President Donald Trump thinks that Germany hasn't been paying its share of NATO funds. Specifically, they aren't contribuiting enough to the NATO defense fund. And so, when German chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House, Trump actually printed out and handed her an invoice for $374 bil, which included interest charges for late payments.
Anyone who is complaining about how inappropriate and insulting this is overlooks a much bigger problem -- Trump is flat out wrong. Germany doesn't owe the NATO defense fund anything. Allow me to prove it.
The NATO charter does not establish a general defense fund that everyone kicks into. Instead, it recommends countries spend at least a certain amount on defense. This means each country is still in charge of their own defense, so all authority, equipment, and MONEY stays within each country, there is no NATO defense. Also notice I said it "recommends." Countries are not required to spend anything on defense, it is strictly voluntary. If a country finds itself behind the 8 ball, they can adjust the money accordingly.
So what is the recommended amount NATO suggests everyone spend on defense? It is currently 2% of a country's GDP. And like I said, that is a suggested amount, no one is required to do it. Only the US, Britain, Estonia, Greece, and Poland (shoutout to my peeps in the homeland) spend above 2% -- the US spends roughly 3.61%. Germany spends about 1.2%.
So basically, the invoice is worthless because, according to the NATO charter, Germany doesn't owe the money to NATO, but to itself. Not only that, but the invoice is worthless because no one is required to pay anything for their own defense, Germany is simply spending 0.8% less than recommended. The head of a NATO charter nation, who has the launch codes, didn't bother to look at how the financing works, and instead created a scene.
Trump is wrong. Class dismissed.