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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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March 11, 2019

     It's about time countries paid for US protection. In private discussions with his aides, President Donald Trump has devised an eye-popping formula to address one of his long-standing complaints: that allies hosting U.S. forces don't pay Washington enough money.

     Under the formula, countries would pay the full cost of stationing American troops on their territory, plus 50 percent more, said U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the idea, which could have allies contributing five times what they provide.

     Rumors that the formula could become a global standard have especially rattled Germany, Japan and South Korea, which host thousands of forces, and U.S. officials have mentioned the demand to at least one country in a formal negotiation setting, said people familiar with the matter.

     Trump has long complained that U.S. and NATO allies freeload on U.S. military protection, but the cost-plus-50 formula has only gained traction in recent months, said current and former U.S. officials, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.

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