Canada Trump says NATO allies like Canada are 'delinquent' on military spending. Is he wrong?

10:32  12 july  2018
10:32  12 july  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

NATO to reinforce Russian threat to Trump: PM

  NATO to reinforce Russian threat to Trump: PM OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says President Donald Trump will face anti-Russian solidarity around the NATO table on Wednesday. Ahead of the 29-country military summit, Trump said Tuesday that Putin is less of a problem for him than under spending NATO allies, and the EU's pending Brexit breakup with the U.K.Trudeau says the NATO "table" remains united in its view that Russia is creating significant problems in the world. © Provided by thecanadianpress.

Asked whether calling NATO allies “ delinquent ” was helpful, Mr. Kennedy said , “If you want them to pay more money, it is .” Mr. Trump was pressing the other NATO countries to deliver on a pledge to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic products on military spending , which most do not.

As Mr. Trump exited the NATO headquarters, he left allies and analysts alike a bit off balance. “They’re delinquent , as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.” And most American military spending is not NATO -related. Even so, the organization says on its

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump checks his watch prior to a dinner with leaders at the NATO summit in Brussels. Trump says NATO allies need to spend more on defence. © Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo U.S. President Donald Trump checks his watch prior to a dinner with leaders at the NATO summit in Brussels. Trump says NATO allies need to spend more on defence.

U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his rhetoric on defence spending Wednesday, urging NATO countries to meet lofty spending targets immediately or risk being branded as "delinquent."

At the core of his criticism of the multilateral alliance is the argument that the U.S. foots the bill for far too much of the alliance's defence capacity, and other member nations — including Canada — are "freeloaders" for failing to contribute their fair share of domestic military spending.

Obama and Bush also pressed NATO allies to spend more on defense

  Obama and Bush also pressed NATO allies to spend more on defense What makes Trump different is how central the issue has become to his assessment of NATO's fundamental value.President Donald Trump has put defense spending levels among NATO-member countries front and center this week in Brussels, where he has repeatedly berated America's NATO allies for not meeting an agreed-upon goal for each country to spend 2 percent of its annual gross domestic product on defense.

As he arrives at NATO summit, President Trump hounds allies over ' delinquent ' defense spending . Trump 's preoccupation with getting allies to spend 2% on defense often misrepresents their NATO obligations.

“Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent , as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them,” Mr. Trump said , mischaracterizing how the commitments for NATO military spending work.

"We're the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing," Trump said at a recent rally.

"Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them."

Trump previously has told allies that if they don't meet higher spending targets, they should  leave the alliance and go it alone on military matters .

The president's pointed language might be off-putting for some Canadian observers — but is he right to call Canada a parsimonious defence partner?

"Yes, I think Trump has a point in that defence expenditure is a burden predominately carried by the U.S. The U.S. carries the load," Colin Robertson, a former top diplomat and the vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said in an interview with CBC News.

The US spent $686 billion on defense last year — here's how the other NATO countries stack up

  The US spent $686 billion on defense last year — here's how the other NATO countries stack up President Donald Trump wants the 28 other NATO countries to spend more on defense. The military alliance will meet in Brussels next week.Trump has frequently dressed down NATO counterparts and threatened to reduce U.S. military support if allies do not increase spending.As of June 2017, only six nations met NATO spending standards: the U.S., Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Poland and Romania.The world's most powerful military alliance will convene in Brussels next week – and President Donald Trump will be pushing the 28 other NATO members to spend more money.

The US leader says allies should each aim to spend 4% of annual output (GDP) on their armed forces. US President Donald Trump has urged Nato allies to commit 4% of their annual output (GDP) to military He began the day by calling them " delinquents " and ended it with smiles.

Take NATO , whose annual summit Trump threatens to derail because he publicly upbraided America’s allies for supposedly not spending enough on their militaries . After first declaring alliance members “ delinquent ” on spending

"We've got to do more. We can't expect the American public to pay all the costs of this alliance."

NATO is the central pillar of Euro-Atlantic defence and the cornerstone of Canadian defence and security policy — which is why Canada should contribute more, Robertson said.

"But Trump puts people off. Nobody likes a bully. When a bully tells your do something, you usually tell him to f-off. It makes it hard for Trudeau to do something because a certain group of Canadians will be saying, 'Oh you're just kowtowing to Trump,'" he added.

"Canadian prime ministers have always been careful to keep a distance from their American counterparts ... but the bottom line is you do have to look at dollars because dollars do talk."

He said Canada should spend more on defence not merely to please Trump — who will just "take, take, take" — but also to serve our own national interests by increasing troop levels, replacing aging equipment, protecting Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic and taking part in humanitarian missions abroad.

Trudeau insists Canada spending enough on defence, as Trump declares victory at NATO

  Trudeau insists Canada spending enough on defence, as Trump declares victory at NATO Trudeau insists Canada spending enough on defence, as Trump declares victory at NATO Instead, Trudeau said at the wrap of the summit in Brussels that Canada has reaffirmed its commitment to work toward contributing two per cent of its gross domestic product to military spending — the military alliance's benchmark —and reverse any cuts.

WASHINGTON — President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies — including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada — taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was

Is Mr. Trump the first to raise this concern? No. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both pressed NATO allies to increase military spending . What does Mr. Trump mean when he says NATO should have had 9 billion more?

Obama and Trump on the same page

European — and Canadian — military budgets have increased over the last two years, something Trump prodded NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to give him credit for on Wednesday.

But NATO spending is an old obsession of American presidents. Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, also chastised " free riders " for failing to spend a long-held target of two per cent of their national gross domestic products on the military.

Obama suggested the United Kingdom's reluctance to increase its defence spending could threaten its "special relationship" with the United States.

Obama even called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the issue when he addressed Parliament in June 2016. "The world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada. We need you."

U.S. leaders have long looked with envy at the relatively low defence spending levels of other NATO countries as the Pentagon's budget continues to swell.

Canada signed on to an agreement to move "toward" the two per cent spending target at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales — a commitment that would cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars — to satisfy U.S. and NATO demands.

Cdn military spending to drop in 2018: NATO

  Cdn military spending to drop in 2018: NATO OTTAWA - Even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to defend against U.S. President Donald Trump's demands that Canada invest more in defence, a new NATO report suggests Canadian military spending as a percentage of GDP will fall sharply this year. Canada is expected to spend an estimated 1.23 per cent of its GDP on defence in 2018 — down from 1.36 per cent last year, says the annual report, which looks at military investments for all member states.

President Trump lectured NATO ’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, on military spending and energy Mr. Trump kicked off his meetings on a contentious note, calling allies “ delinquent ” for failing to The United States spends heavily to defend Germany from Russia, he said , and “Germany goes

The US president then raised the ante by saying that Nato countries double the 2 per cent of the budget spent on defence to 4 per cent. The president raised this same issue when he was at Nato last year. President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum

Canada's current spending comes in at just over one per cent of GDP — roughly $20 billion a year — a figure that many argue is simply too low to sustain a modern fighting force.

Others say quality is just as important as quantity. Trudeau has said that the two per cent benchmark doesn't adequately address the totality of a country's commitment to the alliance.

"I think the two per cent metric is an easy shorthand ... it is a very specific and, to a certain extent, limited tool,'' Trudeau said Tuesday after meeting with Canadian soldiers taking part in a NATO mission in Latvia.

Liberal B.C. MP Stephen Fuhr is the chair of the House of Commons defence committee, which recently completed a study of Canada's relationship with NATO. He said Canada shouldn't ignore the "aspirational" two per cent target entirely, but there are other ways to assess its contribution.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Liberal B.C. MP Stephen Fuhr, the chair of the Commons defence committee, says a singular focus on the 2 per cent of GDP figure doesn't give the whole picture of Canada's commitment to NATO. © Stephen Fuhr/Facebook Liberal B.C. MP Stephen Fuhr, the chair of the Commons defence committee, says a singular focus on the 2 per cent of GDP figure doesn't give the whole picture of Canada's commitment to NATO.

"I understand the need to have a number there, you need to put a stake in the sand somewhere, but it doesn't tell the whole picture. There are better ways to assess who is actually contributing," the former fighter pilot said in an interview with CBC News on Wednesday.

Canada extending mission in Latvia

  Canada extending mission in Latvia Canada extending mission in LatviaTrudeau made the announcement in Riga following a meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and indicated that he hopes the increased Canadian commitment to Latvia gets the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Right Now: President Trump lectured NATO ’s secretary general on military spending and energy security. Mr. Trump kicked off his meetings on a contentious note, calling allies “ delinquent ” for failing to “I’m going to tell NATO , ‘You got to start paying your bills,’ ” he said last week in Montana.

Praising seven members of NATO that do reach the 2 per cent military spending target – he named Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Greece and Britain – Trump said : “Some countries are loyal, some countries aren’t.”

"Greece maybe spends more than us, but does Greece show up every time? Is Greece investing in the capabilities that NATO actually needs? That matters."

(Almost three quarters of Greece's budget goes to paying salaries and pensions. In a country where unemployment is rampant, a career in the Greek military is highly sought-after. The Mediterranean country fails to meet other NATO spending targets for major equipment purchases, for example.)

"Every time there is a NATO mission, Canada looks at it and decides whether it's in the national interest to participate, and we have every time," Fuhr added.

"It's all about capability. The bigger question is, is Canada delivering? And I think the answer to that question is yes, including in Latvia, big time. Our history has shown that you can count on Canada to show up and pull its weight most of the time. The two per cent is just one of the ways you can look at it."

a screenshot of a cell phone © CBC

Fuhr noted that the government's defence strategy — a policy called Strong, Secure, Engaged, which was unveiled last year — includes a commitment to spend $47 billion in new money over 20 years, which will move Canada marginally higher up the list to about 1.45 per cent of GDP.

"That's a lot of money to put into the military. We're moving in the right direction," he said.

Robertson said he has sympathy for the government's argument.

While Canada spends less than some, it has the best equipment interoperability in the alliance — meaning it's a reliable partner for the U.S. on missions abroad, he said.

Trudeau not planning one-on-one meeting with Trump at NATO summit

  Trudeau not planning one-on-one meeting with Trump at NATO summit Any encounter between U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the next two days will happen on the margins of the NATO Summit in Brussels, not in any deliberate, structured bilateral meeting. The NATO meeting represents the first time the two leaders have been in the same room together since the disastrous G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec last month — and there's no sign at all of a thaw in their chilly relationship. The Prime Minister's Office said that, at the moment, no face-to-face meeting has been planned between Trudeau and Trump.

The 1,200km pipeline will run from Ust-Luga to Greifswald but Mr Trump suggested it was wrong for Germany to do Again this morning, he attacked those not paying their dues as “ delinquent ”. All 28 member states pledge to support a fellow Nato ally militarily should they come under attack under

(After first berating America’s allies for not spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, Trump on Wednesday demanded they spend 4 percent.) And Russia poses basically zero military threat to larger NATO members like France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The far larger threat to Europe is

Only six of the 29 nations in the alliance can fully integrate with the U.S. in the air, on land, at sea and with the special forces.

A recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading Washington-based think tank, also sought to challenge the tunnel-vision focus on the two per cent target. The report,  Counting Dollars or Measuring Value , suggested putting a greater emphasis on resources specifically "employed in the service of allied security" would be more useful.

"The almost singular focus on meeting the NATO pledge of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence obscures many of the true challenges to growing national and collective capability and to strengthened transatlantic security," the report reads.

Based on the think-tank's own assessment, Canada ranks fourth overall in NATO in terms of total commitment when you include troop levels on deployments to NATO missions, aid to support security operations abroad and the willingness of NATO members to accept refugees from conflict zones, among other benchmarks.

Conflating military spending with NATO commitments

Robertson said Trump also has conflated two issues central to the NATO spending debate. First, he said, the president's claim that the U.S. is "spending far more on NATO" than its allies is misleading.

A country's total military spending includes its NATO responsibilities and everything else its military does, he said. According to the recent Commons report, Canada currently provides about 6.6 per cent of NATO's common-funded budgets, making it the sixth-largest financial contributor to that budget among the member states.

That's not to mention the 435 Canadian civilian and military personnel currently working in the NATO bureaucracy, a number that does not include personnel deployed to NATO operations or staff working within various NATO support agencies.

Several Canadians are also serving in high-ranking leadership positions within NATO, including Lt.-Gen. Christine Whitecross, the commandant of the NATO Defense College in Rome, and Lt.-Gen. Christian Juneau, who is the deputy commander of the Joint Forces Command in Naples.

Trudeau gearing up for NATO summit .
Trudeau gearing up for NATO summitOTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders are gearing up for what already promises to be a lively debate on defence spending at the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels next week.

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