The Two Percent Rule

In his first NATO meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presented our allies with two choices. They either increase defense spending to two percent of GDP, or devise a  plan to reach the 2 percent budget guideline.

Mr. Tillerson wants those plans completed in time for a May 25th NATO meeting in Brussel. President Trump, long critical of NATO members he feels aren’t paying their fair share, will attend the meeting.

“Allies that do not have a concrete plan to spend 2 percent on defense by 2024 need to establish one now. Allies that have a plan to reach the 2 percent guideline need to accelerate efforts and show results,” Tillerson said Friday in Brussels.

Currently, only four Member states (Great Britain, Greece, Estonia, and Poland) have met the defense spending goal of 2 percent set in 2014. In contrast, Germany spent 1.19 percent GDP on defense.

I have been very critical of the Trump Administration, but this something they are getting right. If you want to be a NATO member, you have to meet your spending obligations. The United States can’t be expected to subsidize European welfare states.

Like it or not, President Trump’s 2018 budget makes deep cuts in everything but defense. The United States spends over 3 percent GDP on defense. Asking American taxpayers to shoulder deep domestic cuts while subsidizing NATO isn’t politically feasible.

It also isn’t fair

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