Presidents claim that Germany owes the US vast sums of money demonstrates a lack of understanding, says ex-Nato representative

On the heels of a visibly awkward visit from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Donald Trump said on Saturday that Germany owed vast sums of fund to Nato and the US, even though the alliance does not stipulate payments to America.

His statements inspired a former US permanent representative to Nato to reply thats not how Nato works, and to add that increased European spending on defense was not a favor( or pay) to the US.

Trump, who was at his Mar-a-Lago estate for the weekend and spending the morning at Trump International Golf Course, sent two tweets early in the day. The first denounced the FAKE NEWS for what he said was mistaken coverage of a GREAT meeting with Merkel.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..

March 18, 2017

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

…vast sums of fund to NATO& the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

March 18, 2017

Trumps public appearances with Merkel betrayed an awkwardness between the two leaders, including during two widely remarked upon appearances in the White House. In one, the leaders failed to stage a handshake for cameras in the Oval Office, and in another Merkel looked mystified by comments made by Trump during a joint press conference. Before the visit Trump had repeatedly called Merkels policies insane and a disaster for Germany.

Trumps second tweet accused Germany immediately of not paying enough to the security alliance.

In a joint press conference on Friday, Trump carried strong is supportive of Nato but reiterated his belief that member nations do not contribute a fair share.

Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States, he said. These nations must pay what they owe.

He added: During our session, I thanked Chancellor Merkel for the German governments commitment to increase defense spending and work toward contributing at least 2% of GDP.

Trumps tweets on Saturday indicated a misunderstanding of the way Nato is funded. According to Natos official guidelines, member nations are expected to expend at the least 2% of their countrys gross domestic product( GDP) on defense. However, merely a handful of the 28 members actually meet that target.

At a 2014 summit in Wales, members pledged to increase their military spending to 2% of GDP by 2024, a goal some have said is unachievable and unrealistic for several member states.

Ultimately, members contributions are based on each nations ability. Hence, Nato member nations do not owe or have to compensate any other country.

On Saturday Ivo Daalder, who was permanent representative to Nato from 2009 to 2013, respond to Trump in a series of tweets.

Sorry, Mr President, thats not how Nato works, he wrote. The US chooses for itself how much it contributes to defending Nato. This is not a fiscal transaction, where Nato countries pay the US to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment.

All Nato countries, including Germany, have committed to spend 2% of GDP on defense by 2024. So far five members of 28 Nato countries do. Those who currently dont spend 2% of their GDP on defense are now increasing their defense budgets. Thats a good thing.

Read more: www.theguardian.com