Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies should double their defense spending goals

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies should double their defense spending goals

"We have a very, very good relationship", Trump told reporters, hours after saying that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia" because of its reliance on Russian natural gas.

'During the President's remarks today at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4%.

The criticisms of America's allies come days before Mr. Trump is slated to meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin - whom he often says he wants to get along with - in Helsinki, Finland.

While U.S. defense spending makes up 70 percent of combined allied governments' military budgets, just 15 percent of U.S. expenditure is spent in Europe on NATO-related defense.

The alliance set a goal in 2014 for each country to reach the 2% of GDP spending target by 2024.

"Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back", Trump said at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

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"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the USA ambassador to Belgium.

"I wanted to say that, because of current events, I have witnessed this myself, that a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

Germany invested 1.24 percent of its GDP in 2017 and estimated to do the same in 2018. He recently suggested that his relationship with Putin is "easier" than his relationships with U.S. allies in Britain and Europe. Despite Merkel's tough talk over Russia's annexation of Crimea and sponsorship of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, she has defended the $11 billion pipeline deal to supply her country's energy shortfall.

Trump has claimed on numerous occasions over the last week that the United States" more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security of the group compared to its European allies is "very unfair' to the American taxpayer.

His comments were linked to the president's push for other European countries to pay more for its defence needs, in particular Germany. "My mother's family, for example, was divided by the building of the Wall", she said in remarks upon receiving the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?

House Intelligence Committee member Eric Swalwell of California used a tweet to weigh in, writing that "Germany at least gets energy out of its relationship with Russian Federation".

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