Trump’s European adventure: Chaotic, with correct priorities
As expected, President Donald Trump, visiting four countries in Europe, is rattling a few cages among the world leadership he met with.
He chastised some of them for not contributing enough funding to the NATO cause, leaving a disproportionate large burden to the United States. He publicly criticized Germany for relying on Russia for much of its energy supply.
And in the next moment, he was talking about an improved NATO alliance and the strength of the United Countries.
And in the moment after that, he was telling Britain how to cut the best trade deal with the United States in the future.
It was a whirlwind of twists and turns. In other words, it was quintessential Trump.
But once you get past the predictably aghast reactions of our politicized mainstream media, there was nothing radical about the dialogue or Trump’s action agenda. He was merely being more insistent and publicly vocal about the same things Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had spoken about. He sure wasn’t promising he would work more for Russia in a second term, as Obama did on an open microphone to no media uproar.
And for leaders of NATO nations who are upset with Trump demanding they pay a fairer share of the alliance’s defense costs, get over it. The numbers don’t lie.
Some already do bear reasonable burdens. The United Kingdom, for example, spends slightly more than 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. The U.S. total is 3.5 percent.
But for years, many NATO nations have leaned heavily on our country to fund the alliance. Germany spends just 1.24 percent of its GDP on defense. France is only a bit better, at 1.81 percent.
They have been getting close to a free ride. The United States is not a bottomless pit of money and defense capability.
Trump demanded that all NATO members spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. That may anger those nations’ leaders — but it was an entirely reasonable position.