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Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Coastal Carolina University before the South Carolina Republican primary in Conway, South Carolina, on Feb. 10, 2024.

REUTERS/Sam Wolfe/File Photo

Trump's censure of defense spending “delinquents” triggers public backlash

Donald Trump can make his own claims to transforming the world beyond America’s borders – though whether it is by design, only he knows.

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination made news last month when he said he would not necessarily protect NATO countries that did not hit spending targets.

He said he was asked by the leader of a “delinquent” nation whether he would protect them from Russian invasion, even if they did not meet NATO’s spending target of 2% of GDP. He said he replied: “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them (the Russians) to do whatever the hell they want.”

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Trump standing in front of a sign and a rollercoaster surrounded my military personnel and supplies.

Jess Frampton

NATO’s Trump problem

Former president and likely Republican nominee Donald Trump caused a ruckus across the pond over the weekend when he said that he would encourage Russia to attack any NATO member falling short on their defense spending goals (2% of GDP or more). Predictably, this got America’s European allies, most of whom were already pretty agitated about the prospect of a second Trump presidency, decidedly panicky.

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A man administers the cholera vaccine to a child at a temporary cholera treatment center set up to deal with the latest deadly cholera outbreak in Lusaka, Zambia.

REUTERS/Namukolo Siyumbwa

HARD NUMBERS: New cholera epidemic emerges, House impeaches Mayorkas, US inflation disappoints, Global military spending soars, Oil spill “blackens” Caribbean coastline

4,000: The worst outbreak of cholera in a decade has already claimed at least 4,000 lives in half a dozen countries of central and southern Africa. Experts say the resurgence of the waterborne illness is due to wetter weather, vaccine shortages, and underinvestment in water and sewage infrastructure.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Who's spending more/less on defense?

Global military expenditure rose by 3.7% in 2022, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The rise was driven by increased spending in Europe in response to Russia's war in Ukraine and by some Asian countries, such as Japan, to counter China's growing military muscle.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and daughter Kim Ju Ae attend a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via REUTERS.

What We're Watching: Parade in Pyongyang, Lula in DC, China balloon capabilities

North Korea shows off ICBMs and ... a 10-year-old girl

North Korea's supreme leader made a big splash to mark the 75th anniversary of the army on Thursday by showing off his shiny new toys and — maybe — his heir. At a huge military parade in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un beamed as he saluted a whopping 11 nuclear-armed ICBMs capable of reaching the US mainland, the largest number the regime has ever assembled in public, just two months after he demanded an "exponential increase" in the country's arsenal of nukes. Because each projectile has multiple nuclear warheads, a flurry could overwhelm US air defenses. What's more, the army also displayed a mockup of a new solid-fueled ICBM, which theoretically would be easier and faster to launch. But what really caught the attention of North Korea watchers was the presence beside the supreme leader of Kim Ju Ae, his 10-year-old daughter. The young girl, believed to be Kim's second child, met North Korea's top brass on Wednesday and has been seen five times alongside her dad in just two months, fueling speculation that Kim might someday pick her as his successor. That would be a tectonic shift for North Korea, not because of her age — after all, her father grew up around generals — but due to the country's deeply patriarchal society. Still, what matters more than gender is being a Kim, and right now the country's second most powerful person is Kim Yo Jong, the supreme leader's famously feisty sister.

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who spends the most on the military?

The Graphic Truth: Who spends the most on the military?

Russian President Vladimir Putin upped the ante this week by announcing a partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists to Ukraine. (For context: Russia invaded Ukraine in February with 150,000 troops.) This development, analysts say, is one of the surest signs to date that Putin’s war is flailing. In fact, since the beginning of the war, observers have been stunned by the ineptitude and ill-preparedness of the Russian military considering that almost 11% of the Kremlin’s total budget goes towards military expenditure. How does Russia’s military investment – and active military personnel count – compare to other G20 nations? We take a look.

This article comes to you from the Signal newsletter team of GZERO Media, a subsidiary of Eurasia Group that offers balanced, nonpartisan reporting, and analysis of foreign affairs.

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