Can US bully NATO?

Questions over whether UK is paying its way on defence

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NATO: Is UK paying its way?

President Donald Trump has questioned the future of the 67-year-old alliance that is NATO, calling it “obsolete.”

He has accused European nations of not paying their fair share to support NATO operations and that the alliance has not been used effectively to fight terrorism. Subsequently, he's threatening to withdraw support.

Britain was thought to be the only G20 country other than the United States to meet a target promise to spend 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product on defence.

However, this week, The Telegraph reports that a row has broken out over defence spending after a respected think tank said the Government was breaking its promise on spending on the military budget.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said Britain’s defence spending had dipped below the NATO benchmark figure, despite the government vowing to meet the target.

According to the latest edition of The Military Balance, only two member nations met NATO’s 2% defence-spending target in 2016, with the UK’s commitment notably dipping to 1.98%.

The analysis comes after Theresa May had boasted to Donald Trump of Britain’s military spending and lectured Britain’s European allies to spend more.

The Ministry of Defence rejected the figures, saying the think tank had got its sums wrong and NATO's own figures put the spending share at 2.21 per cent.

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