AntiWar.com & Emily Shugerman / The Independent & Reuters – 2018-07-04 17:51:41
Trump to Tell NATO
US Won’t Be World’s Piggy Bank
NATO nations defend military spending
below US-demanded levels
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(July 3, 2018) — Next week’s NATO summit in Brussels in going to be another round of pushes by US officials, led by President Trump, for other members to increase military spending. President Trump has been writing threatening letters making the rounds to those nations.
The long and short of the narrative is that the US cannot, and will not, be “the world’s piggy bank” in providing defense for all these other NATO nations who aren’t spending at the same level as the US.
Those other nations have long resisted US demands to get spending up to 2% of GDP annually. The resistance is likely to continue, with some nations already pushing back ahead of the summit, saying they are already spending at levels they feel comfortable with.
President Trump’s options are limited in pressing most of these NATO nations, who don’t have any real enemies on their frontiers, and don’t have the ability to increase their military spending substantially without breaking their budgets.
Belgian PM Charles Michel, one of the leaders who will be pressed to raise spending, downplayed Trump’s letter, saying it was “typical” of what happens ahead of NATO summits. That’s likely the case, and neither Belgium nor the others are likely to agree to such increases.
Trump Writes Threatening Tetters to NATO Leaders
Telling Them to Pay Up, Report Reveals
President sends pointed missives ahead of NATO summit in Brussels
Emily Shugerman / The Independent
NEW YORK (July 3, 2018) — Donald Trump has reportedly sent sharply worded letters to several NATO member countries, urging them to spend more on their self-defence, in an escalation of the US president’s long-standing feud with the military alliance.
In letters reportedly sent to leaders of NATO countries like Canada, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, Mr. Trump accused the allies of “underspending” on their national defence, and warned that the US may soon change its stance on the alliance.
“The United States continues to devote more resources to the defence of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us,” Mr. Trump wrote in a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to the New York Times.
A National Security Council spokesperson declined to comment on the record, but told The Independent on background that Mr. Trump remained committed to the alliance. He added that the best way to signal NATO’s resolve would be for every ally to “share their burden of our collective defence”.
Mr. Trump has long been critical of the 29-member alliance, claiming the US has been “taken advantage of” by countries that do not want to pay their fair share. But the letters show Mr. Trump has doubled down on this position going into the NATO summit next week — the first major summit since the contentious G7 meeting last month.
The NATO allies agreed in 2014 to spend more on their own national defence, aiming to eventually contribute two per cent of their GDP to the effort. Many members countries say they are still working towards that goal, and are frustrated by Mr. Trump’s threats.
Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told the Associated Press that his country is “following up” on the 2014 agreement, adding that Norway has spent “far beyond” NATO’s target for spending on new military equipment.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, meanwhile, told reporters last week he was “not very impressed” by Mr. Trump’s letter.
“Belgium has halted the systematic fall in defence spending and takes part in a lot of military operations,” he said, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Germany announced earlier this month that it would increase its defence spending to one-and-a-half per cent of its GDP by 2024, prompting US Defence Secretary James Mattis to say they were “on the right track”.
But Mr. Trump criticised Ms Merkel in his letter last week, saying it was difficult to justify why some countries “do not share NATO’s collective security burden” while American soldiers “continue to sacrifice their lives overseas or come home gravely wounded,” according to the Times.
The letters come after Mr. Trump sparred with members of the Group of 7 at a summit last month, refusing to sign a joint communique and calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest and weak”. Many of those same leaders with be present at the NATO summit in Brussels next week, after which Mr. Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin — a major NATO foe.
In an interview with CBS last week, national security adviser John Bolton attempted to steer the conversation away from the Russia summit, saying: “If you think Russia’s a threat, ask yourself this question: Why is Germany spending less than 1.2 per cent of its GNP?”
“When people talk about undermining the NATO alliance, you should look at those who are carrying out steps that make NATO less effective militarily,” he added.
Trump Will Tell NATO Nations
US Cannot Be the World’s Piggy Bank
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (July 3, 2018) — President Donald Trump will tell fellow NATO countries at next week’s summit that the United States cannot be “the world’s piggy bank,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Tuesday.
“What the president is going to do is go into these meetings with the mindset to protect the American people, stand with our partners and allies — but as he has said many times before America is thought so often to be the world’s piggy bank. And that’s gotta stop,” Gidley told reporters as Trump flew to West Virginia. Trump has pressured some NATO allies to significantly increase military expenditure.
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