NATO should kick out underpaying members – US senator

Aprilia Rine

NATO should kick out underpaying members – US senator
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Senator Lindsey Graham has agreed with former president Donald Trump’s recent statements

US Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed the expulsion of countries from the US-led military bloc if their defense budget does not meet the bloc’s spending criteria, echoing a series of controversial statements recently voiced by former president Donald Trump.

NATO investment guidelines stipulate that the member states should commit to at least 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which according to Graham, is not followed by 19 out of 31 members. Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, Graham said that he agrees with Trump, who insists that all “NATO nations” should pay “their bills” or otherwise have the military protection withheld.

“President Trump is right to want NATO nations to meet their obligation of 2 percent. We need to turn it into an obligation that means something,” the lawmaker said, adding that he wants “a system where, if you don’t pay, you get kicked out.”

“I’m a big fan of NATO. But there’s $70 billion to $80 billion left on the table. If you’re in NATO, pay the 2 percent,” he explained.

Donald Trump, who is currently in the lead for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of November’s vote, has been an ardent critic of the US-led military bloc calling it “obsolete” and arguing that the member states “laugh at the stupidity of the United States” for pulling the weight when it comes to spending on Ukraine. Last week he said that he would not defend “delinquent” NATO members and would “encourage” Russia to attack the nations that do not pay up. 

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