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Truth deficit


To the editor:

Once again, Donald Trump is telling his followers that, under a second term, the U.S. will not defend NATO nations that “don’t pay their bills.” I’m not sure whether Trump understands how NATO works, but from the rally cheers that statement arouses it is clear that his supporters don’t.

As usual, Trump is misleading; NATO nations don’t “pay bills.” NATO isn’t a Trump country club with member dues or a poker game that requires players ante up. When Russia illegally annexed Crimea, NATO countries agreed to spend 2 percent of their country’s GDP on their own national defense, with 20 percent of that total on military equipment. At the time, only three countries meet that standard; the U.S. spends 3.5 percent of GDP on our military.

What Trump implies to his followers is that the U.S. sends money to NATO or covers the 2 percent shortfalls. Neither is true. NATO “costs” the U.S. nothing; we spend 3.5 percent of our GDP on ourselves, because we want to. 

There is an ally who we do pay for — Israel. Even before the Oct. 7 attack, we provided roughly $3 billion annually to Israel’s defense, the most of any other nation. Since its founding, the U.S. has provided Israel with over a quarter trillion dollars. Should we let Iran “do whatever the hell they want to” Israel since they never pay us back?

Joseph Cannisi


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