Donald Trump threatens to REFUSE to defend NATO members who don't pay

Trump threatens trade tariffs and REFUSAL to defend NATO members who don’t spend enough on defense as he prepares for showdown with German’s Angela Merkel

  • Trump refused to say NATO should meet its Article 5 defense obligations to nations who lag on defense commitments
  • He has berated nations that fall short of 2 per cent GDP target 
  • Called their defense ‘a very interesting question’
  • Blasted Germany for its 1.4 per cent defense spending
  • Also threatened to impose tariffs on allied nations who slack 
  • Threatened to ‘do something’ on Trade if Germany doesn’t ‘come along’ 

President Donald Trump failed Tuesday to provide a definitive guarantee that NATO should honor its pledge to defend nations that are behind on their defense commitments.

Trump made the comments in London just hours after he berated French President Emanuel Macron for his own ‘very disrespectful’ comments about the treaty organization, after Macron said it was suffering ‘brain death’ due to wavering leadership. 

He did so hauling out blunt terms like ‘protection’ and ‘paying up.’ 

Later, during a meeting with French Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump got asked by a reporter if nations who fall shy of a 2 per cent defense commitment – Trump calls them ‘dues’ – should enjoy protection from the allied nations.   

‘You know we’ll be discussing that today and it’s a very interesting question isn’t it?’ Trump responded.

‘It’s not really fair and it never has been fair and they’re paying up,’ Trump said of nations who are behind on NATO defense commitments

‘And, you know it also depends on what your definition of delinquent is,’ the president said.  

‘Some are way below 1 per cent and that’s unacceptable. And then if something happens we’re supposed to protect them and it’s not really fair and it never has been fair and they’re paying up,’ Trump complained. 

He singled out Germany, whose NATO contributions have hovered around 1 per cent and have been increasing gradually year-over-year since 2015. Trump brought up the notion of cumulative deficits in spending.

”They would owe us money. You’re talking about – really you’re talking about trillions of dollars,’ he said. ‘Nobody has ever brought that up. They just keep talking about the present,’ he said.

Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr take part in an educational practice of the “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force” (VJTF) as part of the NATO tank unit at the military training area in Munster, northern Germany, on May 20, 2019

President Donald Trump made the comments during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Winfield House

A salesman, left, assist a customer browsing Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz vehicles at the Mercedes-Benz of San Francisco dealership in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. Trump suggested he might impose tariffs on German goods if it doesn’t boost its spending on defense

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr during her visit of an informative educational practice of the “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF)”, which is part of a NATO tank unit, at the military training area in Munster, northern Germany, on May 20, 2019

Then Trump leveled a threat – presumably an escalation in tariffs that have previously been linked to trade issues.

‘We are talking to Germany tomorrow and they’re starting to come along. They have to. They have to. Otherwise if they don’t want to, I’ll have to do something with respect to trade,’ he warned, without adding specifics. 

Trump said Canada was only ‘slightly delinquent’ on meeting its defense commitments. It spends about 1.3 per cent of its GDP on defense, even as he tore into Germany, which is spending 1.3 per cent of its much larger economy – slightly ahead of Canada for 2019, according to NATO.

‘In theory you don’t just say that’s okay you don’t have to pay. I mean they really owe all that money from the past. That’s the way I look at it. If Germany is an example. Germany is paying 1 per cent and they’re supposed to be paying 2 per cent, you’re talking about billions of dollars. 

Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday afternoon.  

Trump made the comment after taking a victory lap and announcing $130 billion of additional annual commitments by NATO members, after foreign heads of state gamed out how to manage the treaty organization’s most vocal critic in advance of this week’s meetings. 

He and Trudeau then had back and forth on how much Canada pays the organization. 

‘Well, we’ll put them on a payment plan, right?,’ Trump said. ‘I’m sure the prime minister would love that. What are you at? What is your number?’

Trudeau added that ‘the number we talked about is 70 per cent increase over these past years including and for the coming years, I think including significant investments in our fighter jets, significant investments in our naval fleets. We are increasing significantly our defense spending from previous governments that cut it.’

But Trump wanted a hard number and asked for it: ‘Where are you now in terms of your number?’

Trudeau said Canada was at 1.4 per cent and ‘continuing to move forward.’

Trump nodded and pointed out ‘they’re getting there. They know it’s important to do that. And their economy is doing well. They’ll get there quickly I think.’ 

NATO’s Article 5 on collective defense states that an attack on one ally is considered as an attack against all allies. 

Earlier Tuesday, Trump had unloaded on French President Emmanuel Macron for his own comments on NATO, appearing to stoke a potential split. 

‘But I do see France breaking off. I’m looking at him [Macron] and I’m saying, he needs protection more than anybody and I see him breaking off,’ Trump said.  

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