As the United States continues to send billions of dollars in cash and military equipment to Ukraine while exceeding its obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, most member nations are unwilling or unable to meet the standard of providing 2% of their respective gross national product to the multinational alliance.
Only seven of the member countries achieved that goal last year.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for example, has reportedly admitted that his nation will likely never meet that standard.
During a recent podcast interview, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) took America’s northern neighbor to task over its status as a NATO “free rider.”
He called Canada “one of the biggest laggards” in the alliance, lamenting Canada’s dwindling influence in the decades since World War II.
“The Canadians landed on Juno Beach,” Sullivan said. “Did an incredible job. But right now, they’re not doing a good job with regards to their obligations in NATO.”
Noting that he is “a fan of the Canadians,” he said that it is impossible to ignore the fact that Canada is currently devoting only “a little bit above 1.3%” to NATO at this point.
Sullivan, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, cited a recent Wall Street Journal editorial that expounded on the argument that Canada is receiving the benefits of the Western alliance without the financial investment.
“Canada ranks sixth from NATO’s bottom in spending on defense as a share of GDP, and its spending on military equipment—i.e., weapons—is seventh lowest,” the editorial board wrote. “Canada is a member of the G-7 democracies but spends less on defense than the other six.”
The senator went on to note that the topic of Canada’s insufficient funding was a topic of significant interest during the latest NATO summit.
I introduced an amendment to the MILCON VA Appropriations Act to cut the $73 million increase to the NATO security investment program.
President Trump was right when he called out European nations for not paying their 2% GDP minimums.
We must focus on putting America First,… pic.twitter.com/41qAMBauUJ
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) July 26, 2023
For his part, however, Trudeau has attempted to put a positive spin on his country’s lackluster NATO funding. In a recent statement to one Alaska-based news outlet, he touted Canada’s “massive” investment in the North American Aerospace Defense Command and efforts to increase the nation’s commitment to NATO.
“We’re going to continue to step up in this time of increased concerns around security everywhere around the world,” the prime minister claimed.