NATO leaders made an “unwavering commitment” to shoulder a greater share of the military-preparedness burden Wednesday after President Trump lambasted alliance members generally, and Germany specifically, for failing to pull their weight.
Following a contentious meeting with Trump, NATO members signed a joint declaration voicing their commitment “to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership.”
The meeting got off to a rocky start as Trump targeted Germany and fellow European allies for falling short of their commitment to spend two percent of GDP on defense by 2024. According to current NATO projections, just 15 member states, or slightly more than half, will meet that benchmark, which was established in 2014.
Taking to Twitter Wednesday morning, Trump called on America’s European allies to step up efforts to meet the 2 percent threshold “immediately,” rather than on the previously agreed upon timeline, and further suggested that a commitment of 4 percent would be required to achieve parity with U.S. defense expenditures.
Speaking with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, Trump voiced opposition to Germany’s trade relationship with Russia, questioning why exactly the U.S. should expend resources protecting Germany when it purchases vast quantities of oil from a hostile adversary.
Trump suggested that Germany became “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” when it approved the construction of a natural gas pipeline that effectively doubled the quantity of gas Russia can introduce directly into German markets.
“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.”
“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,” Trump added on Twitter.
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