President Trump’s ambivalence about continued U.S. participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is traceable in large part to the behavior of its biggest European member. Germany is not contributing to the alliance at a pace commensurate with its economic resources or military requirements. Its defense budget barely exceeds 1% of GDP, even though NATO members are supposed to be aiming for at least 2% (America is over 3%). Its military forces are in a depressed state of readiness. It is relying increasingly on Russia for energy and on China for telecom technology. And it has excluded the F-35 fighter from a competition to replace aging Tornado tactical aircraft, even though F-35 is by far the best plane to take over Tornado’s nuclear mission and promote alliance inter-operability. So President Trump has good reason to doubt whether Washington can count on Germany and the Atlantic alliance to deter Russian aggression in the future. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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