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Democrats, Media Rewrite History on Trump NATO Record

Posted on Thursday, March 14, 2024
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by Andrew Shirley
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13 Comments
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AMAC EXCLUSIVE

President Donald J. Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

In another attempt to save Joe Biden’s floundering re-election bid, Democrats and their media allies are now attempting to recast former President Donald Trump’s position that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries should pay their fair share for their own national defense as evidence that Trump would “abandon” U.S. allies and “empower Vladimir Putin.” But history suggests that Trump’s approach to NATO actually strengthened the alliance after the failed foreign policy establishment in Washington had weakened it for decades while leaving American taxpayers to foot the bill.

The latest media freakout over Trump’s approach to NATO began following a February campaign speech in which the 45th president recounted an anecdote from his tenure where “one of the presidents of a big country” at one point asked him whether the U.S. would still defend the country if they were invaded by Russia if that country did not meet its NATO defense spending requirements.

“No, I would not protect you,” Trump recalled replying. “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

The Biden campaign immediately issued a statement claiming Trump was “making it clear that he will abandon our NATO allies” and “intends to give Putin a greenlight for more war and violence.” A few weeks later, during his State of the Union Address, Biden accused Trump of telling Putin to “do whatever the hell you want.”

The Washington Post, meanwhile, has subsequently claimed that a second Trump term would “alarm allies” and that the former president “could turn his back on the United States’ closest military, diplomatic, economic and cultural partners.” The Atlantic has declared plainly that “Trump will abandon NATO,” and The Economist has said “Trump’s re-election would threaten NATO’s Article 5 [the mutual defense portion of the treaty] and play into Russia’s hands.”

However, a look at Trump’s first-term record shows that NATO actually became far stronger under his leadership thanks to Trump holding member states accountable for their commitments, and further suggests that a second Trump term could be just what the alliance needs to fix its freeloading problem and deter future aggression from Russia, China, and other bad actors.

Since NATO’s founding in 1949, no American president has pressed member states to fulfill their defense commitments more than Trump. In 2017, during his first remarks before the alliance, Trump demanded that all NATO members “finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” calling it “not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States” that many NATO member states – including rich nations such as Germany – relied heavily on American dollars for their national defense.

In an even more stern set of remarks in 2018, Trump again called out NATO members for being “delinquent” on their payments and warned Germany that they were a “captive of Russia.” (Though the global press slammed Trump’s remarks, the former president was proven exactly correct in 2022 when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine left Germany at risk of severe energy shortages.)

Trump – and the American people – have long had good reason to be frustrated with other NATO member countries. Despite all member states pledging back in 2014 to spend at least two percent of their nation’s GDP on defense spending, in 2023 just 11 nations met that requirement.

Although that number is expected to rise to 18 in 2024, 14 nations will still miss the two percent target, with the recent addition of Sweden bringing the overall number of countries in the alliance to 32.

Moreover, despite the fact that the total combined GDP of every other NATO member state is roughly equal to that of the United States, and the combined population of every other NATO country is nearly double that of the U.S., America still accounts for nearly 70 percent of all NATO defense spending.

In other words, American taxpayers are being forced to fund the defense of NATO member states in exchange for nothing in return. Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged following Trump’s February remarks that criticism of member nations not spending enough is a “valid point… because we haven’t seen fair burden sharing in the alliance.”

Under Trump’s leadership, this dynamic finally began to shift. By 2020, Trump’s pressure campaign had led NATO member states to increase defense spending by more than $350 billion. It is no coincidence that this development was accompanied by relative peace and stability in Europe. For the first time this century, Russia seized no new territory while Trump was president as NATO appeared on track to re-asserting its military deterrence capabilities.

However, that all changed when Trump left office. Biden failed to capitalize on Trump’s momentum, with NATO member state defense spending increases dropping from 4.6 percent in 2020 to 2 percent in 2022. Biden also stopped Trump’s tactic of using NATO summits to publicly hold allies accountable to their own defense spending commitments.

Unsurprisingly, Russia is once again on the march in Eastern Europe, and the continent is scrambling to bolster its defenses.

Trump’s approach to NATO showed that allowing other countries to freeload off the backs of American taxpayers is not only a bad deal for the United States, it undermines the national security of our allies as well. While Trump was tough on NATO, he was fair, and the world was safer as a result.

Andrew Shirley is a veteran speechwriter and AMAC Newsline columnist. His commentary can be found on X at @AA_Shirley.

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Myrna
Myrna
3 months ago

President Trump is easy to understand. We know when he is sarcastic that what he says is not to be taken literally. A nation that does not do anything to provide for its own defense looks like an easy target.

sue
sue
3 months ago

So, what’s new. Democrats live for their own perception. What a bunch of liars and a disgrace to other dempcrats. At one time I believe democrats were honorable and true to what was beneficial for Americans—-many, many, many moons ago. ow a bunch of self-serving paid liars.

anna hubert
anna hubert
3 months ago

Germany is the strongest economy in Europe Also a parent of the evil child called European union which is not fond of America but expects it’s dollars to flow in

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
3 months ago

Biden probably couldn’t tell you what “NATO” means… Biden is such a stiff, his staff has been instructed to dim all bright lights so Joe doesn’t walk into it. But the media will do his lying for him, just rewatch Stephanopoulos interviews every weekend.

Gloria
Gloria
3 months ago

Wikipidia, which use to be an honorable and excellent way to find true facts, has become another schill for the lying democrats/Marxists Nazis. Everything they have in their Wikipidis “facts” is tainted by Marxists’ lies.

Dave
Dave
3 months ago

You can only say that’s the pot calling the kettle black so many times but it seems like every time he opens his mouth that’s the direction he’s headed my question to that incompetent ignorant please it is in the white house I can’t call him my president very well that ignorant jaywad who is the only thing we have unfortunately what are they doing about the Philippines. Does he intend on protecting the Philippines I know he seems to have given up on Taiwan already. But we have a little bit closer ties with the Philippines they’re almost a state so what do we do turn our back and let China run all over them and absorb them into the greater Chinese conglomerate? Not only have these ignorant liberal moronic jerkwads almost destroyed the United States mainland now they’re intent on destroying anything that we touch in the entire world.

snert
snert
3 months ago

portugal just recently shifted center right, holland already, spain and ireland there are rumblings, and the german afd is growing big, things will change very soon. lets not forget argentina too!!!

Steve
Steve
3 months ago

Where were all of the other presidents? It seems that only Trump cared about the American people. We have been sold out for a long time. God help America.

johnh
johnh
3 months ago

About a month ago, Trump made the statement that If a country did not pay their NATO dues, then Russia can do whatever they want with that country”. He does understand NATO now any better than he did when he was POTUS and is saying that rich people can do whatever they want to the people that are not rich. It is always wrong to attack a peoceful nation, just cuz you think you have the power to do so.

Sean Rickman
Sean Rickman
3 months ago

President Trump is not perfect,but when you compare him to the disaster in charge,Trump is almost perfect.Would Ukraine or the Israel thing,or the illegal alien thing and many other catastrophes have happened with a strong AMERICAN government,I think not,wake up AMERICA.

Moonpup
Moonpup
3 months ago

As an American member of NATO Forces at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in the early ’70’s we had a clearly defined mission. I’m somewhat amused now to find that many of our former “enemies” – members of the Warsaw Pact – are now members of NATO. While I have no idea as to what NATO’s purpose is now, I can only say that I worked with some of the finest military officers and men (women too) that the then 14 NATO members had to offer and I’m confident that that has changed little – even though my “boss”, General A. J. Goodpaster, a military General, was replaced by a “political” General as SACEUR/CINCEUR. I feel that the need for NATO still exists but think that we (America) should not be burdened with financially supporting other nations.

greasemaker
greasemaker
3 months ago

Its about time and much more to come!

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