Report: Trump considers pushing NATO members to increase defense spending

The former US president has repeatedly criticized many member countries for not paying enough in light of threats from Russia and China

Donald Trump is considering plans to push the NATO members to ramp up defense spending from 2% to 3% of GDP if he is re-elected in November, according to sources close to the former US President cited in a report by The Telegraph on Friday.
Trump has reportedly been mulling an increase for some time but was further persuaded by the arguments of Polish President Andrzej Duda, a source close to the ex-president told the media. The two met for talks in New York last month.
Duda has repeatedly called for a boost in defense spending across the alliance, arguing that 3% is needed to defend against “growing threats,” including from Russia.
Trump’s views are “evolving towards 3%, especially after speaking to Duda” and that’s “not including money for Ukraine,” the anonymous source said.
Trump’s encounter with Duda also reportedly played a role in convincing him to lift his opposition to a long-delayed aid package which included $60 billion for Kiev.
In February, Trump came under fire from the White House and top Western officials for suggesting he would not defend NATO allies who had failed to spend enough on defense and would even encourage Russia to attack them. In March, US intelligence agencies warned that America was facing a “fragile world order” amid Russian and Chinese threats.
NATO’s 32 members have agreed on a target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense. Last year’s NATO estimates have shown that only 11 are spending that much, including its largest contributor, the US, as well as the UK, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Greece, Hungary, Finland, Latvia, Slovakia and Denmark.
Belgium and Spain spent 1.2%, while Luxembourg, which has the smallest budget for defense compared to its GDP, spent just 1%. Only Poland, the US and Greece spent more than 3%.

On Tuesday, Timo Pesonen, the EU’s top defense official, said “while the NATO allies are increasing their budget to at least 1% of GDP,” some member states “speak about 3% already.” His remarks came days after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said allies “must go further” than 2%.
A source close to Trump, quoted by The Telegraph, said he also has a detailed plan for how to end the war peacefully which won’t be made public before the election.
Republican presidential nominee previously said he will be able to negotiate peace because he knows the leaders of both countries, but hasn’t elaborated. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said.