US President Donald Trump threatened to break with NATO and conduct American security unilaterally if the allies did not immediately increase their military spending targets, according to NATO officials and diplomats.
One NATO official said Trump wants a plan from alliance members by January on how to reach the spending target.
The US president made the statement when asked if he had threatened to pull out of the historically anti-Russia alliance, and whether he thought he could do so without first consulting Congress.
Trump ignored the first question, but on the second question, he said, “I think I can.”
According to Politico, Trump warned his allies behind closed doors that they would need to radically increase defense spending or the US “will do our own thing.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg then reportedly shifted the meeting to an allies-only emergency session, requiring European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to leave the room.
As Trump threatens to pull out of the military alliance, a new poll shows that Germans would actually be in favor of an American troop withdrawal from their country, which has been present since the end of the Second World War.
Via The Independent:
The finding comes on the first day of a NATO summit in which the US president is urging Europe to spend more on defence if it wants to continue to receive American military protection.
But far from being seen as a threat, a YouGov poll for the dpa news agency found that more Germans would welcome the departure of the 35,000-strong American force than would oppose it.
42 per cent said they supported withdrawal while just 37 per cent wanted the soldiers to stay, with 21 per cent undecided.
Last month the US media reported that the US government was in the process of assessing the cost of keeping troops in Germany ahead of a possible withdrawal, citing Pentagon sources.
But the policy of actually pulling out of the country has not actually reached the negotiating table in his week’s Brussels summit and is not expected to be discussed as a possibility – for now.
The cause of US withdrawal enjoys significant support from across the political spectrum in Germany but is particularly strong with the supporters of certain parties.
Voters for the left-wing Die Linke are particularly in favour of withdrawal, with 67 per cent backing it, as are supporters of the far-right AfD, on 55 per cent. Greens also back withdrawal by 48 per cent.
Less supportive of withdrawal are voters for the centre-right CDU, at 35 per cent, the SPD at 42 per cent, and the FDP at 37 per cent.
The same poll also found significant opposition to militarism in general in the country. Just 15 per cent of all Germans agree with Angela Merkel that the country should increase its military spending to 2 per cent of GDP by 2024, with 36 per cent saying the country’s already spends too much on its military.