NATO chief touts record defense spending, pushes back on Trump’s remarks

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the alliance’s members have increased defense spending to record amounts, and former President Donald Trump suggested last week that he would condone attacks on European countries that are not spending enough. He said he objected.

Stoltenberg said European allies and Canada increased defense spending by 11 per cent last year, putting the 18 members of the alliance on track to meet their goal of devoting 2 per cent of their economic output to security needs. Stated.

Stoltenberg said this is a significant improvement over 2014, when the alliance pledged that all member states needed to meet the minimum target, with just three member states meeting the 2% target. pointed out.

“We are making real progress,” the NATO chief said in a statement. Press conference. “European allies are increasing spending.”

Stoltenberg also touted NATO’s 75-year history as an effective security alliance because allies have always sworn to protect each other, and at a campaign rally over the weekend said that “delinquent ” This was in contrast to President Trump, who had suggested that Russia would attack contributing countries. .

“Any suggestion that we’re not going to stand up for each other, that we’re not going to protect each other, makes us all less safe,” Stoltenberg said. “That’s very important [we] …Make it clear that we support NATO’s commitment to protect and defend all allies. ”

President Trump has come under heavy criticism for his NATO comments, which have sparked fear throughout the alliance and Europe. President Biden said Tuesday that President Trump “bowed” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and called the former president’s comments “stupid.”

Trump developed a friendly relationship with President Vladimir Putin during his presidency, but was often critical of NATO, saying the allies were not meeting spending goals. But as he finalizes the Republican nomination, there are growing concerns that he could weaken NATO’s power in Europe as he potentially becomes a second president.

Stoltenberg said that while spending is weak across the alliance outside of the United States, NATO allies are working to address these concerns. He also emphasized the importance of having the support of strong allies for the United States.

“It is in America’s national security interest to keep NATO strong,” he said. “Through NATO, the United States has something that no other company has.” [major power has] It is more than 30 friends and allies of NATO. And it makes America stronger and safer. ”

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