The “NATO is obsolete” mantra is taking hold, and it has European freeloader states in a complete panic.
Trump shed a huge, bright light on NATO’s uselessness. Now the European establishment is trying to figure out a way to define, and redefine, an alliance that has been sitting pretty under the US taxpayer’s umbrella of security. No more.
Trump wants the states that are not paying their 2% budget fair share to pay up…and people are listening. Even Bloomberg…
Donald Trump is right to say America’s NATO allies aren’t paying their fair share. But, to the delight of the arms industry, that may be changing.
Trump himself is the change-maker. He reaffirmed his skepticism about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and his readiness to make deals with Russia, in European media interviews published last weekend. Trump isn’t famous for his policy consistency, but those positions have held fairly steady — leaving European leaders wondering whether they can still rely on the American security umbrella.
Here are the NATO member states in the chart below, that will have to reckon with the Trump world order, and start ponying up some cash from their state budget, in exchange for US protection.
Even Merkel is conceding that the NATO freeloader party is coming to an end. Maybe European countries will have to resort to diplomacy instead of acting like tough guys…taking for granted that the US will always have their back.
It’s called leverage and Trump is using it.
“Let’s not fool ourselves,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week. “There is no infinite guarantee.”
So Merkel’s Germany, and many other European nations, are boosting military budgets. The plans predate Trump, and under NATO rules they should’ve been carried out long ago. The alliance expects its members to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. But it’s no secret that most of them don’t. The shortfall added up to about $121 billion last year at 2010 prices, according to Bloomberg calculations based on NATO country estimates.