And, when asked in July by the New York Times if he would come to the aid of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – if they were attacked by Russia, Trump said he would only do so if the countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us”. He made it clear, while the U.S.is an ally, Trump does not feel everyone is paying their “fair share”.
Pence was in Germany to address diplomats and defense officials at the Munich Security Conference February 18, and to meet with world leaders. “In a year in which we see unimaginable challenges we can either work together or retreat to our individual roles”.
Pence, for his part, sought to allay such fears. Eight years ago in the same hall, his predecessor Joe Biden made headlines with a promise to “reset” relations with Russian Federation.
Tusk said Monday’s meeting was “truly needed”, and that he heard from Pence words that are promising about the future and explain the Trump administration’s approach. Shortly after landing at his holiday home in Mara- Lago, Florida – where he is spending a third consecutive weekend – the president lashed out in 140 characters.
In Munich, the American allies were searching for clues from Pence as to how the Trump administration plans to deal with Russian Federation in the aftermath of Flynn’s departure, USA inquiries into Russia’s involvement in the presidential election and Trump’s past praise for Putin.
Part of the unease in Europe over its relationship with the new administration comes from Trump’s support of Brexit and previous comments where he suggested that other countries may decide to leave the European Union in the future.
Tusk, a former Polish premier who was jailed in the 1980s for opposing Soviet control, seized on Pence’s personal memories of a youthful visit to divided Berlin to remind the new administration of the value that Europeans attach to Cold War support from an earlier Republican president, Ronald Reagan. He has since in conversations with foreign leaders talked about the importance of the alliance.
America, Russia and China are working to weaken Europe because “if Europe unites, in the long term, it will become the most important world power”, French writer and economist Jacques Attali said in a recent interview with euractiv.com.
Trump at one point questioned whether North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was “obsolete”.
But French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was “struck” that Pence had never mentioned the European Union, which raised doubts after Trump welcomed Brexit and appeared to hope other European Union states will follow suit.
This message was welcomed, but others went down poorly. Merkel explicitly warned against this in a speech just before Pence spoke.
As well as meeting Tusk, Pence saw the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the head of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Pence also acknowledged that if allies failed to stop defense cuts, gradually increase spending and meet the 2% target within the decade, the U.S. In January, Trump said the European Union was “basically a vehicle for Germany”.