Trump’s meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel was awkward to say the least.
Trump sat crestfallen and sulked throughout the meeting. Angela looked on as if he had mispronounced her name (which, let's face it, there's a probability of!). Even during a joint press conference, Merkel appeared baffled by Trump’s responses.
But, whatever impression the leaders’ expressions may have given you, Trump is here to tell you that he and Merkel had a great time. They probably spent the time discussing all the times Trump gave Merkel a Twitter shout out and reminded her that her policies were disastrous.
Even though Trump had graced the country with his presence, he did not want Americans to forget that Germany owes the USA vast sums of money for the protection it provides Germany.
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
...vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
During the joint press conference, as Trump pledged his full support to NATO, he repeated his reservations that some member countries do not contribute "a fair share."
“Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States,” he said. “These nations must pay what they owe.”
“During our meeting, I thanked Chancellor Merkel for the German government’s commitment to increase defense spending and work toward contributing at least 2% of GDP.”
NATO stipulates that each country should set aside 2% of its budget to NATO. Only a handful of the 28 countries meet that target. Many have vowed to increase the proportion to 2% by 2024 while others have, understandably, made it clear that a 2% requirement is unfair. Ultimately, each country contributes according to its own share. This should explain why US pays a larger proportion.
Trump has previously alleged that the US shoulders the burden of security for other countries, and by contributing to a body that ensures the members’ collective interests, US is doing a favor.
But that is, as a former US representative to NATO points out, not how NATO works. Ivo Daalder took to Twitter to abolish Trump’s narrative.
1/ Sorry, Mr. President, that’s not how NATO works. The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending NATO. pic.twitter.com/8svkzRBEQb— Ivo Daalder (@IvoHDaalder) March 18, 2017
Reasons do not really deter Trump much. Previously, the President called NATO obsolete. But then again, Trump is not really a fan of cooperation amongst countries, something he has made apparent by defending Brexit. Let’s see how this approach informs the foreign policy of USA.