In a clear nod in acknowledgment of President Donald Trump’s long-standing criticism of the joint military organ and a lack of funding by member states failing to hold up their end of the bargain, NATO leaders today affirmed an “unwavering commitment” to agreed defense spending targets according to Reuters. In a joint summit statement signed off by member states and provided to the public, the heads of the North American Treaty Organization made it clear that they plan to do better in terms of contributing to the shared ledger.
“We are committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership.”
The United States currently contributes around 3.6 percent of its GDP towards NATO operations, dwarfing the next largest contributed by GDP, the UK, coming in at over 2.1 percent. All other 25 nations fall below the promised expectation – Canada contributing 1.3 percent of its GDP, Germany 1.2 percent, and Spain 0.9 percent to name a few.
In addition to the commitment to meet their spending targets – the line drawn in the sand is an expected contribution of two percent of GDP per member state – NATO leadership figures also discussed the continuing threats to world stability posed by Russia, North Korea, and Iran. NATO members expressed points of concern with current and recent actions taken by Russia, pointing specifically to a nerve agent attack conducted in the British city of Salisbury and more generally to Putin’s hand in destabilizing regions of Europe in addition to his annexation of Crimea.
President Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remain engaged in peace talks with North Korea, the rogue nation currently promising complete denuclearization according to Reuters. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has met with President Trump previously during their historic Singapore Peace Summit which was successful in negotiating the repatriation of American war dead from the Korean conflict of the 20th century as reported by TIME as well as another round of family reunions between North and South Korea according to the Inquisitr.
President Trump has been unrelenting in his criticism of NATO hitherto, with many speculating that he may even force a withdraw from the joint military organization if his suggestions were not taken seriously, according to The Telegraph. With today’s concession following a brutal press conference earlier this morning in which Trump made his stance on the matter perfectly clear, particularly singling out Germany as being a “captive to Russia” due to a severe energy dependency and economic integration.
"Germany is totally controlled by Russia," Pres. Trump tells NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg as they sit down together for bilateral breakfast ahead of Brussels summit. https://t.co/CmyplgrxzN pic.twitter.com/6RnFk8Drgs
— ABC News (@ABC) July 11, 2018
“It’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” The Huffington Post reports Trump as saying.
“If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia, because they supply ― they got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia,” he added. “I think it’s something NATO has to look at.”
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, cause they are getting 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,” Trump said.
Will these concessions made to the American president blunt his sharp edge on the matter? Only time and the potential fulfillment of the member states’ promise to NATO will tell.