NATO Offers Trump a Budget Cut Amid Growing Doubts About Alliance

Macron: NATO emphasizes spending over strategy

Amid a growing debate about what the point of the NATO alliance even is, NATO announced a change to its internal budgeting, reducing the percentage of the central budget the US is expected to provide.

Under the announcement, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says that the US contribution will be reduced from 22 percent to 16 percent, while Germany’s contribution will be raised to 16 percent as well, putting them at the same as the US.

NATO’s annual budget is about $2.5 billion per year, so the US will be saving $150 million annually, and its contribution will be $400 million. This begins in 2021. It is seen as a concession to President Trump because he is constantly complaining about other nations not paying as much to NATO.

This still doesn’t resolve the major debate ongoing within NATO, which is what NATO should actually be doing. French President Emmanuel Macron complained that the alliance over-emphasizes how much money it is spending, without enough emphasis on strategy.

Macron has added he doesn’t believe China and Russia are necessarily meant to be NATO’s enemies, and that he wants the alliance to focus on fighting terrorism. So far, NATO’s deployments are broadly aimed at Russia, and talks of spending more money at building up on Russia’s frontier.

Historically, NATO hasn’t done much of anything at all. The first NATO operation was a naval blockade against Serbia during President Clinton’s time in office. Since then, operations heavily targeted Serbia and participation in the occupation of Afghanistan.

Redefining NATO as a anti-terrorism alliance makes sense for France because that’s where a lot of their military budget goes, invading places across Africa and the Middle East, and Macron likely believes it will be easier if they can suck the rest of NATO into these interventions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.