NATO Member Nations’ “Commitment”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has gotten NATO members to step up their military budgets. Or so is the hopeful assessment of those member nation governments’…claims.

NATO members outside the US are set to boost their military spending following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to alliance Secretary-General [and former Norway Prime Minister] Jens Stoltenberg and pledges from member countries.

However [emphasis added].

Only eight countries, including the US, already cross the 2% threshold, according to NATO’s report, a decline from the previous annual report, in which 11 countries met the target.


The percentages are subject to changes in both defense budgets and to economic activity, which has been buffeted by the coronavirus pandemic over the past two years.

Indeed. There’s always an excuse for walking away from an inconvenient commitment.

Stoltenberg, as cited by The Wall Street Journal, said:

…it is hard for governments to allocate more money for defense. “But when we see a new security reality, we all realize the need to invest in our security,” he said.

No, it’s not hard at all. Either the nations’ governments honor their commitments to defend each other, either the nations’ governments honor their obligation to defend their own people (which is enhanced—or would be—by that mutual defense commitment), or they do not. The only hard part is finding the moral courage actually to do what they say they will do. The rest is just allocation of monies.

On that note, this:

But Germany and other countries that fall short have recently announced new plans to increase military spending following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Germany is a prime example of this. During the Trump administration, then-Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to increase Germany’s military spending to 2% of GDP or more, and thereby honor Germany’s commitment to that 2% threshold—a commitment Germany had been dishonoring since the NATO-wide commitment’s inception in 2014. Then Germany continued to dishonor its commitment under Merkel: the budget she submitted next after her commitment to Trump welched anew; her budget allocated less than 1.6% of GDP to Germany’s military.

Now Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has made the Merkel commitment, but there’s no reason to believe he has any more intention than Merkel had of honoring the promise.

Those other 20+ countries who’ve been dishonoring their commitments all along? Sure. Italy already has walked away again; the others likely will simply be quiet about their continued decision to not spend on military needs.

There’s always an excuse.

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