World

Trump scolds NATO allies for owing 'massive' sums

26 May 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

President Donald Trump once again irked America's NATO allies by saying they aren't spending enough on defense.

The unexpected and abrupt remarks came as NATO leaders stood beside him at a conference in Brussels.

Trump said certain member countries owed the US and NATO "large amounts of money" even though their contributions are meant to be voluntary.

In context: Trump meets NATO leaders in Brussels

13 Apr 2017Trump backtracks on campaign rhetoric, says NATO "no longer obsolete"

On April 13, US President Donald Trump said during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that NATO is "no longer obsolete."

Trump said he would continue working with the military alliance's partners, especially on counter terrorism.

Trump's statement comes as a huge relief to NATO members who were alarmed by his denunciation of the alliance during his election campaign.

26 May 2017Trump scolds NATO allies for owing 'massive' sums

Love World news?
Stay updated with the latest happenings.

What Trump said

"23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying for their defense," Trump said. "This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money."

Collective defenseTrump doesn't explicitly express support for crucial NATO principle

Trump said the US "will never forsake" NATO.

However, NATO leaders had hoped Trump would more explicitly reaffirm the US' support for the principle of collective defense under which an attack on one ally is an attack against all, forming the bedrock of the alliance.

Every single US president has, since NATO's founding in 1949, pledged support for collective defense.

Sharp contrastTrump's comments contradict NATO's efforts to promote unity

Trump's comments were in sharp contrast to NATO's efforts to play up the alliance's unity.

They invited Trump to NATO's new headquarters in Brussels to unveil a memorial to the 9/11 attacks.

Trump said, "Terrorism must be stopped in its tracks" or attacks such as the Manchester bombing will happen again.

He said this is why "NATO members must finally contribute their fair share."

Disappointment Trump's comments didn't go well with NATO members

A senior diplomat said Trump's remarks didn't go down well with NATO members.

"This was not the right place or time," the diplomat said. "We are left with nothing else but trying to put a brave face on it."

In yet another unexpected development, Trump urged NATO members to include limiting immigration. This may not bode well for the open bordered EU.

Love World news?
Stay updated with the latest happenings.

NATO chief defends Trump

Trump's statements didn't find detractors in all of NATO. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg defended Trump saying while the US president was "blunt," he had "a very plain and clear message on the expectations" of allies.