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

08:06  04 july  2018
08:06  04 july  2018 Source:   time.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.

NATO Allies Defend Their Military Spending In the Face of President Trump ' s Criticism . “We participate in many military operations with our NATO allies and it is this government that decided to end the systematic reduction of defense spending ,” he said.

BRUSSELS — 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.

a man riding on the back of a vehicle: French military tanks and vehicles, part of a NATO mission, are unloaded on March 29, 2017 at Tapa military base.© RAIGO PAJULA—AFP/Getty Images French military tanks and vehicles, part of a NATO mission, are unloaded on March 29, 2017 at Tapa military base.

(BRUSSELS) — 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.

Brussels anti-Trump protest draws some 1,400

  Brussels anti-Trump protest draws some 1,400 A Brussels protest for peace and against the policies of US President Donald Trump drew around 1,400 people Saturday, days before he arrives for a NATO summit. "We want peace, not war," and "No war with Iran," were among slogans brandished by marchers at the rally organised by the "Trump not Welcome" group.The event passed off without incident with a number of children attending.Organisers wanted to show their opposition to Trump's demand that Europe raise its share of defence spending and to his immigration policies which they dubbed "inhumane.

BRUSSELS – 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.

President Donald Trump sent letters to the leaders of NATO allies , including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada, demanding that they increase their defense spending and threatening to alter the US global military presence if they do not, according to a report in The New York Times on Monday.

In an email Tuesday to The Associated Press, Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said “Norway stands by its decision of the NATO Summit in 2014 and is following up on this.”

Norway has spent “far beyond” NATO’s target on new military equipment, he added.

In Germany, “we stand by the 2 percent goal we’ve set,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday. “We’re on the path there. And we’re prepared … to take substantial responsibility within the alliance,” she added.

When faced with the suggestion that the German government’s explanations might not impress Trump, von der Leyen retorted: “We don’t want to impress anyone.”

Germany is “investing as much as necessary, as appropriate and as is fair toward our common allies or partners in the alliance,” she said.

European Council President: U.S. 'won't have a better ally' than EU

  European Council President: U.S. 'won't have a better ally' than EU President of the European Council Donald Tusk sent a message to President Donald Trump via Twitter."U.S. doesn't have and won't have a better ally than EU. We spend on defense much more than Russia and as much as China," Tusk wrote on Twitter after tagging Trump's account.

Trump to NATO allies : Spend more on military 02:38. Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump has scaled up his demands on NATO allies ahead of a summit next week in Brussels, Belgium. And as he has since he was a candidate

President Donald Trump is demanding that Norway ramp up its defense spending as a NATO partner, according to a Robert Gates, who served as defense Secretary under both Obama and Bush, warned in 2011 that the US could lose interest in NATO if allies did not increase investment in their militaries .

The upcoming NATO summit is the first major meeting since the fractious Group of Seven talks in Canada last month. NATO officials are concerned that trans-Atlantic divisions over trade tariffs, as well as the U.S. pullout from the Paris global climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal, could undermine alliance unity.

In the letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, dated June 19, Trump wrote that despite her country’s important role in the alliance Norway “remains the only NATO ally sharing a border with Russia that lacks a credible plan to spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense.”

The stance was repeated in a similar letter to Belgium, where Trump said it will “become increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security commitments.”

Trump dressed down his NATO counterparts last year, publicly berating them for not spending enough and claiming they owe the U.S. money. When he first came to office he even suggested that the U.S. — by far NATO’s most powerful ally — might not protect countries that don’t pull their weight.

Senate overwhelmingly passes resolution supporting NATO as Trump attacks continue

  Senate overwhelmingly passes resolution supporting NATO as Trump attacks continue Lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution supporting NATO, as President Trump continues to criticize members. The measure expresses the Senate's support for the body and calls on negotiators to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to NATO.The 97-2 vote in the Senate comes as Trump heads to Brussels for the NATO summit. He will also travel to the UK and meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki during his trip.GOP Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee voted against the measure, according to Defense News.Democratic Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) proposed the measure, calling the U.S. support for NATO "ironclad.

S . President Donald 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 defence and warning that the United States is losing patience with their failure to meet security

President Trump castigated the leaders of NATO allies to their faces during his trip to Europe this week, suggesting that many of them “owe massive amounts of money” to the alliance. Mr. Trump has a point, but he mischaracterizes the way it works.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel played down the importance of the letter he received, saying it was “typical” of things sent ahead of meetings like the NATO summit.

“I am not too intimidated by this type of mail,” he said, adding that Belgium is doing its part in the military alliance.

“We participate in many military operations with our NATO allies and it is this government that decided to end the systematic reduction of defense spending,” he said.

In Canada, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan’s chief of communications said the government has committed to increasing funding by more than 70 percent over the next decade.

“This plan has been rigorously costed, is fully funded, and serves Canada’s defense needs. It also upholds our long-standing role as an active contributor to global peace and security,” said Director of Communications Renée Filiatrault.

Despite the political rhetoric from the Trump administration, the 2 percent figure does not concern spending on NATO and no one owes the alliance or any ally money. It is about the size of national defense budgets only. Other factors that nations take into consideration when looking at burden-sharing are the amount of money spent on new military equipment and contributions to NATO operations.

FACT CHECK: Trump keeps promoting myth about NATO debt

  FACT CHECK: Trump keeps promoting myth about NATO debt En route to a NATO summit, President Donald Trump is spreading the myth that members of the alliance owe money to the U.S. His tweet Tuesday: "Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?"THE FACTS: There is no such debt to the U.S. or to NATO. Therefore, no delinquency or question of payment.

President Trump met with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands on Monday in the Oval Office. In letters sent last month, Mr. Trump demanded that NATO allies spend more on their own defense.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times.

BRUSSELS — NATO allies of the United States plan to boost their defense spending by 4.3 percent this year, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, a response in part to intense pressure from President Trump that the nations invest more in their militaries .

But the U.S. spends more on defense than all the others combined — 3.61 percent of GDP in 2016, or around $664 billion. That’s roughly two thirds of total spending on national budgets, according to NATO estimates.

Trump argues that a pledge was made and must be kept.

“The president has publicly shared his frustration that he’d like to see other countries step up and do more, particularly when they have the capability and they’ve made the commitment to do 2 percent. He’d like to see them fulfill that commitment,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee said Tuesday.

“The United States has more than surpassed that and is carrying a lot of that burden and he wants to see other countries that have the capability to do that step up and do the part that they committed to do,” she told reporters.

Others argue the 2 percent pledge is a guideline only.

“You can ask 10 lawyers to provide a legal interpretation of that document and then you will have, I guess, 10 different interpretations,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “This document is not a legal document. It is a political document with a political commitment.”

Trump's NATO threat sent Pentagon into 'damage control' mode .
"One thing you need in this alliance is predictability," one diplomatic official said. The direct conversations were aimed at "reinforcing alliance commitments," after Trump "made it clear alliance commitments were on the table," according to one U.S. official familiar with the discussions.When asked at a Thursday morning press conference whether he had threatened to pull out of NATO, Trump replied, "that's unnecessary and people have stepped up today like they've never stepped up before. And remember the word, $33 billion more they're paying.

Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/world/-162099-nato-allies-defend-their-military-spending-in-the-face-of-president-trumps-criticism/

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