American presidents have long pressed their NATO counterparts to increase military spending. But Mr. Trump’s insistence that the other nations owe money misstates how the alliance works, and the figures he cites are misleading.
(Our reporters fact-checked the president’s claims on the financial relationship between the United States and other NATO countries.)
NATO has a budget to cover shared costs and some equipment used in joint operations, and all 29 member countries contribute to it. None of the allies has failed to pay its contribution.
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Mr. Trump’s complaint is that, while NATO member countries have agreed to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic products on military spending, most do not. But none has violated that agreement, because the 2 percent figure is a target to be reached by