At the top of President Donald Trump’s agenda in Europe next week will be confronting Russia, delivering a major address on America’s vision for the continent going forward, and what constitutes “fair trade,” top White House officials said Thursday.
“He’ll do what is necessary to confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior,” H.R. McMaster says.
Trump will first go to Warsaw, Poland, for a major speech before traveling to Hamburg, Germany, for the G-20 Summit. The trip will include a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin amid investigations at home about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
1.) Confronting Russia
During the G-20 Summit in Germany, Trump will meet several foreign leaders, including Putin, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said.
This comes as a special counsel and Congress are investigating Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.
McMaster said the president hopes to gain a consensus on dealing with Russia.
“As the president has made clear, he would like for the United States and the entire West to develop a more constructive relationship with Russia,” McMaster said. “He’s also made clear that he’ll do what is necessary to confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior.”
He later added that America’s allies should seek common ground with Russia in curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, de-escalating the Syrian civil war, and combatting the Islamic State and other terrorists.
“On Russia, the president has asked us to work together across all departments and agencies, to really do three things, to confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior, whether it’s cyber threats, whether it’s political subversion here in Europe or elsewhere, in the Balkans, confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior, come up with a strategy to do that,” McMaster said.
The second goal is to deter Russia, McMaster added.
“So, what is it that we have to be able to put in place to deter conflict?” McMaster said.
“Then the third thing is to foster areas of cooperation,” he added. “What are the areas that we can identify in which we can work together with Russia, which is clearly in both of our interest.”
In addition to Putin, Trump will also meet with the leaders of Germany, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia, and Singapore, and likely other countries, McMaster said.
2.) Fair Trade
Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters about Trump’s goals for trade with the G-20 partners, which was key to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Cohn said:
The goal of U.S. trade policy is expanding trade in a way that is free and fair. Insisting on fair trade is the best way to ensure long-term strength of the international trading system. The United States stands firm against all unfair trading practices, including massive distortions in the global steel market and other non-market practices that harm U.S. workers. We ask the G-20 economies to join us in this effort to take concrete actions to solve these problems. We will act to ensure a level playing field for all.
3.) Vision for America and Europe
Before going to Germany, Trump will first stop in Poland, famed in the 20th century for its struggle against both Nazi Germany and its role in ending the Cold War against the Soviet Union.
Trump will deliver a major foreign policy address in Krasinski Square, the center of the Warsaw uprising against Nazi occupation in 1944.
“He will praise Polish courage throughout history’s darkest hours and celebrate Poland’s emergence as a European power and he will call on all nations to take inspiration from the spirit of the Poles as we confront today’s challenges,” McMaster said. “He will lay out a vision, not only for America’s future relationship with Europe but the future of our trans-Atlantic alliance and what that means for American security and America’s prosperity.”
4.) Holding NATO Accountable
Poland is among the Baltic states that have fully met their NATO obligations of 2 percent gross domestic product invested in defense. But Trump plans to again raise burden-sharing with NATO allies at the G-20 Summit.
“While there are no official NATO meetings on this trip, the president will meet with many NATO leaders and will reiterate his commitment to NATO’s common defense and his expectation that all countries share responsibilities and burdens,” McMaster said. “We’ve seen countries strengthen their defense budget in response to the president’s call. When we all do more, our alliance becomes stronger and our countries are all more security.”
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