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US demands Nato countries ramp up spending on war

UNITED States Defence Secretary James Mattis and Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg pressed other members of the cold-war alliance today to ramp up their spending on armaments.

Mr Mattis was in Brussels to meet the defence ministers of Nato countries, 15 of which have submitted plans to increase their military spending to 2 per cent of economic output by 2024.

That followed a threat by US President Donald Trump to withdraw support from those countries judged not to be spending enough on war.

Last year, Nato countries increased their arms spending by an estimated 4.3 per cent, the biggest rise since at least 2010.

US military spending far outstrips that of all other Nato states, being more than 3.5 per cent of the size of its economy.

The next biggest spender is Greece, which blows 2.32 per cent of GDP on its military, despite its welfare state, pensions and people’s wages all being devastated by years of European Union-imposed austerity measures.

Britain, Estonia, Romania and Poland met the target last year — and the governments of each have all implemented savage austerity policies in the past decade.

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