Even as Merkel refuses to step up more quickly, Pence points out countries not paying at least 2% are in violation of Article 3, every bit as binding as Article 5.
On his first visit to Europe since taking office, Mike Pence said “some of our largest allies do not have a credible path” towards paying their share of Nato’s financial burden.
Although he did not name individual countries, his targets included Germany, France and Italy.
“The time has come to do more,” he said.
. . . .
He was speaking immediately after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, made it clear she would not be bullied by the US over defence spending.
She said Germany had made a promise to increase defence over the next decade and would fulfil that commitment rather than be forced into the faster rises that Trump is looking for.
Merkel said the focus on defence spending could be misleading.
Even if Germany was to spend more, there was not the military capacity available to invest in.
She added that Germany saw spending on development in countries in Africa and elsewhere as vital to security as military spending.
. . . .
Pence went further than the US defence secretary, James Mattis, at Nato headquarters on Wednesday in warning Nato allies to stump up more.
He said: “As of this moment, the US and only four other Nato members meet that basic standard.”
Those four countries are the UK, Estonia, Greece and Poland.
The other 23 Nato members do not meet the target of spending 2% of GDP on defence.
In a thinly veiled warning, Pence said that while the US was bound by Nato’s article five– an attack on one member would be an attack on all – he also reminded the audience that article three contained a commitment to sharing the financial burden, echoing Trump’s warning last year that he did not feel bound to come to the defence of countries that did not pay their share.
How do you defend Estonia and Poland but not Germany and France?
What does Trump do about NATO members that don't budge, and when does he do it?
A drawdown of forces stationed in those countries?
How big and how soon?