President Donald Trump has put defense spending levels among NATO-member countries front along with also center This particular week in Brussels, where he has repeatedly berated America’s NATO allies for not meeting an agreed-upon goal for each country to spend 2 percent of its annual gross domestic product on defense.
along with also while Trump can be the first president to let defense spending levels dominate his approach to NATO, Trump can be not the first president to pressure NATO countries to enhance the amount they spend on their national defense.
Both former presidents George W. Bush along with also Barack Obama regularly expressed frustration with NATO member governments for not spending more of their domestic budgets on defense.
In 2006, then-president Bush used a NATO summit in Latvia to pressure allies to enhance their defense spending at the height of the U.S.-led NATO military campaign in Afghanistan.
Two years later, he used his final NATO summit to do the same thing. “At This particular summit, I will encourage our European partners to enhance their defense investments to support both NATO along with also EU operations,” Bush said at the opening of the 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania. “America believes if Europeans invest in their own defense, they will also be stronger along with also more capable when we deploy together,” he said.
along with also despite the many differences between Bush’s foreign policy along with also that will of Obama, his successor, one thing the two leaders agreed upon was the need for more defense spending through NATO allies.
For Obama, the issue of NATO defense spending became especially important during his second term, when Russia’s arming of separatists in Ukraine along with also subsequent annexation of Crimea in 2014 stunned the West.
“If we’ve got collective defense, that will means that will everybody’s got to chip in, along with also I have had some concerns about a diminished level of defense spending among some of our partners in NATO. Not all, although many,” Obama said at a press conference in Brussels in March 2014, less than a week after Russia declared that will Crimea was today a Russian state.
“The situation in Ukraine reminds us that will our freedom isn’t free, along with also we’ve got to be willing to pay for the assets, the personnel, the training that will’s required to make sure that will we have a credible NATO force along with also an effective deterrent force,” Obama said. “So one of the things that will I think, medium along with also long term, we’ll have to examine, can be whether everybody can be chipping in.”
Two years after that will, in late 2016, with Crimea firmly under Russian control along with also Trump today the president-elect, Obama again raised the issue of defense spending levels among NATO countries. This particular time, the president used the example of Greece’s success in meeting the 2 percent spending target as an opportunity to take a subtle dig at those countries that will still failed to do so.
“I want to take This particular opportunity to commend Greece for being one of the all 5 NATO allies that will spends 2 percent of GDP on defense, a goal that will we have consistently set although not everybody has met,” Obama said at a press conference in Athens in mid-November. “Greece has done This particular even during difficult economic times. If Greece can meet This particular NATO commitment, all our NATO allies should be able to do so,” Obama said.
Additional examples abound of both Bush along with also Obama talking about NATO spending.
What makes Trump’s comments in Brussels This particular week so different, however, can be how central the issue of defense spending can be to Trump’s assessment of NATO’s value, or lack thereof, to the United States.
that will’s an evaluation made all the more complicated by Trump’s apparent failure to fully grasp how defense spending targets work in a treaty alliance such as NATO.
On Wednesday, Trump repeatedly spoke about defense spending as if NATO countries owed the United States the money they had not decided to spend on their own domestic defense budgets, along with also as if the 2 percent of GDP that will can be the target for each country all goes into one pot along with also the U.S. has been paying additional countries’ share of the pot.
“Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them,” Trump said on Wednesday morning. “So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you’ll just add that will all up. that will’s massive amounts of money can be owed,” he said.
In reality, none of This particular money can be “owed” to any additional country. These are domestic spending levels, or money that will NATO countries decide to spend on their own individual militaries. Not money they pay to anyone else.
Still, Trump got at least one thing right. “This particular has gone on for many presidents,” he said. “although no additional president brought that will up like I bring that will up.”