Donald Trump is right about Nato spending, says UK diplomat –

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“We pay so much disproportionately more for Nato,” he has complained. “We are getting ripped off by every country in NATO, where they pay virtually nothing, most of them. And we’re paying the majority of the costs.” Sir Adam’s comments were limited to Mr Trump’s views on spending levels, rather than the wider alliance.

There are also fears at the highest levels that Europe is unprepared for an Russian incursion into the Baltic states because major Cold War infrastructure, such as ferries, tank-carrying railcars and reinforced bridges, as well as the accompanying legal instruments, needed to move men and equipment rapidly across the continent from bases in Germany have fallen into disrepair.

Defence spending in Nato fell in nominal terms from $1.06 trillion in 2008 to $871 billion last year.  The US accounted for 72 per cent of the alliance’s expenditure.

As a share of GDP, spending has fallen from 3.2 per cent to 2.4 per cent. Among European members, the fall is from 1.7 to 1.4 per cent.

Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Spain all spent less than one per cent last year. 

David Cameron has pledged to keep defence spending above the two per cent threshold to the end of the decade. 

In Brussels on Thursday, Nato ministers formally invited Montenegro, a former Yugoslav republic, to become the alliance’s 29th member.

Nato is also planning to place a series of highly mobile units in eastern Europe to act as a “trip-wire” that would deter any Russian incursion.

President Obama has complained that European states are acting as “free riders” by asking the US to act in Libya while contributing too little. “What has been a habit over the last several decades in these circumstances is people pushing us to act but then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game,” he said. 

Donald Trump is right about Nato spending, says UK diplomat –