NATO Budgets Fall Short of Expectations Once Again

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NATOs Secretary general has announced a renewed push to get all Allies to meet the 2% of GDP defense spending budget goal reports Reuters. Since the end of the Cold War and despite the 20 year War on Terror, NATO militaries have by and large failed to meet their defense obligations, relying instead on the US military to deter and protect the continent.

This “free-rider” problem in large part explains the generous social benefits that European countries can afford, while America struggles to modernize infrastructure and solve problems like the Southern Border. President Donald Trump made the 2% rule a major part of his NATO policy, targeting Germany in particular for its minuscule spending all the while being the biggest economy on the continent and relying on Russian gas to fuel it.

The war in Ukraine has shown great weaknesses in European military readiness and defense industry, with already low armament and munition stocks being diverted to the Ukrainian war effort. Poland is a notable exception, jumpstarting its military spending and expected to be one of the top military powers in Europe despite its modest economy. It remains to be seen if other NATO countries will be able to grow their defense spending without added pressure form the United States as was case under President Trump.


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