Trump Tells NATO Countries They Need To Spend 4% Of GDP On Militaries — Even More Than The US

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After railing against NATO countries not contributing their required 2% for the better part of a year, President Donald Trump has moved the goal post to 4%, according to Bloomberg.


Trump told the 29 leaders of the transatlantic alliance they needed to up their defense spending to 4% of their nations' GDP, to counter some in the alliance's "free rider" status. But here's the rub: Many of those free rider countries are on track to up their spending to the required 2%, and oh by the way, the U.S. doesn't even spend 4%.

The U.S. spends 3.5% of its GDP on defense, according to the official figures from NATO.

But what is this all about, really? Is Trump nickel-and-diming our allies because, in his view, the U.S. is getting ripped off? What are we actually getting for contributing so much to this collective defense arrangement?

As Kori Schake put it in a brilliant essay for The New York Times, quite a lot:

Contrary to the president’s core complaint, the American-led order isn’t that expensive, especially as compared with the alternatives. About 40 percent of America’s gross domestic product was allocated to the military during World War II. It now stands at less than 4 percent — not an unreasonable price for a tried-and-true insurance policy.

The president and his fellow critics argue that if America does less, others will do more — that its largess facilitates free riders. That hasn’t proved true with its closest friends: Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, the United States has reduced its military forces in Europe by about 85 percent. But Europeans have even more significantly cut their defense spending, and become more tentative about the use of military force. Far from emboldening allies, the American drawdown has made them less likely to act.

Besides continuing to rail against an international order that has held firm for 70 years, Trump went so far as to say "Germany is totally controlled by Russia" — a ludicrous statement that brought forth some interesting facial expressions from others in the room, including former Gen. John Kelly and lifelong Republican Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison:

Following the NATO summit, Trump is heading to a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is no doubt smiling ear-to-ear over the disastrous state of affairs between the U.S. and its closest allies at this moment.

An Air Force civilian has died at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in a "non-combat related incident," U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced on Friday.

Jason P. Zaki, 32, died on Wednesday while deployed to the 609th Air Operations Center from the Pentagon, an AFCENT news release says.

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President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, right, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, left, walk at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla. (Associated Press//Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

At a time when taxpayer and foreign-government spending at Trump Organization properties is fueling political battles, a U.S. Marine Corps reserve unit stationed in South Florida hopes to hold an annual ball at a venue that could profit the commander in chief.

The unit is planning a gala to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the Marines' founding at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Nov. 16, according to a posting on the events website Evensi.

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Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO, Virginia -- They may not be deadly, but some of the nonlethal weapons the Marine Corps is working on look pretty devastating.

The Marine Corps Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate is currently testing an 81mm mortar round that delivers a shower of flashbang grenades to disperse troublemakers. There is also an electric vehicle-stopper that delivers an electrical pulse to shut down a vehicle's powertrain, designed for use at access control points.

"When you hear nonlethal, you are thinking rubber bullets and batons and tear gas; it's way more than that," Marine Col. Wendell Leimbach Jr., director of the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, told an audience at the Modern Day Marine 2019 expo.

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RACHEL, Nev. (Reuters) - UFO enthusiasts began descending on rural Nevada on Thursday near the secret U.S. military installation known as Area 51, long rumored to house government secrets about alien life, with local authorities hoping the visitors were coming in peace.

Some residents of Rachel, a remote desert town of 50 people a short distance from the military base, worried their community might be overwhelmed by unruly crowds turning out in response to a recent, viral social-media invitation to "storm" Area 51. The town, about 150 miles (240 km) north of Las Vegas, lacks a grocery store or even a gasoline station.

Dozens of visitors began arriving outside Rachel's only business - an extraterrestrial-themed motel and restaurant called the Little A'Le'Inn - parking themselves in cars, tents and campers. A fire truck was stationed nearby.

Alien enthusiasts descend on the Nevada desert to 'storm' Area 51

(Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Attendees arrive at the Little A'Le'Inn as an influx of tourists responding to a call to 'storm' Area 51, a secretive U.S. military base believed by UFO enthusiasts to hold government secrets about extra-terrestrials, is expected Rachel, Nevada, U.S. September 19, 2019

One couple, Nicholas Bohen and Cayla McVey, both sporting UFO tattoos, traveled to Rachel from the Los Angeles suburb of Fullerton with enough food to last for a week of car-camping.

"It's evolved into a peaceful gathering, a sharing of life stories," McVey told Reuters, sizing up the crowd. "I think you are going to get a group of people that are prepared, respectful and they know what they getting themselves into."

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OAKLAND, Calif. — A United States Coast Guard commander was charged with illegal importation of controlled substances Wednesday, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman said.

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