Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

Trump reverses himself on NATO, China, Russia and more

Trump reverses himself on NATO, China, Russia and more

President Donald Trump said NATO is "no longer obsolete," in a joint news conference Wednesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after their first face-to-face meeting at the White House.

But as he hosted Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House on Wednesday, the United States president said the threat of terrorism had underlined the alliance's importance.

Trump made castigating China a staple of his presidential campaign, saying the communist giant was guilty of "rape" against the U.S. economy and promising it would be branded a currency manipulator on his first day in the Oval Office.

During a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, Trump indicated he no long believes NATO is obsolete. So, if he concludes over the coming months that the other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have simply been telling him what he wanted to hear rather than, from his point of view, stepping up to the plate and changing their behavior and their funding, then I think he would revert to his earlier rhetoric and say: Look, I've given my North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies a chance and they haven't done what they said they would and what is necessary.

That movement, a response to increased Russian military activity and aggression, began before Trump took office but the secretary-general said the new US president backed the changing posture in Poland and NATO's Baltic states. "It's no longer obsolete".

"I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late", Trump said. So it seems that we're hearing a lot of contradictory statements from the White House and it is hard to know what to make of it, " she said.

But on Wednesday, Trump had a different view: "They made a change and now they do fight terrorism".

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Within a few hours of extraordinary political shape-shifting, President Donald Trump abandoned stances that were at the bedrock of his establishment-bashing campaign. "But we're going to see what happens", he added.

Trump's evolving views on those two world powers have brought the US back into alignment with former President Barack Obama's pattern of "great power" politics.

Just hours earlier, when asked if Russian Federation - a major ally of Syria - could have known about the chemical weapons attack that led to retaliatory strikes from the US, Trump said, "I think it's certainly possible; I think it's probably unlikely..." There are no signs whatsoever that he intends to take action against China for currency manipulating and shut the country out of world trade.

Trump, who has consistently challenged and criticized the alliance, praised it on Wednesday. In fact, the first time the alliance ever invoked its mutual defense pact was in response to the September 11 attacks.

Media caption " European allies will have to step up to the plate" and pay their fair share says former Nato Secretary General Does it matter?

"Georgia is implementing impressive reforms, strengthening their democratic institutions, modernising their defence institutional structures, and fighting corruption; and all of this is partly at least because of the aspirations to join NATO", Stoltenberg said.

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