Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, March 8, 2018

NATO Military Spending

First: Trump's handlers approve:
Trump’s remarks on Nato were met more favourably in Moscow, where Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, agreed with the US president-elect that the alliance was “obsolete”.

The current knock on NATO by Trump, his excuse for planning to gut it, is that other NATO nations have a "free ride" and don't spend what they should on their militaries.

I suspect that lower spending by other nations is not a new problem. But part of the problem in coming up with a comparison is that older data seems to have used GNP as a baseline, while modern data uses GDP.

Having said that, in 1968, the US and the UK spent 5-10% of their GNP on defense, as did Poland and the Soviet Union. Most of the other nations of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact spent 2-5%. (The U.S. spent 9.3% of its GNP on the military, but that was the peak year of the Vietnam War.

In 1995, Greece, France, Holland, Norway, Turkey, Portugal, the U.K and the U.S. spent at or over 2% of GDP on their militaries. By 2004, the list of two-percenters in NATO was Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Romania, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

Trump thinks that the EU is a German tool. Well, no shit. Germany is the strongest economy in the Bloc. And to some extent, that's not a bug, it's a feature. The Germans got to use the rest of Europe as a duty-free market to dump sell their excess production and, in exchange, they tacitly promised to keep the boys in the Wehrmacht Bundeswehr at home.

NATO, similarly, had two objectives. The first was to prevent the USSR for marching to the French Atlantic coast. The second, by committing all of Western Europe to that purpose, was to remove any excuse for German rearmament on a massive scale. A corollary to that was to make peacetime prosperity so attractive to the Germans that there would be little, if any, chance that the militarists would be able to take hold in the German psyche again.

The American nuclear umbrella was critical to that working. Because an attack on a NATO nation was considered to be an attack on the American homeland, an adversary could not be certain that the Americans would not respond to an invasion of NATO with nuclear force. Additionally, the stationing in Europe of a third of a million American troops, together with all of the necessary accoutrements of battle, was a clear statement of American interest in keeping the peace in Europe.

(Everybody, except for a certain French pissant leader in the 1960s, understood that bargain.)

And it worked, for quite a long time. It fell apart when the overt reason for NATO, preventing an invasion, went away when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Things might have worked out. Except the geniuses in NATO (including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) got the idea of admitting countries that, were not only formerly in the Warsaw Pact, but were in the former Soviet Union, as NATO members.

Why this is a problem will be the subject of another post.

1 comment:

3383 said...

The Russian leader says NATO is obsolete?! OMG!!