Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday July 12, 2018
Trump suggests NATO allies could double defence spending beyond 2014 pledge
U.S. President Donald Trump barrelled into a NATO summit Wednesday with claims that a natural gas pipeline deal has left Germany “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia” as he lobbed fresh complaints about allies’ “delinquent” defence spending during the opening of what was expected to be a fraught two-day meeting.
Trump also suggested that NATO allies commit to spending four per cent of their gross domestic product on defence — double the current goal of two per cent by 2024.
The president, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that kicked off his visit, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany as it strikes deals with Russia.
Trump’s dramatic exchange with Stoltenberg set the tone for what was already expected to be a tense day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance as Trump presses jittery NATO allies about their military spending ahead of his meeting next week with Putin.
“The United States is paying far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some. So we’re going to have a meeting on that,” Trump said, describing the situation as “disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States.”
“They will spend more,” he later predicted. “I have great confidence they’ll be spending more.”
And with that, he went on to push allies at the summit to double their commitment on defence spending.
“During the president’s remarks today at the NATO summit, he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of two per cent of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to four per cent,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders.
She said the president raised the same issue at NATO last year and that, “Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.” (Source: CBC News)