NATO two percent target: Would Trump allow Germany to be shot down?

Donald Trump’s announcement that he will not defend “defaulting” NATO partners would affect two thirds of all member states. Which country spends how much on defense.

Donald Trump is already causing uncertainty among allies even before a possible comeback in the White House. After the Republican has questioned the NATO defense alliance several times in the past, he has now become specific.

Trump said at a campaign appearance in South Carolina that as president he would not stand by all those states that were “defaulting” in the event of an attack. “One of the presidents of a major country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we get attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You haven’t paid, you’re delinquent?'” Trump reported. He would even encourage Russia to attack. It is unclear whether this conversation with a head of state actually took place.

Sharp criticism of Donald Trump for NATO statements

But one thing is certain: Trump is shaking the foundations of NATO with his statement. The North Atlantic Treaty obliges all 31 member states to support each other in the event of an attack. However, this collective self-defense in the so-called alliance case is not tied to specific payments.

However, ten years ago the member states agreed to spend two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. Almost everyone has increased their spending since then, but the recent collapse in cash shows that just eleven NATO members fulfilled their voluntary commitment last year, the rest would have been cleared to be shot down according to Trump’s logic, including Germany, which according to NATO estimates last year 1.57 percent of GDP was invested in defense. The leader is Poland with 3.9 percent, followed by the United States with 3.49 percent. At the bottom is Luxembourg, which spent 0.72 percent of GDP on defense spending last year.

Even if many states miss the two percent target, according to NATO information, all members meet another required value: they spend at least 20 percent of their defense spending on equipping their armies.

The USA will elect its president on November 5, 2024. Donald Trump is considered the most promising Republican candidate in the fight for the White House against incumbent Joe Biden. He declared that Trump’s statements were “horrific and dangerous.” EU Council President Charles Michel called them “ruthless”. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also sharply criticized former US President Donald Trump’s statements about not defending defaulting NATO allies in the event of re-election. “Any suggestion that allies will not defend themselves undermines our overall security, including that of the United States, and puts U.S. and European soldiers at increased risk.”

Sources: NATO, news agencies DPA and AFP