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NATO Is Dying, but Don’t Blame Trump
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Emmanuel Macron (R) talk to each other prior to pose for a family photo on March 22, 2019 in Brussels at the end of an EU summit focused on Brexit. (LUDOVIC MARIN/Getty Images)
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NATO Is Dying, but Don’t Blame Trump

Walter Russell Mead

The idea was once unthinkable, but after the German cabinet decided to keep defense spending as low as 1.25% of gross domestic product for the next five years it has become unavoidable. This decision is not driven by any fiscal urgency. Germany is projected to have a balanced budget after last year’s surplus of €11.2 billion, its fifth annual surplus in a row.

What Berlin means by this decision is clear: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the U.S. are not as important to Germany as they used to be. While irritation with and contempt for President Trump influence German foreign policy, something more profound is at work. Democrats including President Obama, as well as Republicans like John McCain, have long called on Germany to demonstrate its commitment to NATO by spending 2% of GDP on defense. By refusing even to come close to meeting NATO’s spending targets, Berlin is thumbing its nose not only at Donald Trump but at the U.S.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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