Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Europe at the end of the week, and among other things, he pushed for NATO member states to honor their decades-old commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.
Germany, among other members, insisted that honoring their commitment was “unrealistic.”
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said demands for 2% of GDP spending were “totally unrealistic.” He said that to meet the US target, Germany would have to increase spending by some €35 billion ($37 billion).
After all, Gabriel has argued,
…a strong defense isn’t enough to ensure security.
That’s a cynically offered straw man, though; no one is arguing that a strong defense is sufficient, only that it’s necessary. Gabriel will have to play with his dolly without me.
There are others who agree that the nations need to boost their own spending—Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, for instance, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. But it isn’t sufficient.
We need to be developing a mutual defense alliance that includes eastern European nations, anyway. Maybe the result of that development should be a separate alliance, not an expansion of NATO. Perhaps even the result should replace NATO, or at least our role in the new alliance should replace our role in NATO, since so many of the nations of NATO have so little interest in their own treaty responsibilities.