Corrections & clarifications: An earlier version of this story misstated the spending by member countries. The U.S. spends the largest portion of its economy on defense and Luxembourg the least.
WASHINGTON – After taking criticism in Europe for his “America First” foreign policy, President Donald Trump resumed his complaints about NATO and the costs of the military partnership with Europe on Monday.
“Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders,” Trump tweeted the morning after events marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. “Never easy bringing up the fact that the U.S. must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade.”
Trump’s tweets reiterated his complaints about the high cost of providing military protection for countries that sell the USA more goods and services than they buy.
He called for “FREE and FAIR!” trade.
Trump has railed repeatedly against the U.S. costs of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which calls for a common defense among primarily European countries.
“It is time that these very rich countries either pay the United States for its great military protection, or protect themselves,” Trump tweeted.
Without specifying whom, Trump said he told world leaders “this situation cannot continue.”
The United States spends the highest share of its economy on defense, at 3.5 percent, and Luxembourg spends the lowest, at a little more than half of 1 percent. The 29 members of NATO pledged to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. Only five countries meet that goal – the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia and Latvia.
Trump criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for calling for a continental military group independent of the United States.
Last week, Macron suggested a strictly European defense pact after Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
In an interview with Europe 1 radio, Macron talked about creating a “true European army,” because “we have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.”
Macron’s office on Saturday acknowledged that his remarks “could create confusion,” but stressed that “he never said we need a European army against the United States.”
At a World War I commemoration Sunday, Macron attacked nationalism.
“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Macron said at a gathering of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying, ‘Our interest first, who cares about the others?’ “
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