Trump’s defence spending demand shocks NATO

Trump’s defence spending demand shocks NATO, by Jacquelin Magnay.

Donald Trump created “utter panic’’ among NATO allies — who have agreed to pay more, and on a quicker timeline — after he warned the US could withdraw from the ­organisation in January if other wealthy countries did not ­immediately increase their spending on defence to 2 per cent of gross domestic product.

As a result of his demands, Mr Trump last night said countries had acquiesced and “we are doing numbers like they’ve never done before or ever seen before’’ and “everyone agreed to up their commitment’’. He insisted NATO was much stronger than it was two days ago and the US commitment to the alliance remained “very strong”.

“What they are doing is spending at a much faster clip up to the 2 per cent level,’’ Mr Trump said. “Now we are being treated fairly.’’

Mr Trump said he “probably did not need’’ congress approval to withdraw the US from NATO, but the move would not be needed now that allies had committed to increase defence spending.

hat-tip Stephen Neil