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Trump Once Again Assails America’s Friends as He Opens Overseas Visit

After assailing the treaty with Japan, Mr. Trump went on to repeat what has become a perennial attack on Ms. Merkel’s Germany. “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO,” he said. “People don’t know that. We pay for close to that because Germany doesn’t pay what they’re supposed to pay, and out of the 28 countries, seven are paid up.”

As he has consistently done since taking office, Mr. Trump mischaracterized how NATO works and gave a false number about America’s share of the financial burden. NATO has a budget to cover common civilian and military costs, and the United States pays 22 percent of that, according to a formula based on national income. None of the NATO allies are in arrears on their contributions.

What Mr. Trump was referring to was a commitment by NATO allies to each spend 2 percent of their national economies on their own armed forces by 2024. He was correct that only seven countries meet that goal — the United States with 3.4 percent, along with Greece, Estonia, Britain, Romania, Poland and Latvia — and Germany spends only 1.4 percent on defense. But neither Germany nor any of the others are obliged to “pay up” to anyone other than their own militaries.

Collectively, estimated military spending by all NATO members in 2019 comes to $ 1 trillion, according to an update issued this week. Military spending by the United States represents 70 percent of that total, not 100 percent, and even that includes American spending on forces deployed in the Pacific or the Middle East, not just those committed to defending Europe.

Mr. Trump’s attack on Mr. Modi’s India concerned not security but another of the president’s favorite topics, tariffs.

“I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further,” the president wrote on Twitter from Air Force One as it made its way across the Pacific Ocean. “This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!”

What he did not say in his tweet was that India’s action in raising tariffs on 28 categories of imports came in response to Mr. Trump’s decision to increase tariffs on imported aluminum and steel and his decision in May to revoke a preferential trade status for more than $ 5 billion in imports from India.

Source: NYT > World News

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