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Is It Fair for Trump to Bash NATO Over Military Spending?

Posted On: Jul 12, 2018   |   Posted By: The New Republic

Taking the “come out swinging” approach to family reunions, President Donald Trump kicked off the NATO summit this week by accusing Germany of improper ties to Russia and berating European allies for insufficient defense spending. On Thursday, he reportedly suggested that if member states didn't cough up 2 percent of GDP for defense spending by January, the United States would “ go our own way .” This is a theme for the American president-that Western Europe is shirking its military spending duties. How accurate is it, and how might the January deadline play out? I called up Jari Eloranta, an economic historian at Appalachian State University who specializes in military spending trends. After NATO's founding after World War II, the U.S. consistently outspent other member states at eye-poppingly high percentages of its GDP, according to Eloranta. That was partly due to the Cold War. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, was outspending the United States, but help from European allies put NATO defense spending above...

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