomenal. Trump accused Theresa May’s government of a soft blueprint regarding "Brexit." Trump is a full supporter of Brexit, which caused UK's exit from the EU. From Trump's point of view, if the Theresa May government continues to adopt a mild policy in negotiations with the EU, the U.S. will never negotiate a large trade deal that's beneficial to the U.K.
Before Trump's meeting with Putin, there was another development from the United States. Rod J. Rosenstein, United States deputy attorney general, announced an indictment accusing the 12 members of the Russian military intelligence service "GRU" of interfering with the presidential elections of 2016 through cyberwarfare. The top Democrats in Congress on Friday called for President Donald Trump to cancel his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. While it is more or less clear what Putin may demand from Trump, it is still ambiguous what Trump might demand from Putin. Everyone, including U.S. citizens, wonders what Trump, who defines Russia as a “competitor” rather than “enemy,” has got up his sleeve.