Not Just About ‘Cash:’ Germany Fires Back After Trump Slams NATO ‘Underspending’

Ahead of July’s NATO summit, the US President fueled the buzz about the row within the bloc over agreed-upon military spending targets, as he sent his letters of discontent to several European leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel. In response, Germany’s military chief lectured Trump on what alliance means and played down his rebuke.

Since the beginning of his term, Germany military spending has been a consistent target of US President Donald Trump for being  far less than the NATO guideline of 2% of gross domestic product (GDP). This irritation prompted the president to write a letter of discontent, which he sent to Angela Merkel ahead of the NATO summit. But German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has stood up for Berlin’s army budget, which totals percent of GDP, and pointed out that the contribution to the common defense can’t be measured only in “cash.”

“You can easily spend 2% of your national GDP on defense while at the same time not contributing anything to NATO — do not participate in missions, do not participate in actions, do not participate in reinsurance missions. If we stand together for values and for peace in this world, that means we must provide what we can in this alliance,” she stated, talking to the media.

She stressed that Germany was the second largest troop contributor to NATO overall, the second largest troop contributor to Afghanistan’s mission and also the second largest net contributor…

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