“Canada continues to place a premium on tangible operational contributions."


What: Canada's military spending will fall sharply this year despite President Donald Trump's demands that the country invest more in defense, according to a new NATO report. 


The CBC ​reported the news ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels Wednesday that was attended by Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump went beyond his past demands that NATO country leaders step up their countries' defense spending and ​pushed for them to double their commitments. 


But according to the CBC, Canada will spend just 1.23 percent of its GDP on defense in 2018, down from 1.36 percent last year. NATO members commit to spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense, but few meet that target. 


The drop-off in spending the year was largely due to one-time expenses last year, National Defense spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier told the CBC: a retroactive pay increase for service members and a $1.8 billion payment into their pensions. 


“Canada continues to place a premium on tangible operational contributions as well as on demonstrating a commitment and capacity to deploy and sustain personnel in support of the NATO alliance," Le Bouthillier said.


Trump and Trudeau quarreled last month after the G7 meeting in Canada. Having previously called Trump's protectionist trade policies "unacceptable," Trudeau after the summit ​told reporters that Canada "will not be pushed around."


Trump then refused to sign a joint statement by the G7 and tweeted that Trudeau was "dishonest and weak."  


White House trade adviser Peter Navarro later said there was “a special place in hell” for any leader who “engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.” He later apologized. 

Why: Trump has ratcheted up tensions with US allies over longstanding trade and security ​arrangements. At the contentious G7 summit last month, Trump reportedly called the European Union worse than NATO, which he has often disparaged.

Trump's skepticism about international alliances, and particularly NATO, are music to the ears of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump is slated to meet with on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.


Trump has previously lauded Putin's leadership and been reluctant to criticize Russia's bloody domestic repression, support for violence in Ukraine and Syria, occupation of Crimea, and meddling in democracies, including the 2016 elections.


He has also called for Russia to be readmitted to the G7 and reportedly said Crimea is Russian because everyone who lives there speaks Russian. He has even shown interest in ceding control of Syria to Russia.


On the other hand: Some have ​argued that the import of Trump's rhetoric gets overblown, and he is actually presiding over an inevitable realignment of the world order. In practice, it has been noted, the Trump administration has taken a relatively hardline on the eastern front, arming Ukrainian rebels and sanctioning Russia.