Donald Trump joined Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes this morning, and in a wide-ranging interview, stood by his contention that the NATO alliance is “obsolete” and “extremely expensive for the United States” and that traditional allies actually ripped off U.S. taxpayers.
“We are getting ripped off by every other country in NATO,” Trump said this morning. “They pay almost nothing.”
There’s a fair argument that European NATO allies need to spend more on defense. They set up a goal of getting each country to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, and so far, only five of the 28 members meet that threshold — the U.S., Britain, Estonia, Poland and Greece.
But the hyperbolic portrayal of our closest allies as “ripping us off” and their collective $300 billion per year on defense spending as “almost nothing” is typical ill-informed, insulting Trumpism.
The world’s third-largest defense budget is . . . the United Kingdom, at $66 billion. France is fifth at $52 billion. Germany ninth $43 billion. Italy, Canada, and Turkey rank 13th, 14th, and 15th. And these are countries with much smaller populations and economies than the United States.
Overall, non-U.S. NATO countries make up nine of the 25 largest defense budgets on Earth.