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.
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 2024.
According to NATO, all members have significantly raised military spending since 2014, and eight are expected to meet the goal this year.
Mr. Trump tweeted on Monday that the United States accounted for 90 percent of military spending by NATO countries, but the alliance says the real figure is about 67 percent. And most American military spending is not NATO-related.
Even so, the organization says on its website, “There is an overreliance by the alliance as a