Contributor Post Created with Sketch. NATO: Alliance or Protectorship?

 

640px-Flag_of_NATO.svgGiven Vladimir Putin’s recent aggressions — to say nothing of the sum of Russian history — one might think former Soviet-bloc states would be arming to the teeth, lest one of their border provinces becomes the next Crimea, South Ossetia, or Abkhazia. But as it so happens, very few of the nations who border Russia spend more than 2% of their GDP on defense (Lithuania and Latvia each spend half that; the United States spends roughly 3.5%*). In many of them, military spending has has actually declined in recent years.

This begs a question: what is the United States doing in alliance with imperiled countries unwilling to even attempt their own defense? The matter is especially jarring when one considers that — despite not sharing a land border with a potentially belligerent nation (not for the past 98 years, at least) — the United States spends more than twice on defense as all other NATO members combined, despite having a GDP 17% smaller than that of its colleagues.

It’s even worse when you consider how few of the dollars spent by our allies could even potentially benefit us. By my counting, only two of our allies have the means and will to reliably deploy large numbers of combat troops overseas to fight alongside ours: the United Kingdom and Australia (who is not a formal NATO member, but who has fought alongside America in every theater since WWI).

A second tier include the Canadians (who are reliable allies and excellent fighters, but whose defense spending has been weak of late) and the French (who are powerful, but who like to go their own way fairly often). In a generous mood, I might include the Italians. Germany’s military expenditures are actually quite large, but the German constitution prohibits military action that is not strictly defensive; the same is currently true of Japan. A few other nations can provide some support here and there: the Poles — bless them — deployed about 200 combat troops to Iraq in 2003 and are increasing their defense spending. South Korea — obviously not a NATO member — has a higher defensive budget than most of our allies, but has shown little interest in deploying them to combat operations overseas since Vietnam. (Israel is an odd exception, as its unique situation makes it difficult to deploy its armed forces, but it’s also busy fighting many of the same foes we face).

It’s unreasonable to expect anything approaching fairness in international relations. The lamentable truth may be that — however unwilling it may be to defend itself — Europe may be worth our defending, both for its own sake and to check Putin. Moreover, one might argue that keeping nations like Germany and Japan de-fanged is a worthy policy goal in itself, as I believe Victor Davis Hansen has.

Regardless, the United States seems to have found itself in a position where it has all the duties of an empire with few of the attenuating benefits. If our citizens are being asked to risk their lives and treasure on behalf of others, isn’t it worth asking our friends to make it worth our while?

* Editor’s Note: The original version of this piece stated the figure was “nearly 5%”; members have persuaded me that this figure is inflated and it has been corrected.

There are 53 comments.

  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    What’s more, by being an empire without admitting it, we lose the key advantage of empire — sway. It’s like the House GOP all over again. “Thanks for the awesome capability. First thing we do is ensure our adversaries have no fear of us whatsoever.”

    Winning!

    • #1
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:07 AM PDT
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  2. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    “It’s unreasonable to expect anything approaching fairness in international relations. The lamentable truth may be that — however unwilling it may be to defend itself — Europe may be worth our defending, both for its own sake and to check Putin. Moreover, one might argue that keeping nations like Germany and Japan de-fanged is a worthy policy goal in itself, as I believe Victor Davis Hansen has.”

    I agree that Europe is worth defending regardless of whether Europeans want to defend themselves, though I would point out that the countries actually threatened by Russia are fairly willing to invest in their own defense (it’s the more longstanding NATO members who have been shirking most). I’m Not sure I agree with Hansen about it being in our interest to keep Japan demilitarized. China is a serious threat and it is in Japan’s interest that China not supplant the United States as the dominant power in the western Pacific. A more capable Japanese military is in our interest (it’s not like their going to invade Korea or march on Singapore again simply because they have a few more ships and aircraft). I really don’t see how German rearmament would pose problems for us either, but I don’t think we’d really benefit from it unless it was accompanied by a shift in German policy toward Russia.

    • #2
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:08 AM PDT
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  3. Canadian Cincinnatus Member

    I must point out that one of the few countries to spend more than 2% GDP on defence is my homeland of Estonia, and this number was before the recent crisis. They have recently upped their military spending.

    • #3
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:09 AM PDT
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  4. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The US inevitably spends more on military because our economy dwarfs others, so a similar percentage leads to greater results. We necessarily spend more because our worldwide interests (trade relationships, diverse citizen ancestry, and non-nationalistic charity) are greater and because the most influential nation will always be the most hated nation.

    I agree that it is sometimes worthwhile to help people who will not help themselves. If we want a nation to chip in more toward its own defense, assuming polite and logical appeals fail, we could begin by publicly shaming them. Bravado often produces results where simple logic or responsibility fail.

    • #4
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:27 AM PDT
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  5. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Salvatore Padula:I’m Not sure I agree with Hansen about it being in our interest to keep Japan demilitarized. China is a serious threat and it is in Japan’s interest that China not supplant the United States as the dominant power in the western Pacific. A more capable Japanese military is in our interest (it’s not like their going to invade Korea or march on Singapore again simply because they have a few more ships and aircraft).

    I’m not sure I agree either, but I thought the argument warranted mention.

    • #5
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:33 AM PDT
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  6. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Aaron Miller:I agree that it is sometimes worthwhile to help people who will not help themselves. If we want a nation to chip in more toward its own defense, assuming polite and logical appeals fail, we could begin by publicly shaming them. Bravado often produces results where simple logic or responsibility fail.

    Additionally, I would consider threatening expulsion (assuming this is legally possible). If you’re not willing to hold-up your side of the bargain, why should the rest of us be obliged to help you?

    As Rob might say, you need skin in the game.

    • #6
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:36 AM PDT
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  7. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Canadian Cincinnatus:I must point out that one of the few countries to spend more than 2% GDP on defence is my homeland of Estonia, and this number was before the recent crisis. They have recently upped their military spending.

    You’ll notice I included the other Baltic states, but not Estonia, who does seem to take its defense seriously and deserves specific mention!

    Vabandust!

    • #7
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:38 AM PDT
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  8. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Europe is so very good at navel gazing precisely because the US has managed its defenses for so long. When you don’t need to be a grown-up, you can design and built adolescent fantasy societies, where everyone is taken care of, womb to the tomb.

    I think the simple solution is also the libertarian one: let Americans and American companies sell military goods and services to allies.

    Czech Republic wants missile defense? Sure! Let them buy it.

    Estonia would like some attack helicopters against potential tank invasion – perhaps even manned by trained professionals? The store should be open for business.

    I really don’t understand why this is not our SOP.

    • #8
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:44 AM PDT
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  9. Eric Hines Inactive

    My own view is that NATO has outlived its usefulness. The major European members aren’t interested, as you’ve pointed out; it’s time to cut those expenses.

    However, eastern Europe is a different matter.

    what is the United States doing in alliance with imperiled countries unwilling to even attempt their own defense?

    That’s not an entirely fair question. If the Baltics were to put every man and woman between the ages of 25 and 54 under arms, they’d only have 3 million soldiers combined. And only 15-25-yr-olds left to run their economies. Russia has 845,000 presently under arms, and 2 million more in their reserves. Those numbers don’t begin to tap the population available. In the face of that, absent powerful allies, the Baltics spending nearly any money at all on a military force beyond ceremonial would seem a waste of money.

    The other nations, excepting Poland and maybe one or two others, of central and eastern Europe are not much better off. All of these nations might be more disposed to arm and resist with force as best they can were they confident of a reliable United States in their corner.

    It seems to me that an East Europe Treaty Organization could be very viable and very valuable. It remains necessary to contain Russia (and the PRC, who will be watching (Japan isn’t as de-fanged as you seem to think, and they’re beginning to take steps to let their fangs deploy)), and an East Wall would serve a number of purposes: proximately, it would help protect our eastern and central European friends, allies, and acquaintances; it would also continue the protection of western Europe, but without the misallocations of forces and resources; and it would be an indication to the PRC that the “pivot” is an abandonment of neither Europe nor Asia.

    Eric Hines

    • #9
    • March 16, 2015, at 10:55 AM PDT
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  10. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    iWc: “I think the simple solution is also the libertarian one: let Americans and American companies sell military goods and services to allies.”

    That would be ideal.

    • #10
    • March 16, 2015, at 11:27 AM PDT
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  11. gts109 Member

    I don’t agree with your last point about America getting the burdens, but not the benefits of empire. I think we get both. We’re massively rich in a way unprecedented in human history. We also live on a peaceful continent in a way unprecedented in human history.

    If we must carry a disproportionate share of defense costs to continue on in this way, I’m ok with that. Sure, Europe can and should do more. But, I trust American military power, not European military power, and the benefit of having a far larger military than our allies is that we get to call the shots.

    • #11
    • March 16, 2015, at 12:17 PM PDT
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  12. Z in MT Inactive

    One thing that I would like to point out is that if demography is destiny, very few developed nations have the social capacity for aggressive territorial expansion. They just don’t have the young men to expend. This is particularly true for Germany and Japan (unless you want to contemplate a Japanese robot army). Russia is nearly as bad off demographic wise.

    The major wars of the future will be in the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and Africa that have young populations and high birthrates. The real pivot point for Europe will be Turkey and/or internal revolution. Does Turkey hold back the unrest in the Middle East from entering into Europe, or does it lead the charge? Can they (Europe) assimilate their internal Muslim populations to a Western modern culture?

    • #12
    • March 16, 2015, at 12:26 PM PDT
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  13. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    Z: “unless you want to contemplate a Japanese robot army”

    Do you not? ;)

    • #13
    • March 16, 2015, at 12:31 PM PDT
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  14. Probable Cause Inactive

    I hate to say it, but President Obama’s “lead from behind” policy has the silver lining that various countries around the world are stepping up to their regional challenges.

    Now, he’s also leaving behind a trail of absolute chaos, including a potentially nuclear armed Iran. So I don’t give his foreign policy a wholesale endorsement. I’m simply saying there’s food for thought there.

    A comparatively wealthy Europe would seem the right region from which to step back.

    • #14
    • March 16, 2015, at 12:38 PM PDT
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  15. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    A few seconds on Wikipedia would have provided you with all the answers you needed:

    Lithuania- 2.9 million people

    Estonia – 1.3 million

    Latvia – 1.9 million

    Combined: a population the size of Houston.

    You think it’s useful for them to spend money on military? Would it make a difference?

    So, last time around, people on Ricochet were complaining why Obama (obviously) wasn’t doing enough to protect our dear and precious allies! (even though, of course, there’s been a dozen US military deployments into the Baltics over the last months. But that won’t stop us from complaining either way)

    Now the complain has turned to: why are we wasting our time defending our deadbeat unthankful so-called allies?

    How the sands shift by the hour.

    • #15
    • March 16, 2015, at 12:57 PM PDT
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  16. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    Probable Cause:I hate to say it, but President Obama’s “lead from behind” policy

    If anyone has ever wondered what “leading from behind” looks like, I have a picture.

    1 guess as to where the picture was taken, and when.

    erhqwetr

    • #16
    • March 16, 2015, at 1:08 PM PDT
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  17. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    AIG:A few seconds on Wikipedia would have provided you with all the answers you needed:

    Lithuania- 2.9 million people

    Estonia – 1.3 million

    Latvia – 1.9 million

    Combined: a population the size of Houston.

    Honest confession: I did not realize that the Baltic states had populations that low.

    AIG:Now the complain has turned to: why are we wasting our time defending our deadbeat unthankful so-called allies?

    I’m not expecting the Latvians or Lithuanians to be able to tangle meaningfully with the Russians. I am… annoyed that their defense spending is 1% of their GDP and falling. As CC said, Estonia has pays twice that and has recently increased its spending. It’s at least trying.

    If the Baltics are too small to field a meaningful army — which may well be the case — they might at least throw some money in the direction of those who are obliged to come to their defense.

    • #17
    • March 16, 2015, at 1:17 PM PDT
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  18. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    High technology means that quite a range of capabilities can be had without manpower.

    Remember, the Baltics do not need to transport an army, or rule the waves. All they need to do is have the intelligence-gathering, missile-defense, and strike capabilities that would make the Bear realize that an overnight invasion is not going to happen. And these can happen without a big standing army. They can happen with US or Israeli technologies:

    Drones for intel, perhaps with missile launch capabilities.

    A helicopter air force.

    Land-based missile defense systems, perhaps also with anti-aircraft capabilities.

    Estonia could have all these things, including the operating crews, for nothing more than cash expenditures.

    • #18
    • March 16, 2015, at 1:40 PM PDT
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  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    The US does not spend 5% of GDP on defense. The latest figure, for FY 2014, is 3.5% (based on the latest budget worksheets available at the OMB website — defense spending was $603 billion, GDP was $17.244 trillion).

    • #19
    • March 16, 2015, at 1:43 PM PDT
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  20. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    I’m not expecting the Latvians or Lithuanians to be able to tangle meaningfully with the Russians. I am… annoyed that their defense spending is 1% of their GDP and falling. As CC said, Estonia has pays twice that and has recently increased its spending. It’s at least trying.

    If the Baltics are too small to field a meaningful army — which may well be the case — they might at least throw some money in the direction of those who are obliged to come to their defense.

    1) 1.1% of Lithuania’s GDP is the same as 2% of Estonia’s GDP, in raw numbers; ~$420 million. So they all double their spending and reach…$2 billion combined. Still, not going to mean much.

    2) Second, their defense is based on regional alliance with Finland, Sweden and Norway; the Nordic Defense Cooperation. There’s no sense in any of these countries relying on themselves alone.

    3) NATO doesn’t work on the bases that each member should be able to provide for the defense of themselves. It works on the bases of mutual support. They provide you something, you provide them something. Some members specialize in particular areas. The Baltics have mostly focused on special forces deployments to Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    (which…is our own fault…because we dragged our E.European allies into specializing in counter-insurgency warfare, for our own needs, and then left their militaries incapable of carrying out actual war. I.e….Georgia)

    So don’t blame them. We asked them to do this.

    4) Why should they pay us anything? Does Israel pay us anything for us giving them $3+ billion a year, to buy our own weapons (i.e., giving them free weapons)? Does Egypt do the same for the $3+ billion we give them every year?

    Israel is exempt from having any responsibilities to us (in fact its…soon to be ex-PM…can come and insult our government, to our applause)…

    …but the 3 weakest countries in E.Europe, ought to be paying us.

    I don’t buy it.

    • #20
    • March 16, 2015, at 2:00 PM PDT
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  21. Probable Cause Inactive

    AIG:If anyone has ever wondered what “leading from behind” looks like, I have a picture.

    1 guess as to where the picture was taken, and when.

    erhqwetr

    Bzzzzzzt. Time’s up and I have no answer.

    • #21
    • March 16, 2015, at 2:07 PM PDT
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  22. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    Arizona Patriot:The US does not spend 5% of GDP on defense. The latest figure, for FY 2014, is 3.5% (based on the latest budget worksheets available at the OMB website — defense spending was $603 billion, GDP was $17.244 trillion).

    That’s right.

    Defense spending in total figures is misleading, because each country counts it differently, or some things fall under different ministries or departments.

    The US includes VA into its defense spending, for example. Even though that’s obviously not defense spending. It includes foreign military aid. It includes activities which other countries might have in “Interior Ministries”, rather than military.

    The 2014 numbers I’ve seen are about $590 billion (vs. the often cited $800+ billion)

    • #22
    • March 16, 2015, at 2:08 PM PDT
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  23. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    AIG, I know you are trolling, but I cannot help myself:

    AIG:4) Why should they pay us anything? Does Israel pay us anything for us giving them $3+ billion a year, to buy our own weapons (i.e., giving them free weapons)? Does Egypt do the same for the $3+ billion we give them every year?

    Israel is exempt from having any responsibilities to us (in fact its…soon to be ex-PM…can come and insult our government, to our applause)…

    Israel has countless responsibilities to the US – for most of its modern life, Israel wouldn’t wipe its nose without asking for US permission first.

    As for Israel paying for it: I am in favor of the US not giving Israel any foreign aid. But no matter how you slice it, the US has been a huge net beneficiary of the relationship. How many technologies were invented there? World-changing electronics, software, agricultural, medical, pharma, military… the list is enormous, and the world (and the US) all win when a life is saved, or made more productive. Here is one list of 12 Israeli technologies that change the lives of disabled people.

    Bibi did not insult our government. He did not even insult Obama by name – he praised Obama. He did what a leader is supposed to do: assert the national interest of his own country, and point out when it dovetails with the national interest of its allies.

    • #23
    • March 16, 2015, at 2:15 PM PDT
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  24. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    AIG:

    1) 1.1% of Lithuania’s GDP is the same as 2% of Estonia’s GDP, in raw numbers; ~$420 million. So they all double their spending and reach…$2 billion combined. Still, not going to mean much.

    Correct, but if you’re the one in the firing line, it seems reasonable for you to at least attempt to show greater effort and try to at least pull your own weight.

    AIG:

    2) Second, their defense is based on regional alliance with Finland, Sweden and Norway; the Nordic Defense Cooperation. There’s no sense in any of these countries relying on themselves alone.

    That’s fine, but they’re also NATO members, which means we’re on the hook for them, too.

    3) NATO doesn’t work on the bases that each member should be able to provide for the defense of themselves. It works on the bases of mutual support. They provide you something, you provide them something. Some members specialize in particular areas. The Baltics have mostly focused on special forces deployments to Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    The bolded is wonderful to hear. A few additional units, would be nice. Again, I’m not complaining about the size of Baltic armed forces, but about their minuscule size relative to their GDPs (I’m also hardly only complaining about the Baltics).

    4) Why should they pay us anything? Does Israel pay us anything for us giving them $3+ billion a year, to buy our own weapons (i.e., giving them free weapons)? Does Egypt do the same for the $3+ billion we give them every year?

    Wholly separate matter; we are not, to my knowledge, in formal Alliance with either the Egyptians or the Israelis, despite their being Major non-NATO allies (same applies to the Aussies, Japanese, South Koreans, and a few others). Perhaps we should be in formal Alliance with them, that that is not the case.

    AIG:

    …but the 3 weakest countries in E.Europe, ought to be paying us.

    They ought to be making meaningful contributions to an alliance from which they stand to gain much. 1% of GDP and falling marks a rather pathetic effort.

    • #24
    • March 16, 2015, at 2:31 PM PDT
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  25. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    AIG:

    Arizona Patriot:The US does not spend 5% of GDP on defense. The latest figure, for FY 2014, is 3.5% (based on the latest budget worksheets available at the OMB website — defense spending was $603 billion, GDP was $17.244 trillion).

    That’s right.

    Fair enough.

    I have corrected the OP, with a note at the bottom indicating the change.

    • #25
    • March 16, 2015, at 2:36 PM PDT
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  26. Eric Hines Inactive

    They ought to be making meaningful contributions to an alliance from which they stand to gain much. 1% of GDP and falling marks a rather pathetic effort.

    There’s a minimum amount, in absolute terms, that governments must spend domestically to satisfy their purpose, albeit how high that threshold should be can be argued.

    3.5% (arguendo) of Lithuania’s (let us say) GDP works out to roughly $1.3 billion dollars. Absent a meaningful alliance with a nation or party of nations that can put meaningful actual troops and weapons into the field, on what basis do you argue their current $420-ish million is pathetic rather than a waste? On what basis do you argue that even $1.3 billion (to risk putting words into your mouth) would be any more useful in absolute terms, absent that same alliance?

    I’m excluding NATO from the equation based on your post’s title.

    Eric Hines

    • #26
    • March 16, 2015, at 3:24 PM PDT
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  27. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    The bolded is wonderful to hear. A few additional units, would be nice. Again, I’m not complaining about the size of Baltic armed forces, but about their minuscule size relative to their GDPs (I’m also hardly only complaining about the Baltics).

    The bold part is important, however. That’s why their militaries are the way they are. We’ve told them over the last decade+ that they should focus on essentially being “peacekeeping” forces.

    And that’s what they’ve done.

    Either way, military expenditures are not particularly relevant metrics here, if we’re talking about tiny countries whose priority is economic development

    If there is nothing you can do that will realistically provide you with any defense against Russia, then what’s the point of bothering? Threat from a Russian invasions simply…isn’t…realistic enough, if we’re honest. Russia isn’t going to invade a NATO country.

    If Belgium and the Netherlands in 1940 had doubled or tripled their military expenditures, would it have had any effect on the German invasion of those countries? No. So what would have been the point?

    Wholly separate matter; we are not, to my knowledge, in formal Alliance with either the Egyptians or the Israelis, despite their beingMajor non-NATO allies (same applies to the Aussies, Japanese, South Koreans, and a few others). Perhaps we should be in formal Alliance with them, that that is not the case.

    It’s a similar matter. We’re certainly more than willing to engage in Israel’s defense, and subsidize them to the tune of 6 times of Estonia’s defense budget per year. But we’re not asking them for anything in return.

    Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Albania, Croatia etc have…contributed to us.

    They’ve paid us by sending their soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan. 205 of their soldiers have died in Afghanistan and Iraq…for us (because they had no reason to go there, other than to support us).

    That’s their contribution.

    • #27
    • March 16, 2015, at 3:33 PM PDT
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  28. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Eric Hines:On what basis do you argue that even $1.3 billion (to risk putting words into your mouth) would be any more useful in absolute terms, absent that same alliance?

    Absent NATO, it would likely be meaningless.

    As they are both a member of NATO and are in greater danger than other nations, it seems that they should attempt to contribute more to the alliance than the lower end of the spectrum.

    Membership in an alliance should entail duties as well as benefits for all parties; as I said, it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to contribute equally and likely foolish as well (comparative advantage and all). But I’d like to know how countries such as Lithuania and Latvia justify being the direct beneficiaries of an alliance to which they’re willing to be among the least contributing members as a percentage of their own GDP.

    • #28
    • March 16, 2015, at 3:39 PM PDT
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  29. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    iWc:As for Israel paying for it: I am in favor of the US not giving Israel any foreign aid. But no matter how you slice it, the US has been a huge net beneficiary of the relationship. How many technologies were invented there? World-changing electronics, software, agricultural, medical, pharma, military… the list is enormous, and the world (and the US) all win when a life is saved, or made more productive. Here is one list of 12 Israeli technologies that change the lives of disabled people.

    What does that have to do with defense?

    That’s like me saying, Skype was invented in Estonia, so there is their contribution.

    The US gets little out of Israel in defense terms. We subsidize their military industry, we develop the weapons for them…and in far too many cases, they go and sell the technology to the Chinese behind our backs.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t do so: I’m saying the argument falls apart when the “strongest guy in the room”, Israel, isn’t expected to give anything back…but the “weakest guy in the room” is expected to carry its own weight.

    I agree that we’re not benefiting much by subsidizing the world’s militaries. But there’s $6 billion in subsidies that we can take away right there, from Israel and Egypt, since neither need them (they’re big boys and they can defend themselves. They don’t need us).

    • #29
    • March 16, 2015, at 3:43 PM PDT
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  30. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    AIG:

    Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Albania, Croatia etc have…contributed to us.

    They’ve paid us by sending their soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan. 205 of their soldiers have died in Afghanistan and Iraq…for us (because they had no reason to go there, other than to support us).

    That’s their contribution.

    Wiki — happy to defer to any source you have, but I’m being lazy — listed the following for those countries:

      • Estonia — 2
      • Latvia — 3
      • Lithuania — (none listed)
      • Romania — 4
      • Bulgaria — 13
      • Poland — 30 (specifically cited for praise in the OP)
      • Hungary — 1
      • Slovakia — 4
      • Czech Republic — 1
      • Albania — (none listed)
      • Croatia — (none listed)

    It cited a total of 139 non-American, non-British deaths among coalition partners. I don’t want to get into a position where I have to praise countries for sustaining casualties, but I — it should go without saying — wish to honor all those who contributed. I’ll also confess to finding this heartening.

    • #30
    • March 16, 2015, at 3:55 PM PDT
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