Trump demands NATO spend more or face shifts in US military

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(CNN) — President Donald Trump is demanding that Norway spend more money on defense spending as a NATO partner, he wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Erna Solberg that was obtained by CNN.

The letter was one of a series that Trump send to NATO allies, including Germany, Belgium, Canada and others, demanding they boost spending and threatening to shift the US military presence in Europe if they do not. The letters were first reported in The New York Times on Monday.

The letters fit a pattern of Trump critiques of NATO, particularly of defense spending by other members. NATO members committed to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on national defense at a 2014 summit in Wales, and Trump has repeatedly bemoaned that NATO allies have not fulfilled this commitment.

In the letter to Solberg, Trump writes, “Norway is the ‘eyes and ears’ of the northern flank” of NATO yet “remains the only NATO Ally sharing a border with Russia that lacks a credible plan to spend 2 percent of its domestic product on defense.”

Trump writes, “I understand domestic political pressures, as I myself have expended considerable political capital to increase our own defense spending.”

He asked for a “strong recommitment by Norway” to meet agreed-upon goals.

The White House declined to comment on presidential correspondence, but a National Security Council spokesman told CNN, “The President is committed to the alliance, as he has stated repeatedly. The President has also been clear we expect our allies to shoulder their fair share of our common defense burden and to do more in areas that most affect them. There is no better way to signal NATO’s resolve than for every ally to allocate the resources necessary to share their burden of our collective defense.”

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