Greece is third after Bulgaria and the US in terms of relative military expenditure in NATO as it spent 2.28% of its GDP in 2017, with the US spending 3.42 of its GDP.
World leaders are in London to mark the military alliance’s 70th anniversary, an occasion that has so far been particularly frosty considering tensions between President Trump and America’s European allies. The event is also taking place amid the UK’s drawn-out divorce with the EU while Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry at home. Given his unpredictability at last year’s summit, something clearly on display during his meting in front of the cameras with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, all eyes continue to be on President Trump once again this time around. The 2018 event was one of the most turbulent in NATO’s history with Trump lambasting other alliance members for not upping their defence expenditure before claiming European leaders caved in to his demands, something they subsequently denied.
Despite all of the chaos and controversy, Trump’s demands have resulted in more countries sharing NATO’s financial burden. In 2017, five countries met the goal of spending 2 percent of their GDP on defence and that has now increased to nine according to the alliance’s latest budgetary data. The U.S. is set to spend over $730 billion on its military this year and it’s joined above the 2 percent threshold by Bulgaria (3.25 percent), Greece (2.28 percent), the United Kingdom (2.14 percent), Estonia (2.14 percent), Romania (2.04 percent), Lithuania (2.03 percent), Latvia (2.01 percent) and Poland (2 percent).
Despite the improvement, Trump still isn’t happy with spending levels and before he left for London, he reiterated his views that the U.S. is contributing too much, calling other alliance members “delinquent”. America’s allies fear the president’s stance could pose a threat to NATO’s survival and in September, then National Security Advisor John Bolton said that Trump could take America “full isolationist” if he wins a second term next November. The New York Times has reported on several occasions that Trump has privately stated that he would like to withdraw from NATO.