Trump tweeted that “the United States is spending far more on NATO than any other country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable.” He went on to single out Germany for criticism, remarking that its budget contribution comes to 1 percent while the U.S. is at 4 percent. Earlier this year, Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defense minister, pledged to lift military spending to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2025.
Even though this would be a sharp increase on current spending, it would still fall short of the 2 percent threshold NATO countries agreed to at the 2014 summit in Wales.The following infographic provides a breakdown of military spending across the alliance, with only five of them meeting the 2 percent goal: Estonia, Greece, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. U.S. defense expenditure in 2017 came to just under 686 billion, equating to 3.6 percent of GDP. By comparison, Germany spent around 45 billion on its armed forces last year, 1.2 percent of GDP.
Trump’s tweets are almost certain to exacerbate the rift between the U.S. and its key allies, with ties already strained due the president’s trade policies. Last month, NATO announced that 15 of its members are on track to meet the 2 percent guideline while military spending across the alliance is expected to rise by 3.8 percent in 2018.