National Security

Trump Moves the Goal Posts on NATO Defense Spending

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Although defense spending by our allies in NATO and Europe has increased in recent years in response to Russian aggression, Trump has continuously claimed that they aren't meeting their non-existent obligation to spend more on defense.

But some of them are spending the suggested amount of 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) or exceeding it (France and Turkey spent 2.3 and 2.2 percent of GDP on defense in 2017) so Trump is moving the goal posts.

Trump now says they should spend 4 percent of GDP on defense.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump told NATO leaders on Wednesday they should increase their defense spending to 4 percent of their country’s economic output, higher than the group’s goal of two percent, a White House official said.

The official said the president’s remarks were not a formal proposal but came as he was urging leaders to increase their outlays on defense.

Even we, the United States, do not currently spend 4 percent of GDP on defense. Even with the recent increases in defense spending passed by Congress, American defense spending totaled 3.6 percent of GDP in 2017.

The obvious goal here is to raise the bar to an impossible or unattainable level so he can keep attacking our allies even if we aren't spending as much as he says they should.

For some members of NATO, particularly the smaller members, even trying to spend that much on defense would probably destroy their economies or at least amount to political suicide by their ruling government parties. And that's really the point, isn't it? Destroy them.

For the United States to spend 4 percent of GDP on defense, Congress would have to increase spending by about $100 billion.

  • Draxiar

    All of our NATO allies should jointly propose that they’ll consider it as soon as trump denounces Putin, condemns the annexation of Crimea, enforces sanctions against Russia for election meddling (and not just in the US), and takes Putins cock out of his mouth.

  • Badgerite

    He is aware, I would hope, that the NATO Alliance is designed to be a defense force primarily against a potential invasion of
    Europe by Russia? By Vladimir Putin. Maybe he should talk to Putin about spending less on his military and backing off of former provinces of the Soviet Union that are now independent states. And what our NATO provide to the US in terms of intelligence is by far more important to the security of the United States than some increase in military spending.
    A terrorist attack flies under the radar and requires knowledge to stop far more than military hardware or personnel.
    He is a flaming idiot. (Charitable assessment) More likely. He is a Putin asset doing his best to destroy NATO and all American alliances.
    One of the things Bill Clinton did as president was to send Ron Brown around the world setting up trade agreements and opening markets to American products or all variety, including agricultural. trump is destroying those markets and they are not likely to come back any time soon.

  • muselet

    Despite moments when he must have stomach-churning bouts of buyer’s remorse, Vladimir Putin is certainly getting his money’s worth from Donald Trump, isn’t he?

    –alopecia

    • Aynwrong

      My stomach churns. Putin seems more of a face palmer to me.