Trump Repeats Calls for Higher Spending for NATO Allies

Yesterday, US President Donald Trump called on NATO allies to increase their defense spending to 4% of GDP – double the current requirement of 2% of GDP by 2025. Trump wrote on Twitter:

“What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”

He later followed up that statement by tweeting that the 2% commitment “must ultimately go to 4%!” later that day.

At a press conference in Brussels on Thursday evening, Trump walked back some of the criticism he had of the Alliance, announcing that the allies had agreed to increase defense spending percentages.

Although he had threatened U.S. withdrawal from the Alliance, saying he would “do his own thing” if NATO members did not increase spending, Trump now says that the Alliance is very strong. He called members’ commitments to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP “a major victory,” although the commitments were first made in 2014, well before he took office.

Trump smoothed over tensions created through his criticisms of the Alliance this week, saying that there are no problems and that the allies had pledged to increase defense spending commitments "very substantially."

"We are doing numbers like they've never done before or ever seen before," said the U.S. President.

Although Trump has called for changes to NATO defense spending pledges, the 2%, 2024 commitment agreed upon in 2014 seemingly still stands after this week's NATO sessions.

In January 2018, Luke Coffey of the Heritage Foundation wrote “Since the [2008] war, Georgia has transformed its military. It meets the NATO standard for defense spending. Georgia has contributed thousands of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, and hundreds of peacekeepers to the Balkans and Africa. Even with the Russian invasion and its aftermath, Georgia has not been deterred from fostering closer ties to the West. This has made Georgia a net contributor to transatlantic security.”

In 2017, Georgia’s military budget was USD 331.42 million – 2.18% of GDP that year – according to Trading Economics.


By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: France 24

12 July 2018 16:19