Germany Admittedly Shortchanges NATO, Claims They Owe Nothing

Justin Holcomb
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Posted: Mar 20, 2017 3:00 PM
Germany Admittedly Shortchanges NATO, Claims They Owe Nothing

After nearly destroying all of Europe and endangering the lives of millions in the 20th century, Germany is now refusing to admit any wrongdoing in failing to properly fund the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

President Donald Trump accused Germany on Saturday of failing to pay vast sums of money to NATO, a costly defense program that has protected the German people since the 1950s after the devastation of World War II.  

Germany's defense minister responded on Sunday, admitting that the country doesn't pay their dues but shouldn't be held accountable for their shortcomings.

In the statement, Ursula von der Leyen said "there is no debt account in NATO. To relate the 2% defense spending that we want to reach in the next decade solely to NATO is wrong."

Each member country of NATO is expected to contribute 2 percent of their annual GDP.  Since the early 2000s, the U.S. has routinely contributed 3 to 5 percent of its GDP to NATO.

Germany, on the other hand, only contributes an abysmal 1.2 percent.

In February, Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned NATO members to start paying their fair share.

“I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms,” Mattis told foreign dignitaries in a closed-room meeting. “America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense.”

But before Germany starts paying, NATO and the United Nations need to adopt a more "modern understanding" of global security.

"What we all want is a fair burden sharing," von der Leyen said. "In order to achieve that, we need a modern understanding of security, including a modern NATO, but also a European defense organization as well as investment in the United Nations."