Vice President Pence went to Brussels on Monday to throw down the gauntlet. The United States expects NATO members to spend more on their military. And the U.S. defense industry, of course, is open for business.
NATO members promised in 2014 to spend two percent of GDP on defense. So far, only the U.S., Greece, the U.K., Estonia and Poland meet that goal (per Wikipedia).
Pence minced no words, according to remarks published by the Washington Examiner. “The president of the United States and the American people expect our allies to keep their word and to do more in our common defense, and the president expects real progress by the end of 2017.”
“It is time for actions, not words,” Pence added. “And if you don’t have a plan, get one.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg offered no resistance.
I fully support what has been underlined by President Trump and by Vice President Pence today, the importance of burden sharing, I expect all allies to make good on the promise that we made in 2014 to increase defense spending and to make sure to have a fairer burden of sharing.
Could U.S. defense businesses profit from Trump’s “fair share” policy? It’s very possible. For example, Spain would need to spend an additional $16 billion to fulfill its NATO promise. Spain maintains 86 F/A 18 Hornets, along with its Eurofighters Typhoons. The Hornets are aging and could be replaced by Super Hornets–at $98 million a pop.
And then there’s Canada, which also has the misfortune of being a signatory to NAFTA. Another $17 billion from our closest ally would be a nice feather in Trump’s cap.
The NATO “fair share” idea has been an issue since well before Trump, but in taking it beyond words, the president has made it known that American defense industry is open for business. And with over 20 NATO countries committed to spend billions more, it can’t help but benefit U.S. companies.
The defense industry is well aware of this. Boeing stock has increased 23.6 percent since the election. It’s now the highest it’s ever been. Lockheed Martin is also at a near-all-time high; the day after Trump’s election it soared by 11.7 percent and never looked back.
For all Trump’s bluster, the message “spend more!” is being more well received by NATO than the hand-wringers predicted. It’s good for global security in the age of ISIS, and it’s good for America.