Archive for the ‘Defense spending’ Category

More: Is Europe toast?

March 23, 2022

In 2018, Trump tried to warn NATO members …
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But, it took Putin’s Ukraine invasion to force a long overdue realization that reality bites.

As we posted yesterday:

Western European NATO nations have dug themselves into two very deep holes.

First, they have green-thought themselves into energy dependence on Russia … largely by declaring nuclear and non-Russian fossil fuels to be existential threats.

Second, they have de-prioritized security and grossly underspent on their own defense … apparently assuming that Putin’s Russia and China were just misunderstood nice guys … and that, worst case, the U.S. would swoop in and save them (again).

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Regarding the European energy hole, we channeled the WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel who opined that “Putin’s shocking violence in Ukraine — his willingness to wield energy as a weapon — sobered the Continent overnight”  … and optimistically pointed out that several European nations are already taking decisive remedial steps to minimize their Russian-energy dependence.

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Today, let’s look at the European security & defense hole

From the get-go, Trump chastised NATO nations for underspending on defense — if effect, shifting their responsibility to the U.S. and he threatened to withdraw the U.S. from NATO if other member nations didn’t increase their defense spending to at least 2% of their GDP.

At a NATO summit in 2018, Trump literally doubled down on his criticism of defense spending among NATO members by upping the target for defense spending to 4% of GDP.

At the time, left-leaning analysts and European leaders dismissed Trump’s 4% defense spending targets because he did not indicate specifically how the money would be spent or why such a massive increase in defense spending was needed. Brookings

I guess that Putin’s Ukraine invasion summarily and conclusively answers the “why” question.

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The most important current question is how the European nations will now act to fill their conspicuous security & defense hole.

According to the WSJ:

European NATO allies and Canada have increased defense spending, but many still don’t hit NATO’s commitment to contribute 2% of gross domestic product to defense.

The good news :

European Union heads of state or government said in a March 11 declaration that “we must resolutely invest more and better in defence capabilities.”

The leaders vowed to “increase substantially defence expenditures” and “invest further in the capabilities necessary to conduct the full range of missions.”

More specifically:

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and its most notorious defense free rider, has pledged to meet its 2%  commitment … starting with an immediate €100 billion down payment.

Smaller countries are stepping up too. Poland, which already meets the NATO target, recently passed a law increasing defense spending to at least 3% of GDP in 2023.

Frontline nations Romania, Latvia and Lithuania have publicly set clear goals or passed legislation to boost.

Better late than never … but they’d better get hopping … Putin is on his way west.

Given the turn of events, Trump has every right to say “I told you so”.

Why don’t Europeans want to protect themselves more?

March 24, 2016

Once the horror of Brussels sank in, some pundits observed how unprepared Belgium seemed to be … and some pointed to Europeans minimal spending on intelligence, defense, and homeland security (their homelands not our’s).

That prompted me to finally read the Atlantic article on the “Obama Doctrine”.

I thought the article would just make me chuckle …  turned out that I found myself agreeing with some of Obama’s basic tenets …. and it helped explain why Europeans don’t want to protect themselves more.

Obama complains privately to friends and advisers that America’s allies in the Middle East are frustrating, high-maintenance countries,  that seek to exploit American “muscle” for their own narrow and sectarian ends.

“Free riders aggravate me. Europeans and the Arab states want to hold our coats while we do all the fighting.”

Recently, Obama warned that Great Britain would no longer be able to claim a “special relationship” with the United States if it did not commit to spending at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense. “You have to pay your fair share,” Obama told David Cameron.

Given its proximity to Libya, Obama expected the UK to step-up and take a lead role there. But, in a stunning development, the British Parliament denied David Cameron its blessing for an attack. John Kerry’s reaction: “Oops.”

Let’s look at some numbers ….

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True, the UK is only spending about 2% on defense (after all, it has to support its universal healthcare system) … but, it’s looks downright militaristic when compared to its European cronies.  Look down the list to find Belgium.

Let’s cut the numbers a couple of more ways …

(more…)


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