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Politics Trump Floats Idea NATO Allies Should Double Defense Spending Target

20:17  11 july  2018
20:17  11 july  2018 Source:   bloomberg.com

In Pointed Letters, Trump Demands More Defense Spending From NATO Allies

  In Pointed Letters, Trump Demands More Defense Spending From NATO Allies The letters, which went out last month, are the latest sign of acrimony between Mr. Trump and American allies as he heads to a NATO summit meeting next week in Brussels.WASHINGTON — President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies, including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada, taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance.

U.S. President Donald Trump suggested to NATO allies that the alliance’s target to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense should be doubled . It was an informal proposal, yet one that does little to ease tensions at an already charged summit.

US president suggests doubling of 2% spending target that only five countries have met.

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NATO Allies Defend Their Military Spending In the Face of President Trump's Criticism

  NATO Allies Defend Their Military Spending In the Face of President Trump's Criticism NATO allies are pushing back against U.S. criticism that they are not spending enough on defense as President Donald Trump ratchets up pressure ahead of a summit next week. In the weeks leading up to NATO’s July 11-12 summit in Brussels, Trump sent letters to the governments of Norway, other European allies and Canada demanding that they boost their defense spending.After Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO allies agreed to stop cutting defense budgets, to start spending more as their economies grew and to move toward a goal of devoting 2 percent of GDP to defense within a decade.

None of the NATO allies are in arrears on these contributions. Mr. Trump is referring imprecisely to a goal NATO has set for each member to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on its own defense What does Mr. Trump mean when he says NATO should have had 9 billion more?

The New York Times has concurred that, “Many allies can do more to reach the target level of spending 2 percent of their annual G.D.P. on defense ”—even And when asked why NATO countries should spend 2 percent, experts often cite the fear that Russia—having invaded Ukraine—might

U.S. President Donald Trump suggested to NATO allies that the alliance’s target to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense should be doubled. It was an informal proposal, yet one that does little to ease tensions at an already charged summit.

The suggestion was made behind closed doors at a gathering that’s shaping up into a fight on several fronts, with Trump accusing Germany of being a “captive” to Russia over its support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. He’s also badgering allies to meet a 2 percent target that only five of the 29 members currently meet.

NATO set a goal for members to spend a set proportion of economic output on defense at a 2014 meeting in Wales. Internally, not even NATO uses the figure as a standalone measure of what makes a good ally. Trump’s idea wasn’t reflected in the summit conclusions.

Trump’s pressure on NATO is working, US ambassador says

  Trump’s pressure on NATO is working, US ambassador says President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to boost spending for their own defense is paying off, U.S. NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said. Separately, the U.S. envoy said she’s concerned that Russia is trying to “flip” Turkey and other American allies to its column.“NATO really is making progress, and they are doing it really at President Trump’s insistence,” Hutchinson said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s very clear, and he’s been very direct about the Europeans needing to do more for their own security.

President Trump has regularly complained that U.S. allies in NATO are underspending on defense . The 2 percent spending target has long lived as a rough rule of thumb within NATO .

When measured as a share of gross domestic product, the U.S. still spends more than the 2 percent target . In all, the U.S. spent 5.9 billion on defense in 2017. Trump , who has threatened to reduce U.S. military support if allies do not increase spending , pushed for the 28 other NATO

According to a French official, Trump said it would be a good thing if everyone spent around 4 percent on defense, which was presumed to be a generous rounding up of the U.S. budget of some 3.57 percent of GDP. It wasn’t a demand, rather just a mention, the French official said.

Still, Trump is using the 4-percent argument to ram home his message that the U.S. gets a bad deal from allies. His point, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, is that NATO members should be spending far more than 2 percent.

Raised it before

“During the president’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4%,” Sanders wrote in an email. “The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year. President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”

Asked about Trump’s comments, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was reluctant to endorse such a move.

“I will focus on what we have agreed and we have agreed that we committed to the pledge increasing defense spending to 2 percent,” he told reporters. “And let’s start with that. We have a way to go.”

With assistance from Viktoria Dendrinou.

McCain rips Trump: NATO actions 'disappointing' but not surprising .
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday blasted President Trump's rhetoric at the NATO summit, calling it "disappointing" and not representative of the United States. "There is little use in parsing the president's misstatements and bluster, except to say that they are the words of one man. Americans, and their Congress, still believe in the transatlantic alliance and [NATO], and it is clear that our allies still believe in us as well," McCain said in a statement.

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