US President Donald Trump has on numerous occasions demanded that his NATO allies boost defense spending and pay their “fair share,” pointing out that the military bloc was “obsolete” and “too costly” for Washington.
Speaking with the McClatchy newspaper company, former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that European officials worried that Trump preferred the “America First” approach to the transatlantic alliance.
“They are scared to death. They are worried about a very unpredictable president of the United States. They are increasingly worried he is going to do things not based on what’s in the best interest … but based solely on his vision of ‘America First,'” Panetta said.
According to the outlet, European authorities are concerned that Donald Trump would follow through with his election campaign promise to withdraw US troops from the continent if European nations fail to contribute more to defense.
Panetta’s comments came amid President Trump’s persistent complaint that the United States’ financial burden for European security was too heavy. Even though the issue of “underspending” is not expected to be on the agenda of the upcoming NATO summit, some extent of uncertainty remains, as it comes just days before Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
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