On the first day of the NATO summit in Belgium, President Trump criticized allies for not spending enough of their GDP on their defense and pressed the countries to increase their military spending from 2 percent to 4 percent. The demand, if met, would majorly affect San Diego.
While San Diego is a military town, and spending increases benefit our area, Gilbert Field of the San Diego Veterans for Peace says The United States is spending too much on defense.
Increasing each NATO country's defense spending to four percent would involve raising the United States' budget by a third as well, he adds. “To constantly be increasing the defense spending because somebody somewhere might be attacking us someday is crazy,” he tells NBC 7.
He says the U.S. is trillions of dollars in debt and can’t afford it.
“Increases in spending and defense is always going to be great for San Diego, Field admitted, “but if you can't afford it and you're putting it on the credit card, it's bad for everyone in the country, including San Diego,” Field said.
The United States spends 3.1 percent of our GDP or $650 billion on defense. “Russia spends $69 billion for their defense. NATO, including the U.S., spends almost $900 billion for their combined defense expense, so if we're worried about Russia with $69 billion in defense, Russia has half of the GDP of California. In a sense Trump ought to be more worried more about California than Russia,” Field adds facetiously.
He also says China spends a fraction of what we do on defense.
Trump's comments drew some concern on Capitol Hill today where both the Senate and the House passed resolutions certifying the United States’ support of the NATO alliance. Some lawmakers are worried his remarks could potentially destabilize what's been the bedrock of American foreign policy in the post-war era.
Despite his rebukes of our allies, the president did ultimately back an agreement that reaffirmed the strength of the NATO alliance.