With Trump, NATO Chief Tries to Navigate Spending Minefields
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US President Trump in order to celebrate the alliance’s 70th anniversary and to discuss important issues like Russia and Trump’s insistence that NATO allies spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense.
During the meeting, Trump stated that he believes that NATO will “get along with Russia,” and complained that Germany is “not paying their fair share,” because the country’s defense spending is currently 1.35% of GDP. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel claims she is committed to get her country to reach the 2% minimum, current projections put the number as low as 1.25% by 2023.
President Trump has taken an unorthodox approach to NATO from the start by openly criticizing it and privately expressing his desire to pull the US out of the alliance. Trump has also indicated that Brazil could potentially join NATO and said that he wants NATO to start focusing on threats coming from China, even though the alliance was primarily designed to deter Russia.