Pence to NATO Countries: Increase Defense Spending

Vice President Mike Pence sought both to assure European allies that the Trump administration is committed to the NATO alliance and to warn them that the US expects greater contributions to the common defense in a visit to Brussels Monday. At a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Pence communicated “the strong support of President Trump and the United States of America for NATO and our transatlantic alliance.” Pence mentioned the administration’s plans to rebuild the US military and called on Europe to make similar investments. “America will do our part, but Europe’s defense requires Europe’s commitment as much as ours,” Pence said. “For too long, for too many, this burden has not been shared fairly among our NATO allies, and that must come to an end.” He said the US would “continue to hold Russia accountable” for its actions in Ukraine and work with NATO allies to fight terrorism. He also called on European nations to meet their stated goal of raising defense spending in all NATO nations to two percent of GDP. For those nations without a clear plan to achieve this goal, Pence said, “Get one. It is time for actions, not words.” Stoltenberg agreed, saying “Europeans cannot ask the United States to commit to Europe’s defense if they are not willing to commit more themselves.”