President Trump told NATO allies that they should take more costs to protect the Alliance. Thus, strengthening the already serious tension before the summit of Western European leaders in Brussels, which is expected next week.
In letters sent last month to Allied leaders from Canada to Germany, Trump repeated long-standing complaints that other countries do not spend enough money for defense and that the United States is too heavy on NATO.
In a letter of June 19 to the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, Trump wrote that her country “does not have a reliable plan” to spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense.
“I understand the internal political pressure, as I myself spent considerable political capital to increase our own defense spending,” Trump wrote in a letter posted on the Atlantic Council’s Washington DC website. “Nevertheless, it becomes more difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries continue to fail to comply with our common demands for collective security.”
Some recipients said they did not understand Trump’s message and that they were working to fulfill the promises they had made at the NATO summit in 2014.
“I did not really understand this letter,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said last week on the sidelines of the European Union’s meeting. “Belgium did not reduce defense spending and takes part in many military operations.”