Today marks the 70th anniversary of North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) founding, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg yesterday joining both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in a historic joint congressional address. In his speech, Stoltenberg praised President Donald Trump for urging NATO allies to increase their defense spending, saying this message “had an impact.”
Fred Kempe, president and CEO of The Atlantic Council, said yesterday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that NATO defense spending in Europe is up 40 percent so far under the Trump presidency. The United States is the largest financial contributor to NATO. President Trump, who rode to power on a global wave of anti-establishment populist sentiment that included the anti-E.U. Brexit vote, has criticized NATO members throughout his presidency. For example, he tweeted in January,“The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%, and NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, dismissed President Trump’s interpretation of NATO in an interview with Bold TV.
“The President first and foremost doesn’t understand that NATO ultimately is a collaborative defense treaty in which we expect countries to stand up and defend the United States when we are attacked,” Sen. Murphy told Bold TV. “I really worry that this president’s attacks on NATO and his attacks on the European Union will ultimately lead to them becoming so weak that ultimately they cannot stand.”
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Photo Credit: U.S Army