Following his announcement of Kavanaugh, Trump traveled to Brussels to meet with fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders.
He was quick to lash out at fellow members regarding their contributions to defense spending, stating member countries needed to step up the proposed increase in spending before the 2025 deadline for member nations to do so.
“What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Whey 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.”
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
According to budget figures, the United States spent 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense in 2017.
Furthermore, Trump suggested that NATO members owe the United States for money it has spent on NATO’s collective defense, but the budget figures determined by NATO are based on individual nation’s defense budgets and not on the entire alliance.
Trump also called out German for being a “captive of Russia,” continuing his indirect attacks at German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“They got rid of their coal plants. They got rid of their nuclear. They’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it’s something that NATO has to look at. I think it is very inappropriate,” Trump said during a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Germany one of several European nations working on a direct natural gas pipeline – Nord Stream 2 — between northern Germany and eastern Russia. The pipeline, if approved, would then link up to pipeline infrastructure that carries natural gas to western Europe. Of note, both former President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush voiced opposition to the pipeline during their tenures.
Stoltenberg quietly fired back, suggesting that disagreements between nations are commonplace and that member nations still have to rally around the core message of the organization.
“I think that two World Wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart,” Stoltenberg said. “… we understand that when we stand together, also in dealing with Russia, we are stronger.”
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