Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, said this week that member states would be increasing their defense spending by an astounding $100 billion – a remarkable victory for President Donald Trump and the United States. To his credit, Stoltenberg did not shy away from giving credit where credit is due, praising the U.S. president for sending a “loud and clear” message to our European allies – a message which has inspired them to step up and meet their financial obligations.
“President Trump has been very clear. He is committed to NATO… but at the same time he has clearly stated that NATO allies need to invest more,” Stoltenberg said on Fox News. “So we see some real money and real results, and we see that a clear message from President Trump is having an impact. NATO allies have heard the president loud and clear. NATO allies are stepping up. What he’s doing is to help us adapt the alliance, which we need. This is a clear message to Russia and I think they see that.”
Later on Sunday, Trump acknowledged the praise and insisted that left-wing criticism of his NATO position was misguided.
“Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, just stated that because of me NATO has been able to raise far more money than ever before from its members after many years of decline. It’s called burden sharing. Also, more united. Dems & Fake News like to portray the opposite!” he tweeted.
The media likes to portray Trump’s NATO position as some extraordinarily bizarre, anti-American stance designed to help Moscow. In truth, he was doing nothing more or less than taking the position of Obama before him. It was already agreed upon that NATO member countries would commit 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending to lighten the burden on the United States. Trump’s whole argument was: Look, you said you were going to do this, so what’s the hold up?
He issued a startling rebuke to NATO countries last summer, at which time he extracted an “unwavering commitment” from leaders that they would begin upping their defense spending measures. Now they are finally on the path to doing just that. That’s a win for Trump, a win for U.S. taxpayers, and a win for NATO itself.