Those looking for another reason to love (or hate) Donald Trump have one in his stance on NATO.

Speaking in Wisconsin ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Trump stepped up his attack on NATO calling the network an ““obsolete” defense alliance.

Trump wants the rest of the world to pay its fair share or he would pull the US out of the alliance. I go one step further than Trump.

“Let NATO Go”

The Financial Times reports Trump says US May Have to Let Nato Go.

Donald Trump has stepped up his attack on Nato, saying he would force member nations to leave the transatlantic security organisation unless they contributed more money to what he said was an “obsolete” defence alliance.

The Republican presidential contender has been lambasting Nato since he told the Washington Post recently that he would downgrade the US role in the 28-member alliance, which has formed the cornerstone of the US-European defence relationship for decades.

Speaking in Wisconsin ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday, he went further by saying that Nato’s demise would not be a serious problem.

“Its possible that we’re going to have to let Nato go,” Mr Trump told supporters in Eau Claire. “When we’re paying and nobody else is really paying, a couple of other countries are but nobody else is really paying, you feel like the jerk.”

Mr Trump said that, if elected US president, he would contact many of the other 27 Nato members and put pressure on them to make a larger financial contribution or leave.

“I call up all of those countries . . . and say ‘fellas you haven’t paid for years, give us the money or get the hell out’,” Mr Trump said to loud cheers. “I’d say you’ve gotta pay us or get out. You’re out, out, out . . . Maybe Nato will dissolve, and that’s OK, not the worst thing in the world.”

Addressing a crowd in Wisconsin on Saturday, Mr Trump asserted that the US was paying 73 per cent towards Nato, but figures from the organisation show that Washington contributes 22 per cent of the direct budget, followed by Germany which pays 15 per cent, and France which puts up 11 per cent.

Statistical Lie of the Day

Direct NATO Funding

The “Direct Funding” chart may or may not be correct. But Trump is spot on that the US overpays in many ways for global defense.

Dissolving NATO certainly would not be the “worst thing in the world”.

UK Defense Spending

UK Defense Spending

The Times noted the “commitment last year by the UK to meet the 2 per cent of GDP target for defense spending was an important signal to the rest of Europe.

Between the time the Heritage Foundation created that chart and now, UK defense spending slipped under 2%.

Top Ten Defense Budgets Worldwide

Global Defense Spending

The above chart courtesy of Brookings.

Amusingly the chart shows what would have happened, but didn’t with budget sequestration.

Global Defense Budgets as Percent of GDP

Global Defense Spending2

The Forbes chart shows the US spends 3.5% of GDP, Germany 1.2%, and Canada 1% on military budgets.

Saudi Arabia spends a whopping 10.4% of GDP. Not included in the totals are US military sweetheart deals to Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.

Also not included are defense items the US sweeps under the rug into non-defense categories.

The above chart is still not right given the US is pestering the UK to step up its commitment to 2% of GDP.

Rather than the UK stepping up spending, I have a better idea: The US should emulate Canada, Germany, or Australia.

If the US minded its own business, one to two percent would easily be enough for the US to defend itself. We spend more precisely because we meddle in everyone else’s business, making massive numbers of enemies in the wake.

We cannot afford to be the world’s policeman. Trump has this one nearly correct. His flaw was he did not go far enough.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock.