NATO states have agreed to increase their defense spending by $100 billion over two years after President Trump went on a fiery tirade last July - calling on "delinquent" countries to boost their contributions by 2% to 4% of GDP. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance heard Trump's call "loud and clear" and that member nations are "stepping up," according to the Telegraph.
In conciliatory comments apparently designed to smooth over repeated public criticism of other alliance members by the US leader, Mr Stoltenberg said member states had agreed to add $100 billion to defence budgets over the next two years.
Mr Trump has repeatedly complained that other members of Nato do not meet their spending commitments, including a blistering tirade at the NATO summit in Brussels in July in which called other member governments "delinquent." -Telegraph
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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
"President Trump has been very clear. He is committed to NATO… but at the same time he has clearly stated that NATO allies need to invest more," said Stoltenberg. "So we see some real money and real results, and we see that a clear message from President Trump is having an impact. NATO allies have heard the president loud and clear. NATO allies are stepping up."
"What he’s doing is to help us adapt the alliance, which we need," he added. "This is a clear message to Russia and I think they see that."
On Sunday, President Trump celebrated the announcement, tweeting: "Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, just stated that because of me NATO has been able to raise far more money than ever before from its members after many years of decline."
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, just stated that because of me NATO has been able to raise far more money than ever before from its members after many years of decline. It’s called burden sharing. Also, more united. Dems & Fake News like to portray the opposite!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2019
Trump sent NATO members scrambling last year when he openly questioned the value of remaining in the alliance, while the New York Times reported last week that he had multiple discussions in 2018 with top security advisers about withdrawing. Trump's ire was on public display during a bilateral breakfast with Stoltenberg and others last July, in which Trump blasted Germany for their reliance on Russian energy while the US is expected to pay for their defense.
Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium... pic.twitter.com/l0EP3lzhCM— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
As muni expert Cate Long commented after the exchange:
"President Trump called out Germany for expecting the US to pay for their defense against Russia while they cut a massive oil and natural gas deal with Russia. The simplicity and elegance of his argument cannot be overstated. The duplicity of the German govt is outrageous."
Leading up to the summit, Trump said that many countries were "nowhere close" to their commitments, and that "by some accounts the US is paying for 90 percent of NATO."
The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%, and NATO benefits.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
In 2014, NATO member nations agreed to spend 2% of their GDPs on defence by 2024 - however just four of the alliance's 29 countries have met that target, with only 15 expected to do so by the deadline.