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Defense spending of all NATO countries by GDP

Donald Trump said this weekend he would encourage Russia to attack “delinquent” NATO allies who he says are spending too little. on defense.

His remarks shocked leaders on both sides of the Atlantic and misrepresented the functioning of the 31-member alliance.

NATO member countries all make payments to cover the operating expenses of the organization, founded in the aftermath of World War II to help Western Europe counter the Soviet Union with help from Canada and the United States. But they don’t pay dues to stay in the alliance, so there is no delinquency to speak of.

Countries They do, however, commit to devoting at least 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to defense each year, with the aim of ensuring the alliance’s military preparedness and deterring any potential attack. This commitment is a guideline, not a requirement, in effect for nearly two decades.

Last year, 11 countries met or exceeded that goal, according to NATO statistics. Other countries spent a smaller portion of their GDP on defense. (Iceland, the only member state without armed forces, is excluded from the dataset.)

Most of the countries that spent above the 2% mark share a border with Russia or are located near the front lines of the war in Ukraine. Trump’s insinuation that they are not paying their share is false.

Poland – which shares part of its northern border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and a long stretch of its southeastern border with Ukraine – spent a larger share of its GDP on defense last year than any other Member State, i.e. 3.9%.

The United States comes in second, with 3.49 percent. But in raw numbers, the $860 billion The US defense budget is more than double that of all other NATO allies combined.

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Illegally annexed by Russia in March 2014

NATO countries not represented:

Portugal, Iceland, United States and Canada

map nato web Artboard 58 384

Illegally annexed by Russia in March 2014

NATO countries not represented:

Portugal, Iceland, United States and Canada

map nato web Artboard 62 640

NATO countries not represented:

Iceland, United States and Canada

Illegally annexed by Russia in March 2014

Other member states spending more than 2% of their GDP include Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and new NATO member Finland, which joined the alliance last year. (It should be noted that most big spenders have national laws or policies that require 2% defense spending in line with NATO goals.)

Countries further from Russia were more likely to spend below the 2% threshold. Some – including Germany, Italy and Canada – have spent considerably less than this target, despite having a large economy and a GDP exceeding $1 trillion. Others, like Luxembourg, may struggle to reach this threshold due to the limited size of their armed forces and defense industries.

Trudeau told NATO that Canada would never meet its spending target, Discord leak shows

Most NATO allies spend a larger share of their GDP on defense than in 2014. That year, Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula and annexed it, stoking tensions in Eastern Europe. ‘East and urging NATO to double its spending target of 2%.

At the time, only three allies achieved this goal. This number increased to seven in 2022. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of the same year, defense spending increased in several countries.

Poland tops the list again, with its defense spending increasing from 2.4 percent of GDP to 3.9 percent. In total, Poland spent more than $29 billion on defense last year, almost $12 billion more than in 2022 and three times what it spent a decade ago. France, Slovakia, Hungary and several other countries also increased their defense spending after the Russian invasion.

Earlier this year, Turkey voted in favor of Sweden’s membership after months of delay. Pending Hungary’s ratification, Sweden is expected to join NATO this year as its 32nd member and has committed to spending 2.1% of its GDP.

Some Member States are spending more but have not yet exceeded the 2 percent mark. Others have stagnated. But the push for increased defense spending has not gone unnoticed.

Following Trump’s remarks, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday pledged to meet NATO’s 2% target. “This is an urgent necessity,” Scholz said. “Because as harsh as this reality is, we do not live in times of peace. »


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