Trump is trying to save NATO by demanding members pay a fair share

President Trump intends to keep pushing at this week’s NATO summit for other alliance members to up their defense spending, but it’s worth noting the success he’s already had.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Friday that Canada and NATO’s European members have upped defense spending a total of $130 billion since 2016, when Trump was elected, through 2020.

Since 2006, each member nation has been supposed to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. Yet only the United States and two other members hit that mark in 2014, when NATO formally re-committed to the goal.

Now eight European countries are on track to meet it this year: Britain, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. And Stoltenberg reports that a majority of NATO’s 29 members now plan to hit the 2 percent threshold by 2024.

Germany, the most flagrant laggard, will spend just 1.35 percent on defense this year, with “plans” to hit 2 percent around 2031.

Trump’s efforts have been vital in boosting compliance, as Stoltenberg noted in The Wall Street Journal last year. For all the complaints that the president has been alienating America’s allies, it sure looks like he has strengthened the most important US alliance.

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