Stoltenberg to Biden: Allies Boost Spending, Maybe You Should Too?

Alexandros Michailidis /
Alexandros Michailidis /

Well, it seems NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has finally coaxed some dollars out of our European allies. Stoltenberg recently announced a significant 18% increase in defense spending among Canada and European NATO members, the most crucial boost we’ve seen in decades. But let’s not forget—it took the threat of Russian aggression to make them open their wallets.

Stoltenberg met with President Joe Biden in Washington on June 17, proudly declaring that over 20 of the 32 member nations have now committed to their 2% defense spending goal. Biden quickly pat himself on the back, claiming credit for doubling the number of countries meeting this target since he took office. Sure, Biden, you can take the credit, but Trump shook the tree hard enough to get those apples to fall.

Remember, before Russia invaded Ukraine, only six nations were meeting their defense spending commitments. Trump was relentless in his criticism of NATO’s freeloaders and even threatened to withdraw U.S. support if they didn’t pay their fair share. It seems like that strict love approach has finally paid off.

After the bilateral meeting, Stoltenberg discussed the upcoming NATO Summit, which will celebrate the alliance’s 75th anniversary. He emphasized that this milestone would see decisions on ramping up defense spending and bolstering support for Ukraine. Stoltenberg and Biden complimented each other for their efforts in strengthening NATO and aiding Ukraine. But let’s not kid ourselves—without Trump’s pressure, we might still be footing most of the bill.

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby chimed in, reaffirming the U.S.’s unwavering commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. That means an attack on one NATO nation is considered an attack on all. Biden’s administration wants to ensure everyone knows that the U.S. is still the backbone of NATO.

Stoltenberg expects Canada and European allies to pay more funds for Ukraine at the summit. He envisions NATO providing security assistance and military training for Ukraine, managed by a high-ranking general and headquartered at a U.S. facility in Germany. Hundreds of personnel will be involved in organizing and facilitating this aid.

Stoltenberg also aims to streamline Ukraine’s path to NATO membership, arguing that this will ensure a definitive end to the war. He praised the G7’s move to use frozen Russian assets to fund loans for Ukraine while rejecting Putin’s so-called ceasefire offer, which demanded Ukraine’s withdrawal from its territories and abandonment of NATO aspirations. Stoltenberg rightly called this a sham.

As Stoltenberg continues his North American tour, he’s set to meet with key U.S. and Canadian officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He’ll also chat with influential U.S. senators and representatives, ensuring that the message of NATO’s renewed commitment is heard loud and clear.

Ultimately, it’s good to see our allies stepping up, even if it took a global crisis to get there. The real question is, will they keep up the momentum or slip back into old habits once the immediate threat fades? Only time will tell.