The issue

NATO countries are supposed to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.

The facts

The NATO agreement to have member countries fund their own military with 2% of GDP is in place so that each country can defend itself without relying too much on other members — but of 28 NATO members, only five meet this requirement.

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Data: Defence Expenditures of NATO Countries (2009-2016), Diplomacy Division; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Romania pledged an increase in defense spending that is expected to bring it above 2%. Poland, which already meets the 2% line, pledged in October to increase the country's defense spending to at least 2.5% of GDP. NATO expects Latvia to meet the threshold by next year. Denmark expects to increase its spending to 1.3% of its GDP by 2023. Hungary expects to meet the 2% threshold by 2026. Canada is set to increase its defense budget to 1.4% by 2025. Slovenia said this year it would start increasing defense spending for the first time since 2010.

Why it matters

Donald Trump has criticized NATO as being "obsolete," though since becoming president he's softened his tone. Defense Secretary Mattis on his first trip to Europe warned NATO countries to meet their defense spending goals or the U.S. might "moderate its commitment" to the alliance.

Go deeper

Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
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  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
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Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.