America finally has a leader that tells our allies to pony up their fair share of defense spending.
Via Fox News
NATO leaders pledged their “unwavering commitment” to boost defense spending on Wednesday, following stern words from President Trump criticizing European leaders for spending too little.
The U.S. and European allies signed a declaration stating they are “committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership.”
The declaration comes after confrontational and testy discussions between Trump and other NATO leaders.
Since the election, Trump has criticized NATO countries for not paying their fair share, while suggesting he would only come to the defense of NATO nations that fulfilled their financial obligation.
Trump also has pressed NATO countries to fulfill their goal of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense by 2024. NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet that benchmark based on current trends.
……Via Twitter, he called for members to meet the 2 percent commitment immediately. And in a statement Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump, at the summit, “suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent. Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”
Before sitting down for the first official meeting of the day, the president engaged in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He pressed why the U.S. should continue to pay money to the military alliance while the countries purchase energy from Moscow.
“We are stronger together,” Stoltenberg said, while acknowledging there can be differences among allies.
“But how can you be together when you’re getting energy from the group you want protection from?” Trump responded, using Germany as an example. Trump challenged Stoltenberg to explain why Berlin was getting energy from Russia, and asserted that Germany was “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” over a pipeline project.
That pipeline project, Nord Stream 2 pipeline, doubles the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany, while sidestepping transit countries like Ukraine. The project is opposed by the U.S. and some European Union members.
“We’re supposed to protect you against Russia and yet you make this deal with Russia,” Trump said of Germany. “Explain that. It can’t be explained.”
Trump followed up 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.”
For decades, the United States has carried most of the financial burden for the protection of NATO allies. It’s time they paid their fair share. If you have skin in the game, help pay for it.
The United States spent more than 3.5% of its GDP on defense in 2017, or about $685 billion, according to a NATO report. While that is down from more than $740 billion in 2011, it’s still well above the outlay of all other members. In 2017, the U.S. is estimated to have spent more than 69% of the cumulative total.
In 2018, the U.S. defense budget is $706 billion.
Meanwhile, NATO members in Europe contributed a total of $249.7 billion to their defense budgets and spent an average of 1.46% of GDP.
Canada only contributed 1.29% of its GDP, while Germany – which has drawn criticism from President Trump – spent 1.24% of its GDP on defense last year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her government will increase spending to 1.5% of GDP by 2024.
Only three countries aside from the U.S. – Estonia, Greece and the U.K. – are currently spending above the NATO guideline of 2% on defense. Poland’s spending, however, was at 1.99% of GDP.
And of course, the leftie media is beside itself with hysteria:
What a refreshing change from Obama’s pandering, apology tours, and execrable foreign policies.