Heading to G20, Trump Once Again Assails America’s Friends

The treaty has been updated since. Among those who signed the 1960 version of the treaty were Douglas MacArthur II, the United States ambassador to Japan and nephew of the famed general, and Nobusuke Kishi, the prime minister and Mr. Abe’s grandfather.

In Tokyo, Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary and the government’s top spokesman, on Thursday rejected assertions that the treaty was unfair. “The obligations of the United States and Japan” are “balanced between both countries,” he said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

After assailing the treaty with Japan, Mr. Trump went on to repeat what has become a perennial attack on Ms. Merkel’s Germany. “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO,” he said. “People don’t know that. We pay for close to that because Germany doesn’t pay what they’re supposed to pay, and out of the 28 countries, seven are paid up.”

As he has consistently done since taking office, Mr. Trump mischaracterized how NATO works and gave a false number about America’s share of the financial burden. NATO has a budget to cover common civilian and military costs, and the United States pays 22 percent of that, according to a formula based on national income. None of the NATO allies are in arrears on their contributions.

What Mr. Trump was referring to was a commitment by NATO allies to each spend 2 percent of their national economies on their own armed forces by 2024. He was correct that only seven countries meet that goal — the United States with 3.4 percent, along with Greece, Estonia, Britain, Romania, Poland and Latvia — and Germany spends only 1.4 percent on defense. But neither Germany nor any of the others are obliged to “pay up” to anyone other their own militaries.

Collectively, estimated defense spending by all NATO members in 2019 comes to $1 trillion, according to an update issued this week. Defense spending by the United States represents 70 percent of that total, not 100 percent, and even that includes American spending on forces deployed in the Pacific or the Middle East, not just those committed to defending Europe.

Mr. Trump’s attack on Mr. Modi concerned not security but another of the president’s favorite topics, tariffs.