Republican Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida shredded Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Wednesday over what he called a “pathetic” lack of “burden sharing” by NATO allies.
“The EU economies together are the same size as the — as the American economy, right? I mean they’re roughly the same size. So do you think it’s fair for them to question whether this — for the American people to question whether this is true burden-sharing, number one?” Waltz, a former Green Beret and children’s book author, asked Austin during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee. (RELATED: Senate Approves Sweden And Finland Entry To NATO)
“And number two, how many countries now have lived up to their 2% commitment, despite years and years of engagement?” Waltz continued. “How many out of the 30 NATO countries have lived up to their 2% GDP?”
Greece, the United States, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Croatia were the only countries whose defense budget exceeded 2% of gross domestic product (GDP), while the Slovak Republic spent exactly 2% of GDP, according to a report released by NATO June 27. NATO invited Sweden and Finland to join the mutual-defense organization June 29, following the Feb. 24, 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, and those countries were not included in the report.
“It’s seven. Seven out of 30. That’s pathetic,” Waltz responded after Austin said he lacked current figures. “So, I think it’s reasonable for the American taxpayer to be sick and tired of subsidizing European social spending.”
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