US Wants NATO to Pay More for Troops in Saudi Arabia

Esper says NATO must take more responsibility for the Gulf

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that in talks with NATO nations later this week, he will urge those nations to contribute more to the US deployment in Saudi Arabia, including paying more for the thousands of US troops there.

Though this appears to be chiefly about money, Esper also suggested NATO members should send ships and warplanes to the region to support Saudi Arabia. The US deployment is chiefly about threatening Iran.

It’s not clear on what basis the US could demand NATO involvement, as nether defending Saudi Arabia nor threatening Iran are anything to do with the NATO treaty’s intentions, and the whole situation is far afield of the North Atlantic.

An even bigger question that’s sure to be asked is whether the US actually intends to turn a profit on this venture. President Trump is already claiming that Saudi Arabia is paying the cost in full of the deployment of US troops, so it’s absurd to also suggest NATO nations pay the US as well.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.