Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, warns NATO countries to boost defense spending or come up with plans to reach the budget guidelines in two months. Tillerson stated that US is spending a disproportionate share on defense compared with its 27 partners. President Donald Trump will take action about it when meeting with other NATO leaders on May 25.
NATO leaders promised in 2014 to reach a defense spending of 2 per cent of their economies within a decade. ABC reports that only Britain, Greece, Estonia and Poland have reached that level of military spending. Tillerson stated the goal should be to agree at the May meeting that by the end of the year all allies will have met the guidelines or will have developed plans to get it.
During election campaigning, Trump suggested that he would not protect those allies who do not pay their fair share. Tillerson sought to calm any fears, stating on friday that we understand that a threat against one of us is a threat against all of us. The United States is of far the most powerful NATO country.
Military expenditures by country
US defense spending is more than the military expenditures of all the other NATO countries together. US spent 3.61 percent of its economy in 2016. On the other hand, Germany spent just 1.19 percent of its overall budget. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated it would be unrealistic to increase defense spending from 35 billion euros a year to more than 70 billion euros. This measure would make Germany spend more than Russia in defense.
Italy, Spain and Canada would have to double their military spending to reach the goal proposed by NATO. Tillerson also wants NATO to fight against the Islamic State and other groups by countering their online messaging and propaganda. The military alliance has fought against insurgents in Afghanistan, and it is also training Iraqi officers.