President Donald Trump is making NATO members finally pay their fair share.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked the American president for pressuring NATO’s 28 member countries to increase their defense contributions.
Since Trump became president, Stoltenberg claims that NATO allies are now starting to pony up more of their money towards strengthening the alliance “after years of decline.”
Stoltenberg made it clear that NATO members have to pitch in to keep this alliance going, stating that “NATO is a strong alliance, but to remain a strong alliance, we have to be a fair alliance.”
He also added, “And therefore, Allies have to invest more in defense. You have a very clear message on that, and your message is having a clear impact.”
The NATO Secretary General said that all members, with the exception of the United States, which is already spending 4 percent of its GDP, plan to increase their defense spending by $100 billion by the end of 2020. This would put defense expenditures close to the 2 percent target number that all NATO members agreed to in 2014.
In 2016, Trump caused controversy when he told The New York Times that if other NATO countries don’t pull their weight, he was ready to pull America out of NATO. The United States spent $664 billion on NATO in 2016—roughly three-quarters of NATO’s spending that year.
Trump made his point clear:
If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries … with massive wealth. Massive wealth. We’re talking about countries that are doing very well. Then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.
Fast forward to the present, Trump is now saying that other NATO countries are “catching up.”
BLP reported last month how Trump was not letting up the pressure to make NATO members start paying more for defense. Trump’s calls to action are beginning to have an effect on the other NATO countries.
However, there is still much work to be done as far as returning to an America First foreign policy goes. Defense industry interests run deep in Washington and they went go away without a fight.
Senate neoconservatives have already obstructed Trump on both the Afghanistan and Syria withdrawals. With hawkish statements coming from the State Department and Vice President Mike Pence last week, it looks like Trump still has to tame the neocon elements in his administration.
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