The US President complained late last year that US military spending was crazily high, but the fiscal 2020 military budget due to be presented to Congress on Monday amounts to $750 billion, a record level. China Daily reporter Wu Yixue comments:
To finance the colossal military spending of the United States, the US administration is resorting to all possible means. According to media reports, it is studying a plan that would require US allies to pay 100 percent for US troops stationed in their territories, plus 50 percent more as “membership fees”.
US allies such as the Republic of Korea, Japan and Germany have all responded fiercely to such a requirement. On Friday, the ROK signed an accord with the US, agreeing to increase its funding for the 28,500 US soldiers stationed in the ROK by 8.2 percent. But Yonhap News Agency is concerned that after the accord expires in a year, Washington may ask for more from Seoul.
Japan’s Jiji Press claimed that in so doing, the US is seeking to maintain a strong military and a responsive military strategic deployment in the world. Such a requirement, it said, is essentially a move to use allies’ money to finance the US’ outstretched military presence. The Japanese government has suffered fiscal deficits year after year, and it is impossible for it to afford such a high military expenditure for US troops.
In fact, the Japanese government is already in hot water over the relocation of a US military airfield in Japan and would definitely encounter strong domestic objections if it again uses taxpayers’ money to fund US troops in Japan.
But a German news TV report said that the US has already issued trade threats to its allies, such as threatening to impose a 25 percent tariff on cars imported from Germany and other exporters. Now, the US, it said, is once again taking actions militarily targeted at allies also under the “America first” mindset. US troops stationed overseas actually represent the interests of the US itself in the world.
If the US counts every cent, its allies will probably turn away, since Washington is not doing a service to other countries given that military bases overseas are a critical part of protecting US interests across the world. If the US insists on receiving a “protection fee” for its European allies, NATO will likely move toward division.
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