Having drastically increased the Pentagon budget and demanded more spending by NATO, US President Donald Trump is now seriously (?) complaining that all that money could be better spent elsewhere.
Trump lamented the levels of US, Chinese and Russian military spending at a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House on Thursday, part of the ongoing talks to resolve the trade war between Washington and Beijing.
“As you know China is spending a lot of money on military, so are we, so is Russia and those three countries I think can come together and stop the spending and spend on things that maybe are more productive toward long-term peace,” Trump said.
“I think it’s much better if we all got together and we didn’t make these weapons.”
Such a proposal is indeed rich, coming from a president who raised the Pentagon budget to over $700 billion his first year in office, and hopes for a $718 billion or more in 2020 – more than the next 12 countries combined.
Trump has repeatedly hammered NATO allies over their reluctance to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on their military, including purchases of US weapons systems. He also reportedly pushed for allies to pay the full cost of US troops based on their territory, as well as an additional percentage based on whether their policies “align closely” with Washington.
China’s 2019 military budget was estimated at $224 billion, and Russia’s was far more modest at $44 billion. Meanwhile, the US national debt has surpassed $22 trillion and is continuing to rise.