Trump threatens to replace Britain as a key ally if it fails to increase the military spending

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News Analysis |

Donald Trump is certainly not happy with the way member states are dealing with the affairs of NATO, especially on the military front. In recent past, he has asked the European signatories of North Atlantic Treaty to step up their game in terms of spending more on the NATO forces. In the continuation of the dictating discourse, U.S Secretary of State Jim Mattis has sent letters to European states of Belgium, Germany, Norway and to the surprise of many, Britain as well.

Great Britain is already spending 2% of its GDP on the military as par the commitment to NATO but still, the letter was received by Britain’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson containing a chiding language. Britain’s global role “will require a level of defense spending beyond what we would expect from allies with only regional interests,” Mattis wrote. “I am concerned that your ability to continue to provide this critical military foundation … is at risk of erosion,” he wrote.

He asked for a “clear and fully funded, forward defense blueprint” from Britain, and said he hoped for an update at a NATO summit next week. After 9/11, when British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the UK is going to stand “Shoulder to Shoulder: with the United States of America in war against terror, Britain has been the key ally to the U.S.

In addition to their two percent spending commitment, they are also making progress on their agreement to spend at least 20 percent of annual defense expenditure on major new equipment by 2024.

Not only has it spent billions of pounds to cover up the cost of war and deployment of troops, but more than 500 British soldiers have lost their lives fighting alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though Britain is keeping up with its commitment to spending up to 2% of its GDP as promised, it is still not enough to please Donald Trump. The letter which was sent on behalf of the will of U.S president by Secretary of State threatened to replace Britain with France as the front line, key ally if London failed to meet the expectations of Washington.

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Britain has been one of the largest spenders on its military but due to internal pressure to spend more on health, education and internal security, budget cuts were forced to be enacted. Among other receivers of the warning letters, Germany particularly was the target of Donald Trump’s wrath. “As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised,” Mr. Trump wrote to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in a particularly pointed letter.

“The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us.” In past U.S presidents have shared their reservations over the unequal distribution of NATO expenses but Donald Trump has decided to take a pragmatic perspective on this matter.

After 9/11, when British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the UK is going to stand “Shoulder to Shoulder: with the United States of America in war against terror, Britain has been the key ally to the U.S.

In his first move, he is mulling to pull out 35000 active duty U.S troops stationed in Germany as a sign of his discontent with attitude Germany has adopted over the years. With the NATO summit less than two weeks away now, the personal letters sent by President Trump to the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Norway and the Netherlands may exacerbate existing tensions between the United States and its European allies, already strained after the recent G7 summit in Canada.

Read more: UK blames protestors as Trump cancels London trip

European allies have been ramping up their defense spending in response to Washington’s demands. In addition to their two percent spending commitment, they are also making progress on their agreement to spend at least 20 percent of annual defense expenditure on major new equipment by 2024.

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