Donald Trump has demanded that Nato members spend four percent of their GDP on defence. He is proposing a doubling of the current Nato target of two percent.
This is, obviously, a negotiating tactic: even the US doesn’t, currently, hit this 4 percent mark. I suspect that Trump’s real aim is to highlight how few Nato countries meet the two percent target, apart from the US only four others do. He would also like European countries to spend more so that the US can reduce its military commitments in Europe.
But the way in which his request was presented, on a day in which he once again took a swipe at Germany, will do nothing to ease fears about his real intentions towards Nato. The problem, though, is that those Nato members who have consistently failed to meet the 2 percent target have laid themselves open to this attack from Trump.
In UK terms, I suspect that Trump’s call will increase the pressure for a significant boost to the defence budget in October’s spending review. The case will be made that for the good of the alliance, the UK mustn’t just scrape past the two percent mark but comfortably surpass it.