He accuses European NATO allies of freeloading, telling a rally this week that they had treated the US like "schmucks".
Huntsman cited Trump's meeting earlier this month with North Korean Kim Jong Un as having "reduced tension on the Korean Peninsula", and said that any reduction in tension with Russian Federation "would be on a much bigger scale".
Allies are braced for a barrage of invective from Trump for not spending enough on defense, and are apprehensive that his often skeptical tone on the alliance that has underpinned European security for 70 years might turn into outright hostility. Most participants in the poll (62%) believe that Putin's chief objective during the negotiations would be resolving bilateral issues, while Trump would try to strengthen the United States' position (71%).
McFaul said Putin could be persuasive, armed with his arguments and lots of confidence. "I think we'll see more and more countries developing relationships that they think will benefit them in an era when they can't count on the United States the way they used to", said Goldgeier. A+ for Trump on this one.
Trump's obsession with military costs would make sense if it were part of an attempt to reduce the USA defense budget. He has pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement as well as the Iran nuclear deal, slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and threatened additional tariffs on products like automobiles.
Trump also took aim at what he indicated were trade inequities with the EU on Monday in an indication he will attempt to link the USA commitment to European security with trade. "Only Trump has billed the summit as such as a success", said Beyer, a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats.
The US commander-in-chief has a familiar stick to wield: the shortfall in defense spending; or as Trump puts it, allies' refusal to "pay what they owe".