14 Jan Do we need NATO?
4 percent of GDP- that is how much President Trump requires of the members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to spend on their own defense. This figure apparently plunged the NATO summit, which was being held in Brussels, Belgium, into a state of disorder since the number quoted by the President of United States usurped their own current defense expenditure, which stands at 3.6 percent.
In 2006, the NATO members concurred to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. The goal to achieve this figure was delayed being met by 2024 when the members again met in 2014. According to the data released by NATO in March 2017, only 4 countries- US(3.6%), Greece(2.35%), Britain(2.12%) and Estonia(2.08%)- of the 29 member organization were found to be either meeting or exceeding the consigned 2 percent GDP figure; the exact reason why President Trump was found lambasting the “free-ride” narrative at the NATO summit, that its allies have grown accustomed to at US’ expense.
However, what was more alarming in President Trump’s tirade against his European allies was the brazenness with which he even insinuated on withdrawing US’ participation from the 70-year-old treaty. NATO which was founded in the aftermath of second world war in 1949, to ensure peace in the European region, against the possible threat of Soviet Union, is a crucial cog in context of US’ geopolitics. Although Soviet Union is now like a nightmare of the past; Russia and even China, to that extent, are inching closer and closer, when it comes to asserting dominance throughout the globe. Russian annexation of Crimea – the geographically separated part of Ukraine – and its continued presence in the Baltic regions should be a cause when it comes to the principles on which the American constitution is built, that is nobility of freedom, democracy, and national sovereignty. Russia along with China has been consistently attempting to undermine US policies and principles in the Eastern European and Asian Pacific regions, respectively.
What probably compels President Trump to make such radical comments at a summit of such enormous magnitude, is the double standards of certain allies, especially Germany. Being a world superpower for years now, Germany’s expenditure on defense has for long been plateaued, standing at a mere 1.2 percent of its GDP. And to make matters worse and invite President Trump’s harangue, Germany has been found entirely dependent on Moscow, purchasing billions of dollars’ worth of gas as well as energy, with the construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline. This double game has not sat well with President Trump, since it fundamentally goes against the notion of keeping Russia at bay which was why NATO was established in the first place, from making strategic and economic intrusions into Europe.
However, Trump shouldn’t risk the withdrawal because the repercussions of leaving NATO will eventually do more harm to US interests than good. European Union (EU) at present provides the US with the biggest market for exports. It is also US’ number one military partner with its allied forces deployed along with US’ in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It has proved its indispensability to US military troops over the years in areas of conflict, especially Afghanistan, where European countries have most of its armed forces positioned. Therefore, retracting from NATO will also deal an aching blow to the armed forces of USA and that is what President Trump should risk the least.
But Mr. President puts forth a fair demand when he asks every NATO member to reach 2 percent GDP mark and stop riding on the US expenditure bandwagon. So, what do you think? Should US remain in NATO or not?