Unleashing in-your-face rhetoric on the NATO summit, U.S. President Donald Trump pressed the falsehood Wednesday that members of the alliance owe cash to the U.S. and took sole credit score for larger navy spending by NATO companions — a call that preceded his presidency.
Trump additionally misrepresented Germany’s vitality image, asserting coal and nuclear energy are gone from the combination. Coal stays a bedrock vitality supply for Germany regardless of its hope to wean itself from that mineral and nuclear vegetation have a number of years of life earlier than they’re to be phased out.
Right here’s a take a look at some statements from the summit in Brussels:
TRUMP: “Frankly, many nations owe us an incredible amount of cash for a few years again, the place they’re delinquent, so far as I’m involved, as a result of america has needed to pay for them. So should you return 10 or 20 years, you’ll simply add all of it up. It’s huge quantities of cash is owed.” — feedback at assembly with NATO Secretary-Normal Jens Stoltenberg. In a tweet Tuesday, he stated: “Will they reimburse the U.S.?”
THE FACTS: There is no such thing as a such debt to the U.S. or to NATO. Due to this fact, no delinquency or query of reimbursement.
He’s referring to how a lot every NATO nation spends by itself protection and urgent them to spend extra. Doing so would relieve some strain on U.S. navy spending. However there are not any IOUs to gather from previous years.
TRUMP: “Due to me, they’ve raised about $40 billion during the last yr.” — remarks about NATO member spending on protection at breakfast with Stoltenberg.
STOLTENBERG: “Final yr was the most important improve in protection spending throughout Europe and Canada in that era.”
TRUMP: “Why was that final yr?”
STOLTENBERG: “It’s additionally due to your management, due to your carried message.”
THE FACTS: Trump prodded Stoltenberg to offer him credit score for rising navy spending by NATO members, the NATO chief obliged and varied officers within the alliance suppose Trump’s powerful discuss has had an impact. However the overarching transfer to extend protection spending by NATO nations started below President Barack Obama.
In 2014, NATO members agreed to cease chopping their navy budgets and set a purpose of transferring “towards” spending 2 % of their gross home product on their very own protection by 2024. Most NATO members are spending lower than 2 %, although extra are transferring in that course.
However on Wednesday, Trump roiled the summit by calling on NATO members to greater than double their navy budgets, saying they need to be devoting four % of their financial system to protection. That will be up from a collective 1.47 % this yr for non-U.S. NATO allies, in accordance with NATO estimates. Not even the U.S. spends four % of its GDP on protection, in accordance with NATO statistics.
The alliance lists the U.S. as spending an estimated three.5 % of its GDP on its navy funds this yr. Trump stated “precise” U.S. navy spending is four.2 % of GDP, with out explaining the massive discrepancy.
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Stoltenberg estimated European allies and Canada will add $266 billion to their navy spending by 2024 and stated “that is actually including some further momentum,” apparently which means Trump’s strain.
Trump has assailed NATO members similar to Germany for lagging on their navy budgets whereas he has concurrently taken credit score for progress on that entrance. He has repeatedly claimed that due to his strain “billions and billions of are pouring in,” which isn’t true, as a result of there isn’t a such fund for cash to pour into.
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German Protection Minister Ursula von der Leyen advised NPR on Wednesday that Trump makes a good level that Germany ought to spend extra however is just not the primary U.S. president to induce that. She stated she and Obama mentioned the subject.
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TRUMP: “Germany is a captive of Russia as a result of they provide (vitality). They removed their coal vegetation. They removed their nuclear. They’re getting a lot of the oil and fuel from Russia. I feel it’s one thing that NATO has to take a look at.”
THE FACTS: He’s unsuitable about coal-fired and nuclear vitality and overstated Germany’s reliance on Russian pure fuel. In 2017, Germany received greater than one-third of its vitality for electrical energy from coal and practically 12 % from nuclear vegetation. One-third got here from renewable vitality. Solely 13 % got here from pure fuel, with Russia as the most important provider.
Trump was objecting to Germany’s acceptance of a brand new pipeline challenge that may carry extra pure fuel from Russia.
Germany plans to retire nuclear vegetation by 2022 and intends to cut back its reliance on coal. However Germany has not “received rid” of both.
TRUMP: “You realize, we’re defending Germany, we’re defending France. We’re defending all people. And but we’re paying some huge cash to guard.”
THE FACTS: There’s no query U.S. navy spending constitutes nicely over a majority of the alliance’s general spending on protection. NATO acknowledges an “over-reliance” on the U.S.
What NATO companions dispute is Trump’s repeated suggestion that the U.S. will get little in return for its dedication to defend member nations if threatened. Trump doesn’t acknowledge that NATO companions are anticipated to defend the U.S. if threatened. Article 5, the collective protection portion of the North Atlantic Treaty has been invoked simply as soon as — following the assaults of Sept. 11, 2001.
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Furthermore, Stoltenberg argued Wednesday that the U.S. navy presence in Europe, by way of the 29-country alliance, offers it a bonus in coping with Russia and projecting energy within the Center East and Africa.
Related Press writers David Rising in Berlin and Robert Burns and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.