(PresidentialInsider.com)- Over the weekend, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany would commit to meeting its NATO defense spending by paying 2 percent of its GDP.
For four years, the Trump administration had fought to get Germany to honor its NATO obligations.
In 2018, Trump blasted Germany for making an oil and gas deal with Russia while the US was effectively paying for Germany’s defense against Russia. The former president had said it was unfair to make American taxpayers pay to protect NATO countries that refuse to pony up and pay for their own defense. He demanded that our NATO allies “step it up” and start paying their share “immediately.”
But it took Russia invading Ukraine for Germany to finally “step it up.”
Speaking before the German parliament on Saturday, Scholz announced that “from now on,” Germany would commit more than 2 percent of its GDP to its defense. In addition to that, Germany would make a one-time investment of 100 billion Euros in the German military.
Over the last several years, Germany has increased its defense spending, but it consistently failed to meet its NATO spending obligation of 2 percent. Last year, Germany’s payment to NATO was just 1.53 percent of its GDP.
And in another significant about-face, the German defense ministry announced on Saturday that it would be sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine “as quickly as possible.”
Germany had long maintained that it would not send weapons to any conflict zone. Just the day before the weapons transfer was announced, German officials were still reiterating that they would stick with that policy.
In announcing this change in Germany’s longstanding policy, Chancellor Scholz called Russia’s invasion a threat to “our entire post-war order,” adding, “it is our duty to help Ukraine.”
The German government also announced last weekend that it would be sending 14 armored vehicles and up to 10,000 tons of fuel to Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a joint statement that Ukraine must be able to defend itself after Russia’s “shameless attack,” therefore the German government would provide “urgently needed material.”