Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Brussels for his first NATO meeting on Friday pushing the U.S. agenda of increased defense spending by member states and a greater role in the fight against terrorism before President Trump arrives in May.
NATO member countries have until 2024 to meet a shared pledge to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense but the Trump administration is unapologetic about wanting to see allies “do more, faster.”
“It is no longer sustainable for the United States to maintain a disproportionate share of NATO’s deterrence and defense spending,” a senior State Department official told reporters on Tuesday.
Outside of the U.S. which spends over 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense spending, four NATO members including Greece, Estonia, the U.K. and Poland cross the 2 percent mark. Others such as France and Turkey are nearing the target.
NATO alliance member Germany ,who President Donald Trump has said owes “vast sums of money,” spends 1.2 percent.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen rejected Trump’s claim, saying that “there is no debt account at NATO.”
Overall defense spending among European allies has increased over the last year but Secretary Tillerson will push for a clearer demonstration.
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Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang
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