Trump Presses NATO on Military Spending, but Signs Its Criticism of Russia

The contrast reflected a growing disconnect between Mr. Trump and his more traditional foreign-policy advisers when it comes to America’s role on the world stage.

Comments: 188

  1. His personal qualities aside, Trump is shining a harsh light on a reality that probably can't be sustained and should be looked at as coldly and honestly by Europe as it is by Trump.

    NATO was created to prevent Soviet Russian encroachment on more of Europe. The Soviet Union is no more, and despite energetic efforts by Western governments and media to make us believe that the threat still exists, it's clear to most of us that Russia under Putin doesn't present anything like a similar threat (every single thing he has done militarily has been defensive in nature, from Ukraine to Syria--and would be done by the USA faced with similar situations).

    The question NATO members dare not ask (with the exception of Trump) is: "Why continue with NATO as it is, with all its expenses and questionable goals? Would not the EU be better off creating its own defensive pact and getting rid of its humiliating and frustrating dependence on the USA?" (and there's no need for Canada to be involved either).

    European leaders shouldn't wait to be abandoned even more humiliatingly by Trump; they should tell him (and the USA): "Thanks for all you've done to protect us in the past. Times have changed and we now need to forge an independent European military alliance. Once we've done that, we can talk about a new military alliance with any other country that shares our interests."

  2. How, exactly, is invading and annexing territory from a neighboring country that is not threatening you (Ukraine) "defensive in nature?"

    And don't forget, that little war also claimed the lives of civilians with no connection to Ukraine or Russia, but had the misfortune to be flying over Ukraine on the way to Malaysia when they were shot down by a Russian SAM fired from a Russian Army unit crewed by Russian soldiers.

  3. You’ve clearly never worked with NATO partners. At present, I have deployed from the dense forests of Poland to the never ending rolling hills encompassing the Republic of Georgia. Our Allies are not prepared to operate without the assistance of the United States. It is painfully obvious in the combined arms exercises with these countries whose soldiers often care more for the monetary benefits of a NATO deployment and the US food in the cafeteria.

    NATO must increase its spending to 2 percent in order to meet basic standards. Afterwards, they may decide to remove the US and Canada..

  4. It is a protection racket. Europeans are rich enough to pay more for their own defense.

  5. Europeans are already are paying over 4 times as much for defense as their only enemy - the Russians. They are even carrying a fairly large amount of the expenses for letting US have forward bases for its projection of power into North Africa and the Middle East. You are right its a protection racket - Trump demanding protection of the American weapons manufacturers. Just like his attack on Germanys import of about 35% of its natural gas from Russia was a protection racket for the uncompetitive liquid natural gas operations in the US. Drain the swamp - drain Trump!

  6. How about this idea. Stop provoking conflict all over the world and you don't need a super military. Apart from creating more human misery than it's purports to prevent, the USA with all it's might hasn't won a war in decades. Time to consider peace and alignment of interests and sharing of wealth might deliver better results with fewer casualties.

  7. If it's a protection racket, then consider where the money is going.

    Military spending feeds directly into the US military-industrial complex.

  8. The US spends more on defense than NATO members (or any other country for that matter) because it wants to. it is considered macho to increase defense spending, sometimes beyond even what is needed, and it is also a form of defense - industry welfare. Obviously European countries do not feel that same need. And although the US spends more than the 2% called for, let's not pretend that it all goes to NATO. The US has armed forces spread throughout the world an at home, and no one can argue that all of our defense spending is earmarked for NATO.

  9. US defense spending goes directly to US military contractors and weapons factories. It's money injected directly into the US economy - economic stimulus.

    Of course the US would like other, smaller countries to spend a similar percentage of their own GDP on US-made weapons. Of course the US would like everyone to commit 2% of their GDP to the US arms industry.

    How "fair" that is or not really depends on who's selling the hardware.

  10. I don't hear anyone saying that all of our massive defense budget is for NATO. We spend 3.5% on NATO while the EU is at 1.5% and they have been increasing their spending over the past four years to target 2% in five years. We do spend far more on NATO than the EU. They should spend a bit more and we should spend less.

  11. The president needs to start cooperating more with our NATO allies instead of seeming to so often being intent on disrupting, dismantling, and pulling apart this important coalition which is vital to our national interests. It is positive that he signed the NATO declaration agreeing to the basic principles and goals since it is a mutually beneficial alliance that continues to keep peace.

    The president needs to stop playing to his base and do what is beneficial to the whole country and start operating with real governance, planning and analysis, and acting less impulsively while following the advice of Congress and the resolution they passed yesterday 97 to 2 supporting NATO.

  12. The president needs to start; change; improve ; etc.which is impossible. Change your president before it's too late!!!

  13. It is true that the US spends more. Thus, there is a better to communicate this info than under the camera, That is not the way to communicate or negotiate out in the open. This attitude will influence the BASE of every nation.

  14. This is coming from a guy who thinks building a wall is a defensive action worthy of expending ten's of BILLION'$ on. America's expenditures on NATO isn't a result of their lacking the will or desire to defend themselves, it's the result of the US wanting the best and the most of everything for our adventures in places other than Europe.

    I would really be interested in knowing where, exactly, that money ends up getting spent. The defense of Europe or the defense and upgrades for American actions in other places, including the continental US.

  15. And placing Tariffs on Imports from Canada is for National Security. Canada is our best least it was until Trump made them the enemy because Trudeau is young and handsome.

  16. Our bases in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe made the war for freedom possible in Iraq, and have given us almost two decades of winning in Afghanistan. Mexico is paying for the Wall, what's the downside of spending somebody else's money?

  17. Germany is not captive to Russia, but it does appear more clearly everyday that Mr. Trump and his family interests align with Russian interests.

    Separately, the NATO commitment is a problem. To confirm 2% of your GDP on defense spending, without a war to fight and for the sake of readiness would represent a surmountable arms buildup. 4% even more so. Who are we collectively planning to attack? It would make more sense for the US to decrease its spending to 2% and spend the billions normally spent on defense and apply it to infrastructure projects the US needs to maintain a robust economy.

  18. The United States spends much more on the military because of our effort to dominate the world. The best solution would be for the USA and other NATO members to agree all of the countries should meet the 2% of GDP target on military spending - both as a minimum and maximum target. The USA should reduce military spending spend the funds on health care, infrastructure, education, and social programs, which would do much more to enhance security for US citizens.

  19. Trump's claim that Germany is somehow held hostage by Russia is absurd. An evaluation I read today stated that about 12% of Germany's energy needs are being met by the natural gas coming from Russia; significantly more is from the burning of coal as Germany has moved away from nuclear power plants; and a growing healthy portion is coming from renewable energy.

    Another evaluation of Trump's recent speech to his adoring fans in Montana revealed that 76% of his statements were either totally false or misleading. There is no reason to believe anything this man says. His goal, among others, is to ensure that each of his inane and ignorant remarks is plastered on the front page of every world newspaper every day.

    Whatever claims The Donald makes about other nations in the European Union should be met with skepticism, if not outright disbelief.

    Time to call the Carnival Barker for who he is, a salesman and an experienced conman.

  20. Agree with Tim 100% except for the term salesman. Top people in sales build trust by using a logical presentation of features and benefits to persuade someone to meet a need. Trump knows lies and bullying, not selling.

  21. Trump, a national embarrassment. a while ago he said Russia had every right annexing Crimea since it was disputed land and Russian speaking. IMO, he was actually right, but will change his mind like on this issue on every other day to make himself look good.

    I don't like to use slang dissing words but Tillerson his ex. sec. of state had it right when he called him a moron.

    All Nato members pay their dues. Dispute a non binding commitment re military spending they really don't want to have a bloated military like we have. They want to give included higher education and health care to their citizens while we live in the Middle Ages re these issues.

  22. typo despite not dispute...

  23. How about all countries agree to a defense cut. An arms race is such a waste.

  24. Precisely. While we Americans can be easily duped into enabling bloated military budgets exceeding the next ten or twelve biggest spenders combined (though screaming bloody murder at any suggestion to spend even a fraction of that amount on universal access to health care), it does not follow that people living in countries with a proportional, collective approach to national defense should surrender their good sense and inflate their military budgets to match ours, just because our current Bloviator-In-Chief does not play well with others.

  25. NATO allies press America to stop wasting so much bloody needless money on the Military Industrial Complex.

  26. To all present and future NATO Members; Americans do not believe anything Trump says and neither should you.

  27. trump has an innate paranoia that everyone is out to get him and unless he has a clear upper hand in dollars it's not a win. He's not very intelligent. Only a couple more years before Biden eats his lunch.

  28. The European NATO countries are already spending more than 4 times as much on their military as their enemy the Russians. It is an absolute idiotic thing for them to spend any more on feeding the American military industrial complex. The problem is that US is trying to have an aggressive military presence in the whole world and, therefore, spend a lot more than any country would need to spend on its defense. Now we are demanding that NATO should shoulder the cost of that lunacy. Sad that they are nice enough to not just give us the finger.

  29. Not much stuff in this for a new John le Carre novel. It is far too evident who the mole/traitor is.

  30. He wants them to spend more so the good ole usa war machine can profit more from being by far the leader in arming the world. Blood for much winning!

  31. He is right on this, particularly given Merkels naive and dangerous decision to allow millions of thirdworld immigrants some from radically Muslim countries to destroy Europe.

    Why should we pay our tax money to defend such crazy policy?

  32. Ask yourself why so many from the Middle East are fleeing their countries. It's all because your country illegally and unconscionably invaded and destroyed and otherwise stable country, Iraq. This created a power vacuum and fro this IS and the Syrian conflict were born. Instead of criticising Merkel for taking in refugees from this mayhem, how about your country does something too and uses its money to pay for the damage and suffering it caused in creating this. Your country owes the world a great debt, and it should not be paid in weapons.

  33. He is trying to create a backlash. He wants to give ammunition to the far left so they can cut off spending entirely. A gift to the Kremlin.

  34. " ... believes that attacking Europe and NATO play well with his political base." Mr. Trump seems to think he is the president of about 40% or less of the United States. "Never in modern times has an occupant of the Oval Office seemed to reject so thoroughly the nostrum that a president’s duty is to bring the country together. Relentlessly pugnacious, energized by a fight, unwilling to let any slight go unanswered, Mr. Trump has made himself America’s apostle of anger, its deacon of divisiveness." (Peter Baker, NYTimes) Add in his narcissistic and histrionic personality disorders, plus a growing god complex, and it gets appalling.

  35. " largely reaffirmed existing commitments"

    All this posturing and crazy theatrics, and nothing? Just like with Kim Jong Un summit?

  36. Trump will be gone soon enough. NATO should tell him to take a flying leap, or at least politely ignore him until his dreadful presidency comes to an end.

  37. The underlying premise of America's call for its allies to pay more is that "this is our common defence." There is nothing common about it. America decides who it is going to attack, who it is going to provoke, and who it is going to support, with no concern for the what other countries might be injured in the fallout. When the US built 30,000 nuclear warheads, we were all in harm's way, but no one asked us whether that many warheads was safe or sane. If the US president starts a nuclear war, we all die, but none of us outside the US get to vote for president. When Kennedy invaded Cuba, no one asked us if we were prepared to accept the risk of a nuclear show down. When Johnston and Nixon bombed N Vietnam, no one asked us if that reflected shared values. When the US attacked Iraq, we were all less safe from terrorism, but we were all ignored, and none of us got to vote on whether Bush II would be rewarded by re-election. When the US backed Georgia against Russia in Osetia and S. Osetia, no one asked us whether poking Russia was a good idea. When Trump provokes N Korea, or attacks whoever he is going to attack, we can be damn sure he will not consider anyone but himself -- certainly not us.

    So, if America wants to spend 4% of its GDP on weapons, that is your decision. But don't expect us to be equally wasteful, especially not on the theory that we are all in this together.

  38. I agree nato should go. and almost all udefence spending too. talk about corporate welfare. imagine the health care and infrastructure we could have. wait, nah. let’s just kill people so corporations can profit.

  39. about we start spending less on defense? Heck, at least stop the projects that the military doesn't want, for crying out loud!

  40. What a great idea, the world needs so many more guns, bombs and weapons. This Stone Age thinking from Trump echoes his NRA alliance and I'm sure is also motivated by the belief that the USA presumes much of this money will flow to its arms dealers and manufacturers. It's so sad that this man has put the world on a path of aggression and distrust based on his endless threats and lies. America is no longer the beacon on the hill, playing a stupid short term game while much smarter people and countries patiently build a much more powerful and sustainable future.

  41. I hope that the NATO nations at the meeting didn't share anything sensitive with Trump. He will be reporting everything to his boss, Putin soon. I'm counting on the CIA bugging Trump so that someone looking out for America will know what he's talking about and plotting with Putin.
    Laughable to hear Trump, Putin's puppet, chiding Merkel for being controlled by Russia.

  42. Trump is way way over his head in these scenarios, as a failed real estate tycoon (5 bankruptcies), failed casino operator and laughable reality tv host with zero military, government or foreign policy experience. A tragic situation.

    I'm not aware of any way to insure that candidates running for president are qualified to be president. Obviously the party nomination process - which Trump turned into a theatrical freak show involving threats, insults and outrageous pronouncements - failed this country miserably - as did the Electoral College which exists to protect us from having an unqualified person or nut (Trump is both) from becoming president.

    How do we reach the millions of Trump voters who watched Trump during the ridiculous GOP primaries & watched Trump stalking Hillary Clinton while turning their debates into something resembling WWW wrestling - with Trump threatening Clinton with imprisonment & calling her insulting names - & convince them that voting for Trump as a 'protest' or way to 'stick it to the elites' has resulted in the most dangerous and unqualified president in our history?

    Are we trapped in this mess now because these voters triumphed in 2016 and may re-elect Trump as a protest against ways they believe they've been slighted? Because honestly, who else voted for Trump?

    This is deeply depressing and discouraging. You would hope people would always vote to protect our democracy. But apparently there's no longer a guarantee.

  43. The president's attacks on NATO allies to pony up more money for military spending are designed to win brownie points from his comrade when they meet in Helsinki. His embrace of Putin and his withdrawal from our traditional and trustworthy allies is a pattern that began with the G-7 summit when he trashed the Canadian Prime Minister on his own soil. He's making America obsolete on the world stage.

  44. Germany and the UK are pathetic. The Royal Navy has one aircraft carrier. The Germany Navy has six subs that don't go to sea. They have a handful of combat worthy aircraft at best. In fact it is the French---non NATO---that are the best equipped fighting force along with the USA on the European Continent. Yet big media goes berserk when Trump says in public what many military professionals have been saying in private for the last five years. It is time for Germany to pay up and its time for the UK to increase its military spending.

  45. Germany has long had a free ride. I agree they should pay more, I just don't like the way Trump is trying to enforce it.
    I do think the Eastern European Countries should meet the requirement since we are essentially defending them.
    I don't like Trump's tactics; however, as with previous Presidents he is correct they are not paying enough, especially Germany and the Eastern Block.

  46. This is what happens when low information types think, post, and vote.

    France is a full NATO member since 2009.

    England’s GDP is 1/10th the US. They have one carrier, we have ten. Seems pretty proportional.


  47. Surely you are not saying that France is not in NATO?

  48. If a decade ago, Putin had sat down to write a script about how to destabilize NATO and neutralize American power, he could never have come up with a character so well suited for the role as Trump. The damage is irreparable. Even after this joke of a president is gone, the Western allies will always be forced to wonder whether the U.S. is only an election away from lifting another psychotic to our highest office.

  49. Putin is Russia's mob boss and Donald Trump was kept afloat by Russian mob money for a lot longer than ten years.

  50. I.m wondering what the UK needs with more than two (one more comes in 2020) carriers to defend itself and its NATO partners in Europe.

  51. Weapons mean big bucks. Trump is just trying to fill the pockets of his elite friends.

  52. Well Donald, you could cut our defense spending.

  53. One of the reasons Europe spends less on arms is their generous expenditure on national health.
    Copying that would really make America great.

  54. And they can do that because we provide for their defense. How about if Europe spends 3.5% of its GDP on defense so we can divert more money to social programs?

  55. Time for Russia to join NATO! Makes more sense than continuing the original mission 1955-1991: confronting Warsaw Pact tanks with tactical nuclear weapons.

  56. Every day is a new low. I feel like the country is in a war, but our own president is the enemy. Can not wait until November to stop this monster. Do nothing Democrats not working for Russia to actively harm the country sounds great at this point.

  57. This is classic Trump: Berate your allies, political or international, then do nothing to correct the "situation" he's attacked.

    It's an empty drum that makes the most noise.

  58. NATO was formed to protect Europe against Russia. Our president seems to be a great friend of Putin. When he meets with him next week he should have him sign a piece of paper and make a hand shake to not do any more bad things. The need for NATO gone. Everyone saves money. Winning.

  59. Agreed except that NATO was formed to protect Europe from the Warsaw Pact 1955-1991. That Pact was dissolved shortly before the Soviet Union disappeared, which was when NATO lost its mission and became another floundering bureaucracy. Invite Russia to join NATO.

  60. This is what the 34th President of these United States warned us in his farewell speech to the nation on January 17, 1961 General Dwight D Eisenhower (Republican) warned us against these mega entrepreneurs of the Military Industrial Complex taking shape throughout the world particularly in our country, he said,

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist."

    We are being guided by the Military Industrial Complex, whose only product is the manufacture of killing machines of all sorts, MIC was responsible for the elimination of draft as it was hampering its growth, MIC now controls the standing Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. MIC ensures that their product are used constantly. Although the US is not technically at war for the last 50 years but we are fighting in over 120 countries worldwide.

    NATO is just a part of that elite MIC group which keeps on pushing people of the world towards war so that they keep using the products of the MIC.

    Maybe some of the EU countries are correct in reducing their Military spending and increasing their social services spending as it benefits their population and is not used to kill others.

    We as a nation must oppose war in all its forms. Give peace a chance.

  61. What is the argument against NATO countries paying their fair share?

  62. It begins by questioning what you mean by "fair share." Can you define it?

  63. No. Not a superpower. Just a solid contributing partner. And a grateful one, at that. Their national aggressiveness cost the World millions of lives. We’ve all forgiven them — at least most have. And the German nation has benefited from our generosity. Humility has never been Germanic strongpoint. There are still lessons to be learned...

  64. MIKEinNYC asks "What is the argument against NATO countries paying their fair share?"

    Good question, Mike. Simple, but a good question. Yet to answer it, we need to get some clarification on some things.

    For example, what total is to be divvied up to determine "fair share?"

    Do we count gross expenditures or net expenditures? Net expenditures would be (e.g.,) American taxpayer dollars spent less the revenue collected by US defense contractors (which pay little or no taxes due to tax policy and good lawyers). After all, our economy benefits from our NATO allies buying our systems and equipment, don't we?

    How do we allocate the enormous costs of the US Navy, deployed around the world, to NATO? We have more carriers (e.g, the new $16 billion USS Gerald Ford) than the next seven blue water navies in the world combined. How much of their cruising cost should be charged to NATO? What about our two new Virginia Class submarines ($2.7B a pop). Is NATO responsible for their construction or just operation costs during the time they are assigned to the North Atlantic?

    With an eye on word count, going back to gross or we credit our NATO allies with the costs of supporting the United States optional military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq? Shouldn't they be able to deduct at least the former since they waded in on the strength of the NATO common defense clause?
    Trump doesn't count it because he ran out of fingers and toes.


  65. "... Mr. Trump made it clear that he had come to Brussels as a virtual pariah among allies, and was perfectly happy to be seen that way."
    That's the same bad attitude Trump took to the G7, where he was gratuitously offensive and standoffish. The inane, petty fights which Trump picks will leave him with no credibility should there be a legitimate grievance - and few allies to rely on when catastrophe strikes.

  66. Diplomacy over decades of common cause and blood sacrifice is being shredded by a sociopath who is reduced to defense by scorched-earth offense as he flails desperately, way over his pay grade and irrelevant but for the nuclear codes given him by 29% of the US electorate.

    Trump has no clue that the courtesy and deference he's accorded as US President is a direct result of the role we seized after WW2 as global hegemon. We wanted a bulwark against Russia and China so we recruited Western Europe to be our body-shields against the Soviets (with Germany hosting 34 US military facilities), and set up permanent forward bases in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Indian Ocean, Kuwait, Bahrain, to contain China. We also maintain weapon and munition stocks in numerous countries.

    It's reasonable to say the US weaponized much of the world for its own security as well as to protect its access to raw materials essential as the world's reference economy.

    Our other agenda was to block Germany and Japan from re-militarizing with their own ambition as alphas, like the US, to do as they want without having to be nice.

    The lie was the world wanted us to protect them when what we wanted was to dominate them. Worked well for both, with a few nasty hiccups.

    NATO should wise up and deal directly with Putin. Trump's just a middleman on commission.

  67. The current US military, rather than being exploited by Europe, seems to be of no use to the rest of NATO whatsoever.

    We are hardly secure in relying on being defended by a country that isn't even prepared to defend itself from blatant foreign interference. The chances of the current administration actually taking any action to defend its allies under its NATO obligations must be slight, given the utter disregard for international treaties and the complaisant attitude towards aggressive dictators. It may, regrettably, be time to reconstitute NATO as a smaller but more reliable organisation for countries that take their treaty obligations seriously and leave the US's 'huge' military for its president to play toy soldiers with.

  68. Trump is demanding protection money! This is the way it’s done in the New York - New Jersey area! This reflects his Bully mind set.

    He has no idea what an alliance is, and how it benefits all the members.

  69. Increase their military who could possibly benefit from that?

  70. All of the free world could benefit. The folks in Crimea would agree.

  71. American taxpayers....

  72. Fiction in film,
    The Manchurian Candidate,
    and in literature,
    The Plot Against America,
    feels frighteningly and
    hauntingly truthful.

    Trump, his base and
    the Republican establishment
    are on their way to repealing
    Roosevelt's "New Deal". They
    will have their conservative
    Supreme Court and recent
    judicial appointments
    to change America. The poor
    will be poorer, the unhealthy
    will be sicker.

    It is incomprehensible that
    NATO and our Allies are
    targets for Trump's bombast
    as he prepares to meet Putin,
    his "easy" meeting.
    Let Trump visit Poland, Latvia,
    the Czech Republic and Hungary
    to learn of the citizen's lives
    when their countries
    were Soviet satellites.

    My quote of the day,
    from Philip Roth, "...the
    unfolding of the unforeseen
    was everything. Turned wrong
    way round, the relentless
    unforeseen was what we schoolchildren
    studied as "History," harmless
    history, where everything
    unexpected in its own time
    is chronicled on the page
    as inevitable. The terror
    of the unforeseen is what
    the science of history hides,
    turning a disaster into an epic."
    (The Plot Against America)

    I fear for our future.

  73. We need to CUT defense spending, and narrow that "debt gap", of which our fake president seems so obsessed. There is NO NEED to spend any more on defense. NONE.

  74. I am fairly much in agreement with Mr. Trump's objectives, however, I would respectfully recommend that he adopt a more conciliatory and respectful tone than he has thus far exhibited.

  75. Trump tells NATO, "double your defense spending," knowing that no such thing is remotely possible. But if Russia's plans include moves against any of the Baltic nations, he can say, "I told you to increase your spending, this is what you get, you deserve it, and the US is not going to be part of the response."

  76. The US defense budget currenty sits at 3,5%. Why would the NATO countries consider doubling their share, if not even the US is meeting this threshold?

  77. How does significantly increasing the amount of guns, tanks and fighter jets in Europe make Americans any safer? It seems to me Trump's demands are only going to make things less safe in Europe and do nothing for America.

  78. The only fear for increasing the military budget of NATO members is Russia.Why can't all NATO embers sit with Russian leaders and have peace and friendly posture. Escalating and confrontational approach only will escalate and waste money depriving the poor and needy who needs it most. This is a failure and misuse of democratic processes when government leaders do not work with all and the one's who need most to survive.

  79. Every spending to make the world a better place should be considered. That includes development aid, refugee support, trade support.
    That way we also would expand our influence in other parts of the world. And this is essential, since we face another competition for hegemony with countries like china or russia.
    Trump only knows bombing into submission (like vietnam or iraq) or making buddies with people who may become tomorrows failed dictators (like Auguste Pinochet or Mohammad Reza Pahlavi).
    Despite all his military muscle, the influence of the US in the world is waning. The US will become the mobster you call for some brawl, but who will be excluded from the daily life.
    Lets hope europe stands strong to a more holistic approach for world safety.

  80. Mr.Trump should stay away from international gatherings.He is only happy when he is the center of attention and getting his way.He has never learned to cooperate or be conciliatory.The docile Republicans have given him a by so that he thinks he can bully Europe.He does not know the meaning of the word, "diplomacy".It is a sophisticated art which he will never learn.We have a lot to be ashamed of as Mr.Trump visits our friends around the world.

  81. "our friends around the world" are rapidly dwindling in number.

    The NATO secretary-general pointed this out to Trump today. Trump didn't get it, and went on in his usual arrogant, bullying manner.

    I hope that the US will not need NATO assistance again, as in the case of 9/11.

  82. "Nice little country ya got here, Latvia. It would be a shame if something happened to it. Ya need to trade more with the US. Gotta make a deal...a beautiful deal...with the best words. It's my touch, my feel; it's what I do."

    Protection racket rhetoric. Stormy Daniels heard it (allegedly).

  83. They say in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. After the 97 to 2 vote in the Senate I wonder how many Republicans understand that Russia is functioning on the GOP model for the economy and social and political norms.
    From here it looks like your police, military, courts and religious beliefs the GOP wants for the USA the society Russia has developed since the communists were thrown out in 1991.
    It seems it is only Donald Trump and his team of would be oligarchs who understand the game plan but maybe the GOP thinks the cold war still makes Russia a dirty word.
    The Christian right in Russia the Russian Orthodox Church is the official State religion, the Russian Courts take their marching orders from Putin and racism is not only condoned but encouraged from the highest office in the land. Money is ever more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and elections become less credible with each passing year. Am I not to believe my lying eyes or is there something I am missing that would make me believe that the USA is an evolving liberal democracy?
    May be I am wrong but I believe a large number of Americans are fed up we the complexities of democracy and would prefer a Trump, McConnell, Pence, or Cruz to tell them how to live their lives and that might be Obama's and the Democrats real problem.

  84. "US to decrease its spending to 2%"

    The military-Industrial complex would veto this.

  85. Trump is right. The Europeans have been getting a free ride on our defense budget. Let them pay their fair share for defenses that are mainly for their benefit.

  86. And for whom was Article 5 actually invoked?

  87. Russia could not be happier with Trump's performance in Brussels.

    Whether through ignorance or malice, most likely a blend of the two, he has painted a false picture of the NATO Alliance for domestic consumption. Knowledgeable domestic observers are appalled at his failure to grasp the fundamentals of a multi-lateral mutual defense pact. The simple-minded "USA! USA! crowd are delighted at his fierce punching of a straw man of his own construction...they love a good show.

    Let's make this simple. We have a major military presence in Europe because, if the bell should ring for a European conflict, we want personnel, equipment and facilities pre-positioned. It beats trying to air-lift a sufficiently potent force into place in time to make a difference. In the meanwhile, those facilities serve an important forward operating base function for activities we are carrying out (for better or for worse) in the Middle East and Africa.

    We're not doing members of the NATO Alliance a favor from the goodness of our hearts. They're going us a favor, and reaping some benefits, by helping us ensure that the forward edge of the battle area will be in Europe and not in Massachusetts.

    Contrary to the Trumpistas preferred casting...we are not exactly the "victim" here.

  88. In addition, the security of NATO creates a safe haven for economies that welcome US businesses and US investment that turns a profit. The purpose post-war was to create a US-friendly sphere that was sympathetic and largely accommodating to US interests. It remains like this.

    Threatened places do not really create good business, and vacuums always get filled. If the US sphere decides to retreat into the middle of the Atlantic, then maybe the power sphere of a Bear will fill that void. But maybe that’s the intention.

  89. The US spends 3.5% of GDP on defense because we maintain a global military presence and deterrent. NATO allies do not. NATO allies only maintain a North Atlantic defensive posture. Germany not maintaining sufficient fighter jets to meet their share of the NATO defensive plan means we must, and we do. President Obama recognized this and negotiated the change to the Treaty requiring the 2% spending requirement. our NATO allies agreed and quietly ignored it. Trump is calling them out on this.

    President Obama chided Germany for building a dependance on Russian oil and gas. Germany has ignored President Obama's expressed concerns, Trump is calling them out on it.

    Sure Trump is crass in his delivery but substantially Trump is perfectly aligned with President Obama on these issues.

  90. Mmmmm - a bit of background about NATO's activities OUTSIDE that "North Atlantic defensive posture".

    NATO did lead the original intervention in Afghanistan, where " NATO led the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from August 2003 to December 2014".

    and currently leads
    "The Resolute Support mission (RSM) is a new NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions. The
    mission was launched on 1 January 2015, immediately following the stand-down of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)."

    I counted at least 14 NATO members involved in Operation Enduring Freedom

    and current countries in Afghanistan are here

    Again I counted at least 14 who are members of NATO.

    As an aside - Australia is the eighth-largest contributor there.

  91. NATO operatives are elsewhere on the planet beyond Europe...Afganistan...Canada is going to Mali and Iraq. Trump just wants everybody else to waste their social capital on munitions. Think of early in his so called presidency...I.forget who it was...leader of Japan or China at mira lago .when he burned through mega millions firing multiple missiles on Syria to show his potency.
    One thing for sure after he is gone...hopefully soon...he will serve as a text book for abnormal psychology...not just malignant narcissism and sociopathy...Accusing Merkel.and Germany of being run by Russia...a textbook example of PROJECTION!

  92. How about America raise its defense spending against election computer hacking and fake news assaults from domestic and foreign enemies of free and fair elections.

    More traditional defense spending will just bankrupt everybody while Putin and Russian-Republican types rig elections worldwide.

    Less tanks; more anti-cyber-terrorism spending, research and development.

    The TrumPutin Dynamic Duo continues to wreck the free world.

  93. Trump is still a moron and his 'disruption' is getting old. There are plenty of ways to press NATO allies on spending--as President Obama did more than 5 years ago-- without being a complete jerk. He truly is clueless in so many ways and just not that smart. The damage he is causing will long outlast him.

  94. President Obama ultimately failed to get our NATO allies to meet their voluntary spending targets. After years of trying, in April 2016 out of frustration he called our allies "freeriders." Being polite did not solve the problem.

  95. The U.S. should reduce its military spending across the board. But we should maintain a formidable navy but not the vast armada we now sustain. We intervene in every conflict around the world because we want to, not because we have to.

  96. We also intervene because we can, and the huge military expenditures and large standing military force from all branches means it is more likely to influence or even determine policy. In a take-off on the Field of Dreams mantra, "build it and he will come," we say "build more weaponry and foreign policy will follow." Not a good strategy for long-term societal health -- just ask the Romans. And when in the hands of our Caligulia-Nero-man-child president, that formula will keep me awake at nights.

  97. The bully lets his mask down at the cost of public approval. But what is behind Trump's mask? Nothing admirable. How long will McConnell and Ryan tolerate this buffoon strutting on the international stage?

  98. Let the Europeans pay their fare share to protect their borders

  99. Trump demands that our allies double their military spending this year. Doesn't he know that our world already has nine countries with a total of 16,300 atomic bombs, not counting a few more countries we don't know about (if you don't believe this, you can, as the immortal Yogi Berra used to say: "you could look it up". One of these days a leader who is angry at his neighbor, or has had a touch too much to drink, will shoot off a nuke, and the other party will shoot one back in return, and there go any hopes to ever visit Mars, or even swim in the Great Lakes. Doesn't he know that the only two A bombs previously used against real targets DESTROYED two big cities in Japan?

    Actually, he probably doesn't know, because, having been a draft dodger during a previous war, he never had the pleasure of fighting in real combat, the kind that kills people. He doesn't know that nuclear war in today's world would surely result in the death of a billion people, and destroy our environment for many, many years, if not destroy the whole world.

    Trump is an arrogant, incompetent nitwit with an oversized view of his knowledge and ability. I believe that a man like him could destroy our world. And the nuclear buttons are at his beck and call in the White House. Pray that I'm wrong!


  100. The Europeans and NATO are milking us. Germany is a very powerful country and can handle any Russian threat. Why should they: when the have Uncle Sap. Wake up American taxpayers and military service man and women.

  101. Go Trump!! Long overdue and needed. Post WW 2 order order needs to be updated.

  102. Everything about this man is so beyond the pale that all one can do is immerse in the irony. e.g., the king of gold and glitter complaining that NATO headquarters looks overly lavish.

  103. NO! NEVER!
    We rather spend that money to educate our children, to give our people a proper health care, to help the poor & the hungry of the world, to take care of the environment!

  104. "Germany in the grip of Russia".....This is so funny that I could roar with laughter. What does the Fifth Ave entertainer think of when he is throwing such a ridiculous argument in the direction of Ms. Merkel?

    I remember well the research of sociologists ca. 30 years ago when the question came up: which group of immigrants made the United States great. The result: Germans. President Clinton presented this fact personally to the public.

    So why is Trump cultivating such a hate against the country he himself is related to?

  105. Per capita the US spends more than 10x as much money on the military as compared to Germany.

    Free ride is over.

  106. Do you really want Germany to become a military superpower again? That didn’t work out so well for the 455,000 American soldiers and the 105,000 Canadian soldiers who died in the last century’s two world wars.

  107. Didn't trump just raise spending on our military? Last time I checked, NATO had nothing to do with this reckless decision.

  108. I guess it no longer means anything when our European NATO allies fight and die beside us in the Middle East and elsewhere when we have asked them for their help and blood. But why bother mentioning that? To the president, sacrifice and coming through for your allies mean nothing.

  109. Rarely if ever is any one issue, entity sitting all alone.
    When countries consider such challenging issues like global partnerships, they consider everything at stake. To just blindly say that other countries don't step up their contribution to a military alliance is meaningless.

    Somehow, I don't believe Trump & cronies understand this. It for sure is not as simple as 'twitter diplomacy' which the rest of the world considers to be garbage.

    So will China just blindly come out and say, gee, USA, you never pay us back. Are we ever going to be paid? Ok, that's it. No more business, ever.

  110. Fair share of what? The Pentagon budget?

  111. Canada should meet its NATO spending obligations, of course, but Trump labelled Canada as a national security risk in justifying the start of an unnecessary trade war against the best neighbor the US could ever ask for. We were in two world wars long before the USA signed up, and we fought alongside the US in Korea and Afghanistan.

  112. time to get out of nato and bring all troops home; nato does nothing but feed the war machine and actually makes war more likely.

    shut it all down and all nuclear powers should let it be known that tactical nukes will be used in its place. use brutal and completely crippling unified economic sanctions instead for anyone who strays.

  113. The military-industrial complex has been getting a free ride on the taxpayers dollar. Europe was bribed, cajolled, and bullied into accepting whatever America thought was good for them.

  114. Eastern Block Countries should meet the 2% rule. They are the most vulnerable. Given their support for Trump, I would give them to Putin if they don't meet the minimum contribution to their defense.

  115. Thank God Angela Merkel has the well...let's just say temerity, that she does, to push back against our Bully in Chief. This meeting serves as yet another reminder that elections have consequences and now one of our consequences as Americans, is to feel an almost continuous wave of shame wash over us every time our President makes an appearance on the world stage. Can we all admit--I'm talking most specifically to you non-voters, and Bernie Bro's, that this would not be the case were a President Hillary Clinton sitting there. Come November, and in 2020, can we please all remember to vote-not for the perfect candidate (who does not exist), but for the one who believes in human dignity, and in tolerance, who is bright, qualified and respects the law, science and women? The one who is not racist? Can we do that please so this horror and embarrassment can end?

  116. There is no method to Trump's madness. He is an unstable personality who uses conflict to make himself feel like a big man. That was fine when he was a sleazy real estate mogul and a second-string TV personality. But we are talking about the stability of the world here. Trump's need to tell people where to go is not something to be admired. It's trouble for the sake of stoking his fragile ego, while the peace and stability of the planet hangs in the balance. Such a danger to the world.

  117. I think one would have to be living under a rock not to understand why asking Germany to amp up its military spending could be problematic.

  118. I wish the NYT asked sources in the Intelligence Community and Pentagon what they think of this Manchurian Candidate in the WH. It's obvious Trump plans to pull the US out of NATO, and let Putin seize the Ukraine, Baltics, and more.

    I also want to hear from current Trump supporters on these latest developments, along with European voters.

    America is as reliable an ally as whichever party controls the White House and Congress. The post-WW2 order is nearly shattered. The UK, France, and Germany (and hopefully the EU) may have to spend on their militaries as much as we do, to counter the threat from Russia -- possibly China.

  119. Trump says we're paying to defend Europe. Yes. And no. We are paying to defend Europe, but we're really paying for our own security, ultimately. An unstable and violent Europe has cost the US much blood and treasure. NATO, US forward-based forces, and our security guarantees provide ballast to ensure that doesn't happen again. While I agree that NATO underfunds defense, it is not the simplistic notion Trump trumpets. Loudly. Nonstop. And why he trashes our allies and cozies up to autocrats...I guess I've given up trying to understand that one.

  120. Trump's insisting EU nations spend 3.5% of GDP on defense is like an insane man insisting everybody has to share his delusions.

    If he wants a safer world, Trump ought to stop supplying weapons to everybody, and scale back our own spending significantly.

    Maybe pay for the occasional school or health clinic instead. Or a new bridge here and there.

  121. Trump's biography will be titled "Babbitt With a Bomb".

  122. “... the more tradtionally minded... “. As in, the more unacceptably deficient in their NATO financial support? Their more insulting, evasive ducking of responsibility for security in their hemisphere?

    While his predecessors fumbled their way through years of dodging NATO nations’ cheating support, President Trump demands equality.

  123. With the U.S., as currently personified by Trump, NATO has no need of an enemy.

  124. For a moment, imagine that we are reviewing the Captain of The SS USA, the largest and most potent Ship of State in the world.

    History shows that this Captain had cut his teeth on smaller ships, 4 of which foundered and were less than seaworthy as the records show.
    In such terms, the Captain is the one responsible, especially if mistakes in navigation and seamanship were involved, and the experts in the crew were ignored.
    By such rules, the Captain has failed, and that anything he then does should be suspect to be in such a role.

    Moving not only to history but now to battle issues where other member nations with whom the Ship of State is allied, are publicly chastised by this failed Captain.

    Not only is this inappropriate, but is clearly not the way to reinforce the alliance.
    Could this be what the flawed Captain intended all along?

    As a crosscheck, it would seem that the success of the decades long coherent alliance comes in a very distant second to the Captain's assessment and behaviour with decades long enemies, whose actions and records are unreliable, and disruptive to a stressed alliance. Evidence a'plenty shows that the enemies both lie and declare that their agenda is intended to attack the alliance, overtly, or more likely covertly..

    Why are we cozying up to enemies and publicly flogging the members of the alliance?

  125. The absolutely most wasteful government agency is the department of defense. My brother and I have both been employed in the aviation industry working on government projects and we both have stories to tell of incredible amounts of money being wasted on foolish projects that are often scrapped after billions are spent. I worked on the X47B prototype that cost billions, it was flown a few times and then parked.
    My brother worked on a “top secret” project, the secret was it was a KC135 that was being converted to a luxury plane to tote a general around.
    The military that spends a few nights in the Virgin Islands transiting to South America stays in the most expensive hotel on island.
    I go go on and on and I only spent a few years working government projects. A visit to Gulfstream in Savannah would show numerous luxury airplanes in government livery. Scott Pruitt is not alone in thinking a government job is all about perks.

  126. We have been subsidizing Europe since WWII. The reason they can afford the social programs they have is because they don't have to spend money on defense. They know we'll come to their rescue if needed. How fair is that? These are not Third World countries. It is time they pull their weight. Trump has the guts to tell it like it is.

  127. You know what? We don't have to spend so much on defense either. We have no business approaching 4% of our GDP--who is going to attack us--and we too could afford any social programs we like if the political will were there. We aren't spending that much money just for Europe: how about the Middle East, Afganistan, and the Pacific?

  128. Trump wants NATO gone because Putin wants it gone.
    The U.S. spends 4% of their GDP on defense spending because it is big business and is an integral part of the U.S. economy. Nothing to do with NATO.
    What Trump doesn't understand is that if he stops spending 4% of GDP on defense spending, he will end up with millions of unemployed servicemen and women, the GDP will actually shrink, and a recession will start.
    But Putin will be happy. Defenseless borders in places like Latvia and Estonia will be overrun by Russia like the Crimea was in Ukraine. Trump's government will let it happen since some of the population of these countries speak Russian?
    Most of the population of Canada speaks English so I guess that will be the rationale for the U.S. invading Canada?

  129. Let us recall that the founding of NATO was motivated by allying together to stand up to an aggressive Soviet Union which already occupied vast tracts of Eastern Europe, and to bring Germany into the fold so that it wouldn't once again go to war with The World.

    Perhaps we can cut defense spending now that it appears that the Soviet Union is not so much of a threat anymore. As to our second motivation,,,,, we'll see.

  130. What did you just step out of a time machine from 1990?

    Russia AKA the USSR is still and has always been the greatest threat to world peace and Europe since 1917. have you not been reading or watching the news?

  131. Trump has the ability to pick valid issues, the twist them in invalid ways. He conveniently leaves out any assessment of the value of NATO.

    The real question should be, why doesn't the US scale back defense? Don't we have better things to spend the extra borrowed money on?

  132. Absolutely not. We are a force of good with a global military presence. It's very important for global stability that we keep that up, especially as China and Russia begin to modernize and expand militarily.

  133. Guys, put your bias aside for a second and think about what he's actually saying. I typically disagree with everything Trump says, but a broken clock is right twice a day, and Trump is 100% right on this issue.

    First, NATO countries all need to adhere to the agreement set forth and contribute 2% of GDP to defense. The entire point of NATO is: if one member nation is attacked, ALL respond. How is it fair, then, if the US contributes 4% of its GDP but Germany only contributes 1.5% (not quoting actual numbers here, just guessing). All member nations are supposed to operate under a single defense umbrella, and therefore, the alliance would be even more formidable if all members built up a stronger military presence to counter Russia and China military R&D.

    Second, Germany is extremely dependent on Russia for energy, with over 50% of its oil coming from Putin's state. If Russia were to cut off crude oil access to Germany in a time of war, it would absolutely decimate the local economy and military. This DOES undermine the goal of NATO - Germany would not be able to pull its weight in a time of war with Russia due to its energy reliance.

    Yes the man is incapable of explaining why his points are valid, but in this case, he is actually pushing for a stronger NATO alliance and a stronger defense umbrella for the Western world, and this liberal is in agreement with Donald Trump!

  134. Good grief, "in time of war", Germany would be vaporized by tactical nuclear weapons before it would have time to worry about an interrupted NG supply from Russia. And why would Russia vaporize a main customer?

    Are you aware of the tiny military budgets of Russia and China compared to the US? Both of our main political parties of course waste much of our obscenely large military budget on idiotic and illegal wars in the ME and disfunctional weapons systems like the laughable F35 money pit.

    To avoid political control, Germany should diversify its NG supply including from the US, which will be more expensive than Russian gas but improve resilience. And we should invite Russia to join NATO along with the Ukraine. The more the merrier!

  135. Yes, the ME is so very stable as a result of our brilliant forays there. Perhaps Russia is modernizing because it is surrounded by NATO? And to do so is spending a tiny fraction of the US military budget. China is not sitting on 6800 nuclear warheads like the US is. Those are undoubtedly to be used only for "good".

  136. It still is beyond ironic that Trump who has not done any "burden sharing" as a citizen, criticizes NATO. Trump in all likelihood has not paid taxes in years, files bankruptcy routinely, stiffs contractors, and he is the one to talk about "burden sharing"? It's mind boggling.

  137. We need to cut our defense spending, not encourage others to spend more. We need to devote funds and people to education, scientific research, infrastructure, health care, etc.

  138. Hypocritical that NATO must pay up when Trump has stiffed so many NY & NJ contractors/suppliers/vendors.

  139. simple why he would like the non warrrior, Trump his a warrior, trump would like to sell more arms to kill people and none of these country carry guns like in the State.

  140. Apparently Mr trump is going to make our economy robust by selling military hardware to our bullied allies. I long for the day when a world leader tells this buffoon to step off and tend to his own problems.

  141. Well Well Well..... How long did he make it without mentioning "Russian collusion"?
    He thinks making the accusation at Germany isn't the same thing as his constant mentions of it until I pointed out that he literally mentioned it in every single public appearance regardless of topic or audience since his inauguration. So what was it? 3 weeks and he broke down?
    So maybe I am wrong about him after all and he can't change he can only white knuckle it until his willpower breaks.

    The knowledge is satisfying but I can't use it to get rid of him and his cabal. Can any of you? We need an honest president again. Lets do a grass roots write in campaign for Jimmy Carter!

  142. $618B * 3.57% = 2.00% * ??? :: the answer is the United States would save $272B if we would just contribute 2% to NATO rather than demanding every one else pay more. The list of domestic expenses currently below the line could be chopped down significantly. Our leader is sharp as an arrow WAY OVERSHOOTING the target.

  143. We ain’t seen nothing yet.
    Wait till he threatens to renege on our national debt.

  144. Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, famously said:

    “…it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy.”

    Since the Bully in Chief came to power, he has chosen the easy path to destroy rather than work the tough road to build.

    He first decided to destroy the legacy of Obama. He imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on America’s industrial allies. Recently he plans to destroy America and the Western World through a trade war by imposing various rounds of tariffs on China. And now he demands that US’s NATO allies double their military spending targets to 4% of GDP.

    I have come to the conclusion that he is fundamentally LAZY as well as being very STUPID.

    If he and America have a legitimate complaint against China for theft of intellectual property, the correct route to resolve that problem is through the WTO and registering a complaint through the international court on trade of the WTO. This would take time, and I believe that the US would win the court’s decision against China. But the Bully in Chief is impatient and wants results NOW … but he has no tolerance for negotiation and diplomacy. The guy has NO allies domestically or internationally. He has isolated himself in a silo and accepts advice or counsel from no one.

    The Deal Maker in Chief tried to game the system many times and went bankrupt four times !!!

    The only course of action is impeachment. The two houses will have to focus on his destructive and damaging actions against America.

  145. Even when Trump does something that I might agree with, such as getting the NATO countries to increase their defense spending, he still manages to come off like an obnoxious boor. His incredible statement that "Russia controls Germany" because of their energy deal, given the fraught history between those two countries, is just one more indication of his almost willful ignorance. Also, given that DT is Vladimir Putin's puppet, irony just abounds.

  146. Irish, how many things have you ever tried billed as “world’s greatest” even came close? Face it, obnoxious boors sell all the stuff that we buy specifically because they are and we do. Maybe on the stuff you buy it’s labeled “organic” instead.

  147. Trump isn’t concerned about the cost of NATO to American taxpayers. Trump has a simplistic view of money matters, namely that if others can pay more, Trump can pay less. His bottom line is based in dollars, while the value of NATO is greater to all its members than can be summed on a simple bottom line.
    He isn’t a good negotiator or a good economist. He need to be removed because he is doing damage to a great international asset.

  148. Talking tough before the Honeymoon in Helsinki.
    Just saying.

  149. Forget those sitting at NATO. Now that Trump has planted the seed in the minds of the American public that the reason we spend so much here on military and less on benefits like Medicare-for-all is so that Germany and France get to give it to their citizens for free and on our dime, and see what that grows into? For a developer he knows a lot about farming.

  150. Hogwash. The citizens of those countries earned those benefits by paying taxes and those countries aren't the ones starting senseless wars like the ones in Iraq.

  151. The Europeans pay for their medical,education, and social services through much higher taxation just like we do in Canada. There is no FREE there. The USA could have social services 1. if you wanted them 2.if your tax dollars were not subsidizing the poor, starved multi billionaires.

  152. "Mr. Trump was primed for confrontation before the gathering was ever called to order here in a large glass-and-steel NATO headquarters building that he has complained looks overly lavish."

    Good grief, if the king of overdressed buildings thinks it was too snazzy, I'd love to see it, but next he'll be recommending they meet at Mar-a-Lago instead (and expect them to pay for the privilege).

  153. Really Trump is proving to be the advocate of plutocratic policies. They lTrump is trying to increase the global arms trade, it seems. The percent of GDP spent on the military is not a true measure of military preparedness but it does mean more money going into arms industries. Trump’s misrepresentation of how this commitment affects how much any of the nations are contributing to the alliance is pure Trump lying to his gullible base, it does not. NATO countries allow the U.S. to keep bases on their territory and contribute to the costs of the U.S. troops deployed. This agreement to spend 2% on their own forces is represented as their obligations to the alliance, it’s really more symbolic that material to it. Now he’s using his malarkey to promote more arms trade amongst NATO allies.

  154. Other NATO countries don't need to raise as much as the U.S. for defense spending because they don't start as many wars.

  155. Great point. Their priorities seem to run more to infrastructure, education, etc., for their citizens. We, on the other hand, would rather put our money into the military industrial complex as Eisenhower warned about decades ago. The uber-wealthy here don't have to worry about our rotting bridges, inner city poverty, hungry kids, and all those pesky problems like us little people do. It's really sad watching us become a third-world country because of pure unadulterated greed.

  156. Absolutely. Now since China and Russia are trump's good buddies, the US can stop worrying about world domination and most Americans can now worry about the future increase in the price of food.

  157. There is no easy way to discuss hard topics. Quiet diplomacy in the past regarding this issue has yielded vague promises from allies matched by no action whatsoever.

    Trump's bluster is a negotiating tactic, and the only way to negotiate meaningfully on meeting mutual obligations is to threaten departure if those obligations aren't met. This is so obvious that it shouldn't be be controversial, but of course the New York Times exercises its opposition to all things Trump by amplifying the noise around even the most trivial diplomacy.

  158. The rest of the world needs to realize and understand that they are dealing with an ignorant, clueless man in Donald Trump. Ignore the cretin, get on with what needs to be done. He is irrelevant and counts for nothing. In this way, the world can move on, and this infantile little baby can be ignored. He's a sad, insecure, and a very stupid man. He is a passing clown, a joke, pie in the sky. Forget him and he'll soon go away. A bad dream, a nightmare.

    Rest easy, there is still hope for this world without Donald Trump.

  159. Trump is a puppet president. He doesn't have an original intellectual thought in his head to share. He uses verbal bully tactics that put others on the defensive to give him an edge. His point about percentages makes no sense... he wants more money on the table to defend agains the dictators he's befriending?? Please, folks, read between Trump's lines.

  160. Separate from how Trump handled the issue.
    1. With Germany having the strongest econ ol my of Europe, and some other nations already meeting the 2 % minimum guideline, should Germany pay at least 2 %?

    2. Should Germany support a pipeline from Russia that enters no other Nato countries on the basis that it give Russia influence over Germany?

    While President Trump may not handle these issues the way you would like, it is more important that he is the only Nato country to significantly high light Germany's behaviors.

    What is more important here, feelings or Western Security?

  161. Either that or he just wants them to pay commensurate with the benefit they get by being in an alliance with the USA. Seems like that would be worth allot more than they pay now. After WWII we took care of Europe because it couldn't take care of itself. That was 70 years ago and they have been playing us all these years pretending they just could't pay up. The USA swallowed it hook line and sinker for our own reasons. It allowed us to basically dictate terms to other NATO members. But we shouldn't be doing this anymore. Europe is wealthy and should be taking on their share of the burden unless they really want to go it alone.

  162. The other members of NATO with the possible exception of Britain and France have allot of catching up to do. When you think about it, they benefit in an incredibly distorted way and should probably pay more that a flat rate. Membership in NATO means the USA with by far the most powerful military on earth will come to their aid. The USA has a military that has developed incredible superiority starting during Word War II and ever since. The real question to ask other NATO members is what is that worth to you. It cant be a flat rate. They get way more security by being in NATO than we do. Lets face it, we can go it alone. Most of the other countries can't with the possible exceptions of Briton and France. But they prefer us to be there also. The question to be put to other NATO members is what is it worth to you to have the USA backing you up

  163. The last several administrations complained about the same thing. But they were wise enough to know that there must remain this interdependence within NATO nations. It is far from "obsolete." It is my understanding since the 2% ruling went into effect I believe under President Obama, our allies have been honoring it. Trump is a bully and a thug. He is playing to his base whom I believe are ignorant of the facts, real ones, not the skewed or exaggerated spins and opinions on FOX News.

    Keep in mind, too, that he will be meeting with his mentor of all things corrupt and oppressive in but a few days. He has to kow tow to Putin for whatever reasons to stay in his good graces. Perhaps he figures impugning words toward our allies will work. However, Putin knows that words are no more worth his while than a dried dandelion weed. Trump may huff and puff, but it is Putin who will do the blowing.

  164. US 5 percent of world population. 1 percent of that controls 50 percent world economy. Very unfair!!!

  165. Trump's aggrieved based does realize, don't they, that even if every one of those NATO allies meets his defense spending demands, it wouldn't put a dime in American taxpayers' pockets? That's because Trump himself demands that American taxpayers spend billions MORE on defense, including our European bases, and almost every member of Congress will vote for every increase in military spending their colleagues and the Pentagon beg for. If Trump was proposing a dollar for dollar decrease in our own military spending for every dollar more our allies spend on their own defense, I could go along with his bully talk to NATO. But it's all just bully talk now. No payoff for American taxpayers.

  166. This emperor continues his program of naked greed: And which country will benefit most from NATO's increased military budgets? That's right!

  167. Russia would be a great relationship and I want to get along with Russia , well why is that when he is trashing his allies.

    Has he ever said it would be great to have a great relationship with Canada or the EU. No he has not , probably because the Russians helped him get elected and they will help him get elected in subsequent elections

  168. If you look at the numbers of dollars each NATO country spends vs. the USA, either in terms of dollars or as percentage of GDP, Trump is overwhelmingly correct. If speaking the truth to power is a good thing when people confront Trump, isnt it also a good thing when Trump confronts EU with hard irrefutable numbers? I think that it is way overdue. These are our friends, cant they hear the financial truth without our relationship being damaged? If not, they are not the friends we pretend.

  169. If Trump wants to fault Germany as "captive of Russia" for energy needs, clearly in the same breath he must acknowledge America is captive to China and other large purchasers of our national debt because we can't get our own house in order with spending.

  170. If Dems and Reps can't agree on Europe or the French to pay more, were doomed.

  171. France is a power with enough nuclear weapons to pretty much take out either the US or Russia. If you think they need us you are wrong.

  172. No doubt Trump had to sign the declaration, otherwise he would completely reveal his cards of who is allies and enemies really are.

    Why do I get the feeling that behind closed doors, Trump and Putin's initial greeting on July 16 won't be a handshake but rather a high-five.

  173. Translation: Trump wants NATO allies to buy more US weapons - and natural gas, apparently.

    No thanks.

    How about the US lowers its military spending to 2% of GDP and invests in infrastructure and education instead?

  174. Agreed, but good luck with that when even so-called "progressive" Senators, in totally safe seats, such as Vermont's Bernie Sanders, put the military Keynesianism of Lockheed's budget-busting F-35 fighter jet and its basing ahead of the health and home values of thousands and thousands of his own constituents. Including, unfortunately, the very demographics people like Bernie and Democrats like Patrick Leahy pretend to champion, i.e., the working poor; immigrant refugees; the elderly; and veterans.

  175. Much ado about nothing.

    NATO members should be paying 4% GDP.

  176. The USA can pay less then. Trump doesn't consider Russia an adversary anyway. America pays that money for America not for Germany. Nobody forces America to pay the 3.25% it actually does pay. There is a time agreement anyway- the contributions are not due to be 4% for a number of years yet. That was the deal.
    Those small guy contractors who got stiffed by Trump have not been paid yet. So unfair.

  177. They have miniscule economies, though, so 2% of almost nothing is almost nothing.

  178. Arguably the Crimea annexation is a direct result of the $5bn that the US covertly spent to flip Ukraine, so more money spent by hostile outside actors does not necessarily benefit people, either inside NATO or outside (like Ukrainians).

  179. According to CNN, we spend about 3.6% of GDP on defense, whereas Germany spends about 1.2% of GDP, well below the previously agreed upon rate of 2%. Why are we, at this day and age, still spending so much more than any of our allies? Just how much $ would we be able to direct to health care and education if we spent the NATO guideline of 2%?

  180. You spend too much. Far more than necessary (and not all of that money is to protect Europe). Is it true that the US spends four times as much as China and Russia combined? Europe alone spends far more than Russia.

  181. You have a good point. Our military spending ($647 billion) is more than the next ten countries in the world combined. China is number two at $151 billion. Russia spends $47 billion. In 2017, the EU spent a combined $258 billion on defense, the majority of which is spent on resisting Russia. It would appear to be sufficient. We have approximately 800 foreign military bases in 70 countries around the world. The public doesn't even know about some of the small secret bases. No other country has more than ten. We have more than 30 bases in Germany. Where would we put those if we didn't have NATO?

  182. The 2% goal was for 2024. Your most smart el presidente most conveniently forgets that...or most likely he has never read the briefing note.

  183. A part of Trump unspoken agenda at NATO is to drive US arm sales, coming off a globe leading and record 2017 when $76 billion in sales were booked. Sales take place under the Arms Export Control Act that governs sales and subsidies from the US, and many of the contracts are subsidized by US taxpayers up to 95%. The US is the global leader in arms sales and Trump's Defense Department is expanding that market.

    Overall, Trump's balance sheet approach is a still life. It ignores the flow of trade in the global supply chain and the economies of scale that make markets efficient and reliable.

    Name achievement of Trump's matching Obama's removal of lifetime limits and protection of pre-conditions in healthcare.

    Obama also focused on the middle class doubling by 2028, expanding in Asia/below the equator. (Trump has no plans/for the mega-trend.)

    Trump can only think of value and pricing as blocks, not as flow as modern managers and nations do; trade is moving money, not income or profit, a cash flow glimpse of the supply chain.

    Trump hates everyone but the Nigerian “hard man,” corrupt, narcissistic, above the law, misogynistic, a messenger of evil and deception. His hate has it own hierarchy, clued by his actions, witnessed in his silence: no grief or compassion for the urban victims killed unarmed; not a word of sorrow for Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, shot in the head by a border agent; silence greeted crying children Trump exploited to blame Democrats without cause.

  184. People are asking why we spend more than European countries on NATO.

    I worked in the defense industry and have a hypothesis.

    It is good for the defense industry for us to spend more?

  185. From what I have read, both W Bush and Obama pressed for the Europeans to increase their NATO spending.

    And the European countries have been increasing since before Trump.

    Trump is correct to continue to press the European countries.

    The difference between W Bush, Obama, and Trump is whether Trump is more on the side of our allies or more on the side of Putin.

  186. There was an agreement put in place in 2014 under which all NATO members promised to get their defense spending up to 2% of the GDP by 2024.

    Last I looked, it was still 2018, and there's six more years until 2024. Trump tweeted that "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025."

    Then Trump really went off script and demanded NATO members to raise their defense spending to 4% of GDP. Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to walk that one back.

    Can you imagine a bank president demanding you pay off your mortgage IMMEDIATELY and announcing that the interest rate would be doubled?

  187. "Germany spends about 1.2% of GDP, well below the previously agreed upon rate of 2%"

    We agreed, along with other NATO nations, to wait until 2024 for members to spend 2% of their GDP on their defense. You agree presumably that the US should keep its word and give them the agreed upon term, correct?