Donald Trump is speaking about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, claiming that Germany owes money for U.S. protection. After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on Friday, March 17, 2017, Trump took to Twitter claiming, “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States.”
NATO Claims Follow Meeting
Merkel met with Trump to discuss the relationship between the two countries. Evidently, the NATO claim made by Trump, Germany owes money, followed their conversation about the alliance between countries.
When he was busy campaigning, the president spent a good amount of time putting down NATO, stating it was outdated. At the same time, he blasted alliance member countries for not contributing their promised 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP), to the organization. In 2014, the 28 NATO members agreed to escalate their military spending to at least 2 percent of their GDP within a 10-year time frame.
At this time, only five countries are currently contributing 2 percent or more. The U.S. pledged 3.36 percent in 2016. Other countries that have reached the 2 percent goal are Greece, with 2.36 percent in 2016; Estonia, at 2.18 percent; Britain, at 2.17 percent; and Poland has assured 2.01 percent.
In determining contributions, a cost-sharing formula was agreed upon between NATO countries. It is dictated by a country’s total national income, along with dividends and monies received from other nations.
Duly, when looking at the NATO formula, the U.S. is first in contributions, at 22.144 percent, with Germany coming in at second place with 14.65 percent. In contrast, when looking at only country’s GDP, the U.S. leads, far above the set amount. However, Germany lingers at 1.20 percent in 2016. The NATO claim made by Trump, Germany owes money, clearly only refers to the percent of GDP on defense outlay.
Germany Fights Back Regarding NATO Claims
Trump’s reference to “Fake News,” in his Twitter outburst, was focused on his meeting with Merkel. Seemingly, the president was upset by news accounts stating that their meeting did not go well. Trump tweeted how “great” the meeting was, but continued ranting about the huge amount of money that NATO and the U.S. are owed by Germany.
During her meeting with Trump, it is said that Merkel restated that Germany is committed to its agreement in expanding spending for its military to the NATO agreed on GDP 2 percent. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen made a statement Sunday, in rebuttal to Trump’s tweet. Specifically, von der Leyen mentioned, “there is no account where debts are registered with NATO.” She continued with the query of how spending for the military was being assessed.
In refutation to the NATO claim made by Trump, Germany owes money, the defense minister said that the spending for the alliance should not be the only benchmark to detail the military endeavors made by Germany. This statement is seen as her way of alluding to Germany’s actions, keeping peace in other countries, and participating in the war to disarm the Islamic State group.
Von der Leyen stated that future budgets for the military in Germany, will include the allocation for NATO, the country’s participation in the undertakings of the United Nations, and the European Union toward keeping the peace.
NATO, also known as the North Atlantic Alliance, was first signed as the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949. The main purpose of the organization is for countries to ban together using their political influence and militaries to defend overall freedom and security. Cooperation between member countries is imperative in promoting democracy.
By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Deutsche Welle: Germany owes ‘vast’ sums of money for NATO, claims US President Donald Trump
CNS News: US Pays 22.1% of NATO Budget; Germany 14.7%; 13 Allies Pay Less Than 1%
CNN Politics: Germany’s defense minister to Trump: No, we don’t owe NATO money
Deutsche Welle: Germany owes zero debt to NATO – defense minister
Featured and Top Image by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License