Trump reportedly gave Merkel a fake $374 billion invoice for NATO defense
In a bizarre stunt, President Trump reportedly handed German Chancellor Angela Merkel an invoice for more than $374 billion to cover military defense costs when they met in Washington last week. U.K. newspaper the Sunday Times reports the bill was meant to illustrate the amount, in Trump’s own estimation, that Germany has failed to spend on defense under a NATO agreement.
Trump, who has long complained about allies supposedly relying on U.S. military strength, was apparently upset that Germany, like most NATO countries, isn’t spending the amount it pledged to spend on defense. But suggesting that Germany “owes money” to NATO is misleading. Trump was reportedly referring to a pledge made by NATO states to spend 2 percent of their GDP on their own defense budgets. This money wouldn’t be paid to NATO but spent on Germany’s own defense. Only five of the 28 member states currently meet the 2 percent goal.
According to the Sunday Times, Trump’s fake invoice dated all the way back to 2002, when, according to Trump, Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schröder said he’d spend more on defense. Trump’s aides reportedly calculated how much German defense spending fell below 2 percent over the past 12 years, then tacked on interest.
Why it’s not normal:
It’s hard to know where to begin here. Sitting presidents don’t usually employ weird stunts that don’t make sense in order to intimidate leaders of countries the U.S. likes into spending more on defense. A German minister quoted in the Sunday Times called the bill “outrageous.”
Original post: newsvice.com
Trump Allegedly Handed Merkel A $370 Billion Bill For NATO
2:54 PM 03/26/2017
President Donald Trump allegedly handed a bill totaling more than $370 billion to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for money Germany “owes” the NATO alliance in defense spending.
The Sunday Times reports Trump handed the invoice to Merkel during their first face-to-face meeting March 17 in Washington, D.C. The exact figure wasn’t revealed but it was supposedly estimated from Germany’s total defense spending since 2002 — the year then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder pledged to increase military contributions after years of pacifism.
A German minister called the move “outrageous” and said Merkel “ignored the provocation.”
“The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the unnamed minister told The Sunday Times.
Trump called out Germany over its lack of military spending in a series of tweets following the meeting with Merkel.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen quickly rejected the claim, saying, “There is no account where debts are registered with NATO.”
While NATO doesn’t keep a debt account for each member state, and the alliance’s 2 percent of GDP pledge wasn’t agreed upon until 2014, it loses out on more than $20 billion in German military spending each year. (RELATED: If Germany Did Actually Owe NATO, The Amount Would Be Staggering [Graph])
The total gross domestic product in Germany since the start of 2009 is approximately $28.5 trillion, according to NATO figures. During these eight years, Germany spent about $359.8 billion on its military. The average defense expenditure per year is around 1.27 percent of total GDP.
If Germany met NATO’s 2 percent target each year, it would have racked up $569.5 billion since 2009, leaving a $209.7 billion gap in funding. The invoice Trump allegedly handed over to Merkel covers seven additional years.
Defense Expenditure in million U.S. dollars (2010 prices and exchange rates)
Germany is far from alone. Out of the alliance’s 28 members, just five meet the spending goal.