Last week, President Trump stormed the annual NATO summit by demanding that European leaders pour billions into their military budget.
Soon after, Trump won a major victory–as foreign leaders agreed to live up to their commitments to NATO by spending more on defense.
Under NATO rules, all nations that are party of the alliance must spend at least 2% of their gross GDP on defense. However, only the U.S. currently spends that much.
NATO spending has been a major issue for President Trump, who has routinely pointed out that the U.S. is subsidizing the defense of wealthy European nations–like Germany, which spends just 1.2% of its GDP on defense.
European leaders had previously committed to increase spending to the required levels over the next six years. Trump, instead, demanded that they do so basically immediately: by January 2019.
Despite experts’ reservations, NATO leaders capitulated to the President–and agreed to fully fund NATO by the start of next year.
“I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially,” Trump told reporters. “Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before.”
Trump reiterated that NATO could continue to expect a strong commitment from the United States.
“I believe in NATO,” he assured.