Soldiers take part in the NATO military exercise “Iron Sword 2016” at a training range in Pabrade, Lithuania.
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One of the European Union's toughest leaders – and a karate black belt to boot – she knows that power these days needs real military hardware to back it up. With an increasingly bellicose Russia on its doorstep and a capricious ally in U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, the rest of the EU is forced to acknowledge as much too.Europe used to be good at influencing people and nations without toting a gun. Far from Lithuania's icy roads, where the exercise involving 4,000 allied troops from 11 nations sought to impress nearby Russia, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stressed the need for a stronger defense posture before EU legislators earlier this month.It called into question the vaunted Article 5 of the alliance treaty, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all, and that the target would automatically receive help and assistance.Decades ago, the EU was already seeking to coordinate defense industries, to little avail.While the United States spends 3.61 percent on defense, only four of the EU's 22 NATO members meet the target.Belgium continues to spend less and less on defense and currently stands in NATO's second-worst spot with 0.85 percent.Lithuania's Grybauskaite wants to be able to look Trump straight in the eye.
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