US, Britain Push for Major NATO Spending Increases

Tillerson Denounces 'Russian Aggression' in Push for Spending Hikes

by Jason Ditz, March 31, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his first appearance at a NATO meeting today, loudly denouncing “Russian aggression” and pushing for NATO members to dramatically increase their military spending, rewarded with applause from NATO members as he pledged US support for NATO, and laid out an anti-Russia stance.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and US Defense Secretary James Mattis both played up the idea of NATO needing to greatly increase spending, saying that all member nations need to meet the 2% annual GDP spending, and that they must all commit to increases in “real terms” year over year.

Most of NATO doesn’t spend anywhere near 2% of their GDP on the military, and most have no real need to, given that they aren’t engaged in massive overseas wars and don’t have enemies on their borders. Germany has been very clear about not wanting to waste that much on military spending.

Tillerson’s comments played up the need for all of NATO to commit to “stability” in the Middle East, and to be ready to fight against “Russian aggression,” which is always a popular among NATO nations in calls for spending increases, but doesn’t appear likely to get many to put up the 2% annually.

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