NATO chief says Trump's tough talk has added $100 billion in alliance defense spending
The dictionary defines "jawboning" as "the use of public appeals (as by a president) to influence the actions especially of business and labor leaders." Or "an unofficial technique of public and private discussions and arm-twisting, which may work by the implicit threat of future government regulation."
Donald Trump employed jawboning to persuade, arm-twist, and threaten NATO member-states if they didn't raise the level of their spending on defense.
"President Trump has been very clear," Stoltenberg told fill-in host John Roberts. "He is committed to NATO. He stated that clearly just a few days ago and also at the NATO summit in July. But at the same time, he has clearly stated that NATO allies need to invest more. And therefore at the summit in July last year, we agreed to do more to step up – and now we see the results."
In all, Stoltenberg continued, "by the end of next year, NATO allies will add hundred – 100 billion extra U.S. dollars toward defense. So we see some real money and some real results. And we see that the clear message from President Donald Trump is having an impact."
This gave the president a perfect opportunity to gloat:
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, just stated that because of me NATO has been able to raise far more money than ever before from its members after many years of decline. It’s called burden sharing. Also, more united. Dems & Fake News like to portray the opposite!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2019
Nitpickers like me would point out he might have gone about it a little differently – perhaps in less brutal language. And the president exaggerates when he claims NATO is "more united" – the alliance hasn't been united since the end of the Cold War, as witnessed by the uneven contributions of NATO member-states to military operations in Afghanistan and a reluctance to confront Russia in eastern Ukraine.
But credit where credit is due. Trump accomplished more with a few withering blasts about NATO's defense obligations than President Obama did in eight years of gentle pleading.
The results are what counts. NATO needs the U.S. more than we need NATO, and for all their criticisms about U.S. interventions around the world, the bottom line is that NATO member-states would be forced to spend a lot more on defense if the U.S. took a hike.
So kudos to the president for a job well done.