The End of NATO?

Carl Bildt

US President Donald Trump escalated his war on US alliances and multilateral institutions at NATO’s summit in Brussels and then at his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. There is now little doubt that Trump’s strange affinity for Putin represents a serious threat to European security. […]

More fundamentally, Trump’s complaint that the US is shouldering an unfair share of the burden for NATO’s collective defense is dubious. While the US military budget equals roughly 72% of combined defense spending by all NATO member states, roughly three-quarters of US military spending is directed toward regions other than Europe. Around half of the US defense budget is spent on maintaining a presence in the Pacific, and another quarter is spent on operations in the Middle East, strategic nuclear command and control, and other areas.

Moreover, although the US has increased its defense outlays in Europe substantially over the past few years, it is worth remembering that most US forces and facilities there are actually focused on the geostrategic arc from India to South Africa. With facilities such as Ramstein, Fairford, Rota, Vicenza, and Sigonella, the US has long used Europe as a staging ground for deploying forces elsewhere. And the early-warning and surveillance facilities that the US maintains in the United Kingdom and Norway are there to defend the continental US, not Europe.

The fact is that total European defense spending is around twice what the US spends on European security, and also roughly twice what Russia spends on defense, according to estimates produced at the US National Defense University. Läs artikel