Standing in front of NATO’s brand new billion-dollar headquarters in Brussels, President Trump on Thursday pointed out that 23 of the 28 member nations of NATO allies are behind in their defense payments.
“NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” Trump said, as the guilty leaders looked on from the sidelines. NATO members are supposed to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.
“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States,” said Trump, adding, “and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years — and not paying in those past years.”
Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty states that an attack on any allied state is an attack on all, but Trump didn’t say that; he just emphasized “the commitments that bind us together as one.” It was an apt comment at a ceremony which featured a new memorial meant to symbolize NATO’s promise of mutual defense in the form of a twisted piece of metal from the north tower of the World Trade Center. The only time the alliance has ever invoked Article 5 was after the attacks on 9/11/2001.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer later told reporters, “There’s 100 percent commitment to Article 5.”
“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Trump noted at the end of his speech in acknowledgement of the vast fortune it took to house the alliance. “I refuse to do that. But it is beautiful.”
After being treated like royalty in the Middle East and Israel, the Trumps were welcomed with street protests in Brussels, a city he once described as a “hellhole” because of its well-documented problems with violent immigrants.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who donated a piece of the former Berlin Wall to the new memorial, stood next to the American president and covertly slammed his immigration policies by saying, “It is not isolation or the building of walls that will make us successful, but the sharing of values.” However, the citizens in her country often fear for their lives from their new refugee neighbors who refuse to assimilate into German society.
NATO did announce its intention to join the official coalition in the fight against ISIS, but Trump made it clear that it would be easy for them to do even better than that.
“If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism,” Trump said.
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