Tillerson Blasts Russia For “Ukraine Aggression” As Germany Slams Trump’s “Unrealistic” NATO Demands

Friday, March 31, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Mar 31, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to reassure America’s nervous European counterparts over Washington’s commitment to NATO on Friday but it didn’t quite work out as expected when he pressed them again to spend more on defense, triggering a sharp rebuke from Germany.

“As President Trump has made clear, it is no longer sustainable for the U.S. to maintain a disproportionate share of NATO’s defense expenditures,” Tillerson said at a meeting of allied foreign ministers in Brussels.

Repeating what Trump told Angela Merkel during her US visit (when the US president reportedly handed the Chancellor an invoice for $375 billion for “overdue” NATO defense expenses) Tillerson said he wants member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to agree at their summit in May to increase such spending by the end of the year or to make concrete plans to reach? 2% of gross domestic product by 2024—a target the Germans have contested.

What set off NATO ally anger however was Tillerson’s suggestion that the U.S. would prefer to micromanage the process, and wants to see annual milestones that would ensure the defense investment pledge? is implemented by the 2024 deadline, the WSJ reported.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was particularly incensed, acknowledging that while Germany should spend more, he said demands for spending 2% of GDP were “totally unrealistic.” To meet the U.S. target, he said, Germany would have to increase spending by some €35 billion ($37 billion).

“Two percent would mean military expenses of some €70 billion. I don’t know any German politician who would claim that is reachable nor desirable,” Gabriel told the first meeting of NATO foreign ministers attended by Tillerson.

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