German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen has announced that her nation will increase military spending by $2 billion in 2017, and another $2.2 billion on top of that by 2020, in an effort to get closer to the 2% of GDP spending level the US is demanding of NATO members. Germany is currently spending just over 1.2% of its GDP, which still amounts to one of the top 10 militaries on earth.
NATO nations have been pushing to get the increases in with an eye toward selling President-elect Donald Trump on the idea that NATO is paying their fair share in the cost of the defense of Europe. Von der Leyen followed her announcement with a demand for Trump to make it clear what his “agenda” will be on foreign policy, insisting that Germany needs reliability.
Other officials have repeatedly insisted that Trump will remain committed to NATO no matter what, and have downplayed his comments calling the alliance obsolete. German officials have been particularly critical of Trump for his comments.
The big question mark on Trump’s position is US-Russia relations, as he’s made it clear he wants to improve ties with Russia, and end years of worsening hostilities, something which a number of European NATO nations are loudly opposed to, as they see a new Cold War as a guarantee of heavy US spending in Europe.