On the campaign trail, Donald Trump criticized NATO countries for not paying their “fair share.” Now, it appears that his administration intends to back that up. Trump’s secretary of defense just told our biggest allies that if they don’t pay up, Washington will “moderate its commitment” to the alliance.
Speaking at the Nato headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, James Mattis reiterated that under Trump’s administration, member nations will need to spend 2% of their GDP “on our common defense” if they expect the United States to have their backs.
No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defence of Western values,” Mattis said.
“Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do,” he added.
Of the 27 countries that make up NATO, only five of them currently meet this target: US, UK, Estonia, Greece and Poland. Other countries that are on track to do so but aren’t there yet.
“America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense,” Mattis said.
According to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, contributions from member nations are already increasing and this is all that U.K. Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon, is asking for.
An annual increase that we’re asking them to commit to would at least demonstrate good faith,” he said.
Mattis said on Wednesday that the “alliance remains a fundamental bedrock for the United States and the trans-Atlantic community, bonded as we are together.” But his comments are likely to only heighten the fears Trump’s attacks on NATO brought to the surface during the campaign, and with good reason. Member nations, especially those close to Russia, have no reason to believe a U.S. led by Trump will stand up to Vladimir Putin if and when the time comes.
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