NATO Slow In Getting Off Peace Dividend
We saw the news yesterday, talking heads were horrified that Trump dared to speak with world leaders like he did yesterday, but did he have a point? We saw the backlash, but was Trump correct to question why Germany was spending billions on Russian energy, then demanding the US protect them with our billion spent on the military while they refuse to increase spending on their military, but expect us to come to their rescue? Has NATO taken this peace dividend too far, are they paying their fair share?
During the cold war, NATO stood as a force of 5,252,800 to counter what the Warsaw pact had arrayed against them. After the cold war NATO reduced their troop size to what it is now, around 4 million, but of those troops, the US is still the with the largest troop size with a little over 2.5 million if you add in the regular army along with reserves and the national guard.
This means if you look at the total force America along makes up about 45% of NATO forces, they are thus dependent on the US to get troops to Europe to fight an incursion into the treaty states, something they know they will have to have their forces with rapid reaction forces from the US holding the line until the US can get their regular troops to the field, which could take two weeks to a month, depending on what size is called up.
Here lies the problem, what Europe is demanding is to use the peace dividend to increase their social programs, they want the US to keep up their spending on their military to aid in Europe’s protection, while they have slacked on their investments. Many times when people love to point at European nations and their great social programs, I tell them, “We are the ones paying for it, they are using their military savings to pay for this while expecting us to pick up the tab for their protection.”
Germany is one of the most significant examples of this. While the US pays over 3.61% of our GDP on military spending, they spend around 1.24% of their GDP, the German military, once one of the most significant forces during the Cold War, the only land armies larger was the US now are just a shadow of what they once were.
Of the other nations: Greece is second, with 2.36 percent; Britain with 2.12 percent: and Estonia with 2.08 percent, countries like Poland are increasing their spending so they will reach this mark, France is increasing expenditures as well, so is Spain, all these nations should be at 2% or higher this year.
Nations like Canada, Turkey, Demark, and Belgium are having not even close to the 2% mark, Eastern European countries are at the threshold of meeting this, or could be past the 2% also by the end of this year, this would nations like Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania, while struggling economically are still very close or will be passing the 2% agreed to by the end of this year.
Where there is a problem is as I said, we are expected to contribute the lions share not only in the budget of NATO but also to invest the majority of the money into the operational cost. European nations have come to expect that this will continue, and it shouldn’t, I sure don’t see, nor would I trust many of these nations come to the US’s aid if we were ever invaded, while we know some would, I promise others would drop out before they would contribute to such a thing.
Trump is correct with this; we need to demand equal sharing, if we are required to contribute a percentage of troops, other nations need to do the same. If this cuts back some of their domestic programs, to be frank, it is not our problem, if we aren’t able to to do the same for our people due to our military commitments, then don’t expect sympathy when you are not able to take a month off a year, only work 4 day weeks, and have much of your living expenses supplemented by the government.