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Trump’s ex-strategist: Europe’s defence spending must go up

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Prague, May 22 (CTK) – American Republican Steve Bannon, former chief strategist of U.S. President Donald Trump, criticised Europe for low defence spending in a debate with Democrat Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, held in Prague on Tuesday.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” Bannon said about the low spending.

He said the United States cannot continue to pay for the global apparatus. “We cannot afford to do it,” he said.

Bannon said Europe is “supposed to be a partner.”

Europe should stop behaving as if it were an American protectorate, he said. “Act like an ally and not a protectorate. We have protectorates in NATO, we have protectorates in the Persian Gulf, we are protectors of Taiwan in the South China Sea… It is time for our allies to step up,” Bannon said.

Referring to the defence spending, Davis also said European countries “should do their share” and they should do it much better than now.

The debate was called What the Heck is Going on in America? and it also focused on U.S. economic policy.

Bannon defended Trump’s economic nationalism and said the West, including the Czech Republic, must economically confront China which uses unfair business practices.

Davis said he hoped Trump would not repeat the mistake of those of wanted to stay out of Europe and say “let them fight their own wars, we have nothing to worry about in America as we built a wall.” Fortunately, this ended with NATO and the United Nations, he said.

Davis said Trump’s administration did not pay enough attention to the American working class and did not protect American jobs. New jobs for low qualified citizens are not created, Davis said.

Bannon and Davis repeatedly commented on the latest presidential election in which Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in late 2016. They agreed that the Democrats were defeated also because they lost contact with their traditional voters – the low-income groups which often supported Trump. Davis has been a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Bannon said the Democrats keep focusing on possible Russian influence on the presidential election and they do not return to issues crucial for the working class, which is why they will fail in the autumn elections to the U.S. Congress.

He said he believes there will be a heated campaign before the autumn elections.

Bannon also mentioned a possible visit by Czech President Milos Zeman to the White House. Shortly after Trump’s election, Zeman said Trump invited him to the White House. No such invitation has come so far, however.

Bannon said Trump has been meeting politicians with whom he discussed major international affairs. He said there still was plenty of time for Zeman’s visit.

The Czechoslovak Group industrial holding invited Bannon and Davis to Prague, in cooperation with the CEVRO school of political studies.

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