Canada, U.S. express concern at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation over Russian pipeline into Germany

Lawrence Kim
July 12, 2018

The president received a lot of attention and criticism today when he started the summit with America's allies in Brussels by attacking Germany in the middle of a photo-op.

The NATO chief was also frank about the impact of Trump's stance at a broader level.

Moreover, Stoltenberg argued Wednesday that the USA military presence in Europe, through the 29-country alliance, gives it an advantage in dealing with Russian Federation and projecting power in the Middle East and Africa.

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg later told reporters that Trump had used "very direct language" but that all NATO allies were agreed that the cost of defence spending must be spread around and that past year had seen the biggest increase in a generation.

They account for a major portion of the US agricultural exports to China. That's not how alliance funding works. Article 5, the collective defense portion of the North Atlantic Treaty has been invoked just once - following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

US President Donald Trump has urged North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to commit 4% of their GDP to military spending - double the current target. That stands at 2% of GDP.

"We are investing heavily in the German armed forces and other European countries too, because the armed forces need it". If one country spends less or more than the guideline, other countries are not obliged to follow suit. "NATO is not like a club with annual membership fees".

At issue, the disparity in defense spending; Kevin Corke reports from Brussels, Belgium.

"NATO is not a stock exchange where you can buy security". The budget for that program is capped at $817 million for 2018.

Meanwhile, NATO members in Europe contributed a total of $249.7 billion to their defense budgets and spent an average of 1.46% of GDP.

Before an evening program, Trump met with Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron. All members are up to date on these contributions.

Not even the USA - which spends more money on defence than any other nation in the world - meets Trump's new goal of annual spending of 4 per cent of nations' gross domestic product. The alliance was galvanized that year by Russia's invasion of Crimea, and again in 2015 with the rise of ISIS. Since President Trump took office, he has been highly critical of the spending guideline put in place by the alliance.

Since taking office, Trump has boosted U.S. funding for the United States military presence in Europe by 40%.

"Obviously that deadline is six years away and only a handful of those countries have reached that goal", Smith said, adding that members have in general increased their spending: "The trend is positive". The United States pays about 67 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, more than any other nation, although only 3.5 percent is NATO-related. "They answered. They have fought with American troops for seventeen years".

The remaining 21 are lagging, although most have increased spending.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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