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Trump, Macron may clash on European defence in Paris talks

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Trump, Macron may clash on European defence in Paris talks

By Steve Holland

 

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FILE PHOTO: France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump as they hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

 

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron headed towards a potential clash in talks on Saturday after Trump took offence to what he called a "very insulting" comment from Macron about the need to create a European army.

 

Fresh off U.S. congressional elections that saw his Republican Party's power erode, Trump is spending the weekend in Paris to bolster the U.S.-European alliance at World War One remembrance ceremonies.

 

But in a tweet prior to landing in Paris, Trump took a dim view of comments Macron made in a Europe 1 radio interview this week.

 

Discussing cyber security threats and global instability in general, Macron said Europe needs to protect itself against China, Russia and the United States. 

 

Later in the interview he spoke about the need for a European army.

 

“Confronted by Russia, which is on our borders and which has shown itself willing to be threatening, we need to have a Europe that can better defend itself by itself and in a sovereign way, without depending solely on the United States," he said.

 

Trump, who has pushed NATO allies to pay more for their common defence and not rely so heavily on the United States, complained.

 

"Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly," Trump said on Twitter.

 

The president, joined by his wife Melania and high-ranking U.S. officials, arrived late on Friday aboard Air Force One for a visit that he called "very special" and one that he "looked forward to."

 

Trump's official mission on the trip is to participate in ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. He will make pilgrimages to two American cemeteries, Belleau Wood two hours east of Paris on Saturday and Suresnes on the western outskirts of the capital on Sunday, where he will make formal remarks.

 

His trip comes just days after congressional elections delivered results that will complicate his next two years. While Republicans slightly expanded their majority in the U.S. Senate, they lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives to Democrats who may use their newfound power to launch investigations into Trump and stymie his agenda.

 

Trump's talks with Macron at Elysee Palace are likely to cover European concerns about Trump's plans to withdraw the United States from the 1980s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement and U.S. renewal of sanctions against Iran.

 

Macron told Europe 1 radio that the "main victim" of the U.S. withdrawal from the INF accord was Europe and its security.

 

The French president, who tried but failed earlier this year to talk Trump out of withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, has also voiced worries about the impact of sanctions on European companies doing business with Iran.

 

Trump may also chat briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin when both are among dozens of world leaders gathered at the Arc de Triomphe to mark the end of the Great War 100 years ago. Trump and Putin are expected to have formal talks later this month when both attend a G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.

 

Trump, who has pursued "America First" policies since taking over the presidency in January 2017, declared himself a "nationalist" during the run-up to the congressional elections, a term likely to raise concerns in Europe.

 

"I’m not a globalist, but I want to take care of the globe, but first I have to take care of our country," he told Fox News Channel's "The Ingraham Angle" last week. "I want to help people around the world, but we have to take care of our country, or we won’t have a country."

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-11-10

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Trumps comments aside, if there is to be a European Union there should probably be a unified European Army/Security Force. Ironically, I think attempts to create this force might signal a death knell for the European Union.

Edited by lannarebirth
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A European Army - now imagine the rivalry, the politics around leadership and promotion and the opportunities to scam.

 

Macron - wonder if he did his national service? Anyway, look into history. French military not noted for their successes!! Without the US they'd be speaking German now!

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Just now, Enoon said:

 

it's just a question of expanding and modifying the current force.

 

No need to "imagine", perhaps you could ask someone serving already what it's like?:

 

EU Battlegroup - Wikipedia

 

The British component was on standby for deployment in 2005 and 2008.

 

British Battlegroup - Wikipedia

 

 

 

No it's not. Germany's foreign minister applauded the British Brexit decision saying they could now move forward with some projects that Britain had been blocking including the establishment of a EU army.

 

This army would be answerable to the EU - bureaucrats and parliament. Fits in nicely with the EU super state envisaged by many European politicians.

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4 hours ago, Baerboxer said:

Macron - wonder if he did his national service? Anyway, look into history. French military not noted for their successes!! Without the US they'd be speaking German now!

Alternate theory says without the Japanese Navy the USA would have stayed at home and out of another European war. So perhaps without the Japanese Navy they'd be speaking german now?

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3 hours ago, Retiredandhappyhere said:

Trump understands that Europe needs the United States for its defence but merely wants them to pay a more reasonable proportion of the cost, as they agreed to do some years ago.   Macron's idea of a European force would lead to much weaker defence for Europe, and probably much higher cost overall, with many years of wrangling about who was going to be in charge and, if so, in what language, as Macron would insist on it being French, no doubt.  It would also facilitate the move towards the EU leaders' ultimate dream of a United States of Europe, which fortunately the UK will not be a part of.

Looking at it from purely conventional warfare terms, Western Europe does not have the financial or industrial wherewithall or the geographical advantages to defend themselves without the USA. Even looking at the inadequacy of the Russian Armed forces, it is clear that they would roll over Europe rather swiftly. The USA, with its Industrial might, large population and geographic insularity is the only thing that keeps the Russian Bear at bay. Europe cant defend itself and it is cheaper for them to pay more for what little they do than to try. 

 

The comment that evidently pissed Trump off was not the creation of an Army per se, but the comment that it is needed to defend Europe from the US. 

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13 hours ago, charmonman said:

What exactly is Trump complaining about? Macron is suggesting that Europe take more responsibility for defending itself “without solely depending on the United States”.

 

Isn’t that what he has been whining about all along? Now that Macron suggests the same thing, now Trump is insulted?

 

I feel sorry for all the other world leaders (except Putin) who have to deal with this unstable idiot.

 

Putin wants the US out of everywhere in the Eastern Hemisphere, the reasons for that are pretty clear.  And we know who obeys Putin.

DT promises his rabble that the Europeans "will pay their fair share" for US presence.  Probably offended the Great Orange Ego hearing Macron talking about circumstances beyond the US withdrawal, and the possibility of Europe and US as adversaries:  DT has to be the big man that calls the shots! 

If the ultimatum DT offered was "pay up or we leave" and the EU is saying "bye-bye" it means Mr Art of the Deal has failed yet again, and this time on the world stage.

 

The most worrying part is back home it doesn't matter what he does, his electorate fanbase will believe whatever he says.  He can go on Fox and say "Macron threatened me with a nuclear strike on the US" and he will be believed.  There is no principal to reign in the naughty schoolboy.

 

 

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