“The communique is clear: it reaffirms the commitment to two per cent (of GDP)”, said Macron, who was photographed smiling and sharing a hug with Trump yesterday despite recent tensions between the two. “It’s very detailed”, Macron said.
Just eight countries are forecast to reach the two per cent goal this year, and 15 by 2024.
He refused to confirm earlier reports that he had threatened that the USA would pull out if North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners did not meet spending commitments.
The US has passed a series of sanctions against Russian Federation since 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and alleged meddling in the US elections, which it denies. Germany lagged with 1.22% despite committing an extra €2bn.
At Thursday’s press conference, he repeated an incorrect claim that the U.S. “pays for 70 to 90% of NATO”.
“That’s why we are pleased that based on the consultation we did with Canadians and our own defence policy review, we’re moving forward with increasing by 70 per cent our defence investments over the coming decade”.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. GDP rose from $18.6 trillion in 2016 to $19.4 trillion in 2017. Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment. “Putin is not a good guy, he’s evil, and so we’ve got to make sure we get out of this meeting that should have never happened in the first place without doing something that’s not helpful”, he said.
Following the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was careful not to contradict the president’s claim of a substantial increase in spending but was only able to directly point to members’ existing 2 percent commitments.
“For years presidents have been coming to these meetings and have talked about the tremendous expense to the USA, and tremendous progress has been made”, Mr Trump said.
And while the president has said he ultimately wants to up commitments doubled to 4 percent, for now he said that countries have agreed to move at a “faster clip” to meet the 2 percent threshold. Trump: “The additional money that they’re willing to put up has been really wonderful … ” “I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a prime target of Trump over two raucous days. The allegation was part of new charges Rosenstein announced against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election.
Referring to an ongoing investigation into ties between his election campaign and Russian Federation, he decried a “rigged witch-hunt” that was hurting the United States and its relationship with Russian Federation. “Now they are adding billions”. However, the $33-40bn figures appear to be a reference to increased spending since 2014. In fact, if GDP were to rise and defense spending remained the same, the amount the US spends on defense as a percentage of GDP would drop.
“When you look at what we’ve done in terms of Russian Federation, I guarantee whoever it is in Russian Federation, they’re saying ‘oh gee, we wish that Trump was not the victor in that election?”
Nothing has changed since Trump arrived in Brussels.
“I don’t even know if it is a good measure and fits our collective security”, he said of Trump’s proposed spending increase.