Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Has President Trump Succeeded In Having NATO Track Its NATO Commitments?
McClatchy News: Trump has done what Obama didn’t: scare NATO into tracking defense spending
BRUSSELS: President Donald Trump sent shock waves across Europe when he railed against the NATO alliance and threatened to hand out bills to those not paying their share of defense expenses.
He wasn’t the first to raise concerns, President Barack Obama also frequently lamented NATO members’ failure to spend enough on defense.
But it was Trump’s undiplomatic rhetoric that got the issue at the top of the group’s agenda this week where NATO’s members are expected to accept the idea of public report cards to make sure everyone’s meeting the requirements of the alliance.
Obama complained three years ago at a gathering of European Union leaders that defense couldn’t just be left to the United States and Great Britain. Citing Russia’s annexation of Urkaine’s Crimea, Obama charged the situation “reminds us that our freedom isn’t free.”
Six years ago, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates went further, warning NATO leaders that younger U.S. politicians – “those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me” – might abandon the six-decade-old defense alliance if allies didn’t carry a greater portion of the load.
But it was Trump who scared leaders into accepting closer monitoring of their defense spending when he called the 28-member organization “obsolete” and threatened to pull out or significantly cut funding.
Read more ....
WNU Editor: The mass majority in NATO do not come close to their commitment that 2% of their GDP must be defense related. I live in Canada, where defense spending is 1.02% of GDP .... Canadian defence spending among lowest in NATO despite small increase last year (CBC), and there is no interest from the Canadian PM to change this .... Trudeau holds firm on defence spending amid new U.S. pressure on NATO allies (Toronto Star). So tracking NATO spending will only show how much NATO states are not meeting their obligations .... it is not going to change their priorities or policies. Will this change priorities and policies in the future .... I doubt it .... but we shall see.