The debate over burden sharing within NATO is about as old as the alliance itself.

This article was written by John Cappello, a former B-1B pilot, served as the Air Force Attaché to the U.S. Embassies in Belgrade and Tel Aviv, and is currently a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

However, rarely has the debate spilled into public discourse as acrimoniously as it did at the most recent NATO summit in Brussels. President Trump, like his predecessors, is right to make a case for more defence spending in Europe, but the real issue is not the amount of money being spent but rather how the money is being spent. NATO should measure its members’ contributions regarding the capabilities and readiness they provide, not their aggregate cost.

Since its founding, U.S. presidents have pressed their European allies to increase defence spending in support of the shared NATO mission. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson each faced the challenge of burden sharing within the alliance.

More recently, both the Obama and Bush administrations have pressed allies to increase their investments to support NATO operations. Bush made his plea in 2006 at the Bucharest Summit, while Obama called allies to abide by the commitment they made in 2014, where they pledged to spend 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, and 20% of defence spending on equipment.

Unsurprisingly, President Trump’s confrontational negotiating style quickly took centre stage at this month’s summit in Brussels, as he castigated allies for taking advantage of the United States by not paying enough for NATOs collective defence.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, however, noted how all allies have halted cuts to their defence budgets and have begun implementing plans to increase their defence budgets to two percent of their respective GDPs, with a majority planning to reach that goal by 2024. While Stoltenberg credited President Trump with delivering a “clear message” on burden sharing, this debate misses an important point. Simply spending more does not equate with actual burden sharing.

According to NATO’s Strategic Concept, collective defence, crisis management, and collective security are the alliance’s core tasks. These missions require capable, mobile, and interoperable forces. Real burden sharing would require every ally to contribute forces ready to deploy for such missions.

Defence expenditure alone fails to measure real military capability, let alone its use on the alliance’s behalf. Take the cases of Denmark and Greece. In 2017, Greece spent 2.32 percent of its GDP on defence, while Denmark spent only 1.17 percent. Using the 2 percent goal as a benchmark, one would, therefore, conclude that Greece is a model NATO partner while Denmark is a free rider ‘taking advantage of the United States’. These numbers, however, do not accurately illustrate how these two nations actually share the burden.

From Mali to Libya and Afghanistan to Iraq, the Danish military is actively deployed in support of NATO’s out-of-area missions. Although it spends more than 2 percent of its GDP on defence, Greece contributed none of its 21,500 deployable troops to NATO missions (according to 2014 European Defence Agency data).

The Danish and Greek militaries are not outliers—additional data shows similar discrepancies among other nations as well. The point is, NATO’s needs are not met by spending 2 percent of GDP alone. Members’ contributions to NATO missions of capable, ready, and deployable forces are what actually matter.

This was made clear once again, when three Czech soldiers serving with NATO’s Resolute Support mission were killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber. The Czech Republic had recently approved a plan to deploy 390 soldiers in Afghanistan through 2020, up from the current 230. While the Czech Republic has not yet met the two percent of GDP spending goal, it does participate in NATO missions fighting, dying and sharing the risk alongside their deployed counterparts.

While allies should meet their two percent of GDP commitment, they should also spend that money more wisely, focusing on concrete investments to eliminate capability shortfalls. For example, meeting the related pledge to spend 20 percent of defence budgets on equipment (as opposed to salaries or operations) will facilitate the development of cutting-edge weapon systems that are capable, deployable and interoperable.

Read the full article at RealClearDefense.


  1. The so-called European Defence force or whatever it’s called, seems to have gone walkies for now? If in any way it actually gets created where then for NATO? The EU and other states can’t afford to make considerable contributions to both. If the establishment of such a force becomes a reality, what real difference will it make if the contributions are as chaotic as the current Alliance?

    • Very interesting question. The optimistic answer is that the EU would elect to align it’s unified defence policy with NATO, and thus NATO gets a large, coordinated European force in place of dozens of individual national forces deployed piecemeal.
      The less optimistic answer is that it just adds another layer of bureaucracy to the defence of NATO’s eastern flank, and worse case scenario is the EU decides to pursue it’s own defence policy separate to NATO in an attempt to grab more power for Brussels. In that situation, NATO as we know it would likely cease to exist.
      Personally, I’m still firmly against the idea of an EDF. Some of its ideas are promising, primarily standardising equipment across the continent with a focus on European produced weaponry, but beyond that it becomes a clear power grab by the European Commission to encroach on the sovereignty of EU members

      • “The optimistic answer is that the EU would elect to align it’s unified defence policy with NATO”

        This European defence initiative/force was made to get away from the beurocracy and lack of quick decisions from the 28 bloc EU and the 29 bloc NATO.

        The EU has members that don’t want to do fuck all and NATO is under overall US command, a country that’s not even in Europe.

        That’s why this EDF has only 9 members, because it’s the 9 members that want to react to situations for the benefit of European security.

        I think you both are getting this mixed up with the other EU defence ideas and plans they have.

    • What good was NATO during the refugee crisis?

      The European defence force letter of intent was signed by 9 European states including us and it’s separate from other EU defence agreements, and it was only signed at the end of June.

      It’s to have a coordinated response to stuff like natural disasters, intervention in a crisis or evacuation of nationals.

      It’s something Europe is sadly lacking, the response to the refugee crisis in particular was pathetic.

      I can’t how this is a problem.

      • And the EDF operations would need the sign off of each nation (I assume, otherwise the a nations forces to theoretically be used against its own interests…) So how would Italy vote with regard to refugees?

        • “So how would Italy vote with regard to refugees?”

          Vote for what? What would the action be?

          An example needs a bit more detail than that Lee for a proper answer.

    • I think you’re right maurice10. An EU defence force will be an unwelcome distraction from European NATO, which is already under-resourced & our own “2%” is just an accounting con. It’s probably just an expression of the EUs delusions of its own granduer rather than a genuine reflection of the needs & aspirations of member nations.
      But before we start criticising other European NATO members for not meeting the 2% minumum, we should push our own spending so we’re meeting at least 2% by anyones standards, rather than by a slight of hand. HMG is always talking big whilst cutting in reality.

      • What distraction caused NATO to not react to the refugee crisis a few years ago that has cost the continent billions?

    • To be honest there is a lot of hard science that backs up the fact it’s going to get really nasty for the the human race over the next 100 years, it’s less foil hat and more foil blinkers for the most part. It generally looks like the UK and Northern Europe will be alright Jack (we will no longer need to sod off to the med thankyou) the US is going to need sun screen, industrial aircon and a great big road/water pipeline to Canada, Canada’s going to actually not be arse freezingly cold all the time and make loads of money selling grain and water to the US. The USSR will move its food production to its no longer cold bits, China will need to either beat the daylights out of Russia and steel all its eastern land mass, or play nice and buy it off whichever Putin is in power at the time (they will need to do something with all the money they will have collected by then). India, aus, Africa, Mexico, Central America and most of South America ( all the bits that are not Peru or Argentina) will end up being in the deepest shit imaginable.

      Interestingly the BAT will become worth exploiting and the Falkland will be the gateway to untold riches, I expect the US, Russia, China and the bit of South America that are still with us to try and mug the UK blind in regards to the BAT.

      That is unless we are really mental in the head and just go with a 6+ degree rise in temp and then we will most likely just all be dead, do not pass go do not collect 200 pounds.

  2. (Chris H) I think NATO needs to accept that the EU has become a political and fiscal force in itself and that it has its own aspirations for the defence and foreign policy objectives of what it calls ‘Europe’. The real question is now ‘So why have NATO’ given it was created in very different times when Germany was split in two and what Churchill had called the Iron Curtain had fallen. The Uk is leaving the shackles of the EU in March 2019 and IMHO we should propose the dissolution of NATO and just concentrate on ‘5 Eyes’ and working with the USA that serves us far better than anything the EU produces. We should also not be timid in threatening to keep our massive Intell. resources for the benefit of those that appreciate us. We must spell out ‘No Deal’ will mean everything and make these bureaucrats focus their minds on agreeing what could have been agreed over a year ago had they not treated us like a bunch of lepers. The EU are not our friends and never were. We were not known as ‘Treasure Island’ for nothing.

    NATO and our leaving are intrinsically connected because after we do leave over 80% of NATO funding will come from outside the EU. That is politically impossible to sustain given the EU’s aspirations above. We were the USA’s military and political bridgehead into ‘Europe’. Time to let them walk the walk rather more than the talk they talk now.

    By pure coincidence it was quite interesting to see the countries competing in the European Games this last week or so – Russia to the East and Ireland to the West, Iceland to the North and Israel to the South (east). Which very effectively showed that the EU’s continual use of the word ‘Europe’ for itself is a gross misappropriation and yet another delusion of grandeur. Apart from Israel all these countries are in what is geographically ‘Europe’ and the EU is not Europe by any means. And which country won the most medals? The UK which made me so very proud. Although Russia did very well to win most Golds and the trophy.

    • As I’ve argued here several times before Chris, I truly believe an Anglosphere alliance with some outriders such as Japan and Singapore would far better suit our mutual defense needs now and in the future than the current arrangements… Not cutting all ties by any means but concentrating on our unique interests and national goals.


      • An expansion of 5 Eyes to a full NATO style alliance seems to be the best approach to take. Preferably in place before the EU’s superpower aspirations undermine NATO completely.

      • (Chri sH) helions – If I might make a light-hearted comment? In 5 eyes 4 are close family and one is a close if sometimes obstinate cousin. Our shared relationship (despite a small disagreement in 1812 involving 3 of us) has been mutually beneficial because we share the same values despite covering the globe.

        Sadly the relationship with Europe has been dangerous, costly in blood and treasure and politically damaging to the UK. Being 1/28th of a Socialist political ideology isn’t what the UK’s future should be and certainly not playing 2nd fiddle to a German and French axis

        We are and always have been a global facing and trading country pushing free trade where we can. Hell we developed most of it despite a few wars. So we simply must put all our efforts into arrangements like ‘5 Eyes’ and let the EU do whatever it wants without us.

        • Chris the EU does not have a “socialist political ideology” it is very much capitalist.

          Just because some political parties have the word “socialism” in them does not mean they are socialist, I thought that lesson was learned with the NAZI party.

          • (Chris H) -Solesurvivor – I used the term ‘Socialist’ very carefully as it reflects the ideology of centralised power sucking money and decision making to that central body. Add in the fact that the central body (the Commission) is unelected by popular vote you have a perfect ‘socialist’ creation. Maybe I should have used the word ‘communist’?

            To suggest the EU is a proponent of capitalism made me laugh. You do not create an inward looking protectionist market that penalises external competition with an External Tariff and steep non-Tariff barriers if you are in any way ‘capitalist’. And capitalists do not regulate the nooks and crannies of every aspect of personal let alone commercial life as the EU does on a daily basis. And for someone else to postulate the EU’s attitude as somehow Thatcherite is frankly ludicrous. She was all for the EEC as it supported open trade without political interference. She despised the EU precisely because she could see how socialist (in its widest sense) it was becoming and the over regulation that was stifling the capitalism she promoted. Remember she was brought down by the very Europhiles who have done all they can, and still do, to keep this country in the EU. The same people who dragged us into the EU without so much as a by your leave from us the people. Because they knew better – such a socialist standpoint

          • “I used the term ‘Socialist’ very carefully as it reflects the ideology of centralised power sucking money and decision making to that central body. ”

            That is not a socialist ideology Chris lol That is civilization whether socialist or capitalist, you have just described every single government in the world.

            The UK government takes all taxes and does all decision making in the UK, but it’s never been described as “sucking money and decision making to that central power”

            “Add in the fact that the central body (the Commission) is unelected by popular vote you have a perfect ‘socialist’ creation”

            No you don’t, the main socialist model now is Social democracy, the system the Scandinavian countries use. Norway’s economy has been described as 21st century socialism because the state maintains ownership of key industrial sectors. Some political people have characterized Norway as “more socialist” than Venezuela and China.

            So you have socialist countries that are full democracies and then you have the USSR, which was state capitalism, and their leadership was unelected, China has a state capitalist model, in fact capitalism was being used in medieval Europe, there is no link between socialism and unelected leaderships, just like there is not between capitalism and unelected leaderships. Again it’s a complete misconception because two of the most famous names in the 20th Century “NAZI” and “USSR” had the word socialist in for some reason, when they both were anything but socialist.

            “Maybe I should have used the word ‘communist’?”

            I’ll take it you mean the so called communist Russia, communism is a political theory that has never been used. But again Chris you’re comparing the EU to communist Russia, as well as calling the EU socialist you’re delving into the realms of farce with this mate.

            “To suggest the EU is a proponent of capitalism made me laugh You do not create an inward looking protectionist market that penalises external competition with an External Tariff and steep non-Tariff barriers if you are in any way ‘capitalist’”

            Yes actually you do, Trump is doing it now, the British Empire had a closed market for centuries, we still had a partially closed market up until 1946 when the US forced us to open up the commonwealth market to them in the terms of the loan.

            You’re completely mixing up trade policy with political ideology, a closed trade policy can benefit capitalism massively. The EU put massive tarrifs on cheap Chinese steal, that’s not socialism for crying out loud, it’s a trade policy to protect it’s businesses and jobs, it does not affect capitalism at all.

            All capitalism is Chris is private ownership, and the profit from the production goes to the private owner. It has to have wage labor and competitive markets etc.

            The protectionist system like external trade tariffs are used to protect the EU market, that’s to make companies in the EU richer, the competitive market is in the EU for a lot of sectors, any sectors that are not competitive are then aimed to be covered in trade deals with other countries and blocs.

            I’m sorry Chris but you could not be more wrong in this, the EU is ultimately capitalist, most socialists do not like the EU, loads of socialist parties around Europe campaign for reform in the European elections, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers campaigned in the UK in the European elections with the banner “no to the EU – Yes to Democracy. The EU has laws that stop the very main point of socialism, it limits the growth of public ownership. And it’s only getting worse.

            “She despised the EU precisely because she could see how socialist (in its widest sense) it was becoming and the over regulation that was stifling the capitalism she promoted”

            I do wonder where you get this from Chris, where did you read that Thatcher saw how socialist the EU was becoming.

            What you’re trying to talk about is Thatchers turn to laissez-faire economic liberalism, which was renamed Neoliberalism. Which put simply is deregulation (among other things). Thatcher turned on the EU because the single market was not the Neoliberalism she wanted, and it never could be, because the model that Neoliberalism replaced was the Keynesian system, which was used worldwide by the west since 1946 and was still being used by lots of EU members, and to correct you Chris , it is not socialism lol, it’s another form of capitalism, in short the Keynesian system promotes regulation by monetary policy of a central bank and fiscal policy by the government, the complete opposite of Neoliberalism.

            And this is whats’s funny when the current conservative supporters slate Blair and Brown for “deregulating the banks” but deregulating the banks is the prime policy of Neoliberalism that Thatcher brought in, why do you think the conservatives voted with Labour in every vote on bank deregulation, new labour carried on and expanded Thatchers policy of Neoliberalism.

            And then what happened, the 2008 financial crisis happened and everyone realised it’s a stupid idea to have a completely unregulated financial sector to run wild. So Neoliberalism is in decline and is currently being gradually replaced by new Keynesian economics, which does promote monetary policy by a central bank and fiscal policy by the government, something the Bank of England and our current prime minister are doing right now.

            So in the end those in the EU who were arguing against Neoliberalism were ultimately proved right, you do actually need some regulation, and Thatcher was proved wrong.

            And remember just because you have regulation does not mean it’s socialism, read the definition of capitalism to understand that regulation and trade policy does not turn capitalism into socialism.

        • Chris, this one did give me a giggle, the EU is one of the most Neo Liberal polical entities out there, it’s been one of the biggest drivers of Neo librialism ( an ideology that was close to thatchers heart. socialist it is not, Why do you think Corbin hates the EU so much and did his level best to knife the remain campaign in the back.

          • What makes me giggle is thinking a socialist political ideology, like free healthcare, free education and welfare is somehow a bad thing.

            The Nordic model, which is socialism in a capitalist framework, has made the Scandinavian countries consistently come top of surveys of the happiest places to live on the entire planet.

            Clearly the ultimate success is a balance between socialism and capitalism, that is yet to be tried or tested.

          • (Chris H) Jonathan – Can you unravel for me the clear dichotomy of a fiercely protectionist, habitually regulatory and inward looking organisation being in any way ‘Liberal’. Let alone ‘neo liberal’?

            Possibly you use a different dictionary …?

        • Chris, in the same vein, I live in the rural American South, and one of the axioms to live by here – as it has been for centuries – “when you’re in a dust-up with different sides and you don’t know who to support- always pick kin”(sic). Very heavy Scotch – Irish ancestry here among those of European descent… Common sense to me!


  3. I know the EU is not a very popular organisation on this forum but we must recognise how it serves our national interest for such a blood stained continent to be locked into peaceful coexistence and cooperation. Our various European alliances over the centuries have been key to Britain staying safe and free. To turn out back on them is foolish and self defeating. The main thing that will keep the UK safe is a large, stable buffer zone between us as Putin. We must also bear in mind that trumpist America may not be as reliable a partner as we are used to.

  4. I suspect there is a bigger question that will need answering in the coming years. The question is whether the interests of the UK are still aligned with those of the US.

    Historically its been there, mainly because the west was the economic power house and the US focus was towards Europe.

    Now the Europe has declined on the world scene trade wise and US focus is moving more towards the east and looking at China, and as it stands spiraling towards a cold war with them or worse.

    My question is whether it is in the economic or security interest to go down that spiral with the US or whether we are more closely aligned with focusing on Europe.

  5. NATO is a cold war alliance in a new age of great power rivalry, it was built and constructed to counter a threat that no longer exists, in any other walk of life it would reform or get dissolved.

    A bloc of countries 29 strong in the military intervention game just will not work, when the countries are spread from North America to eastern Europe, they have different geopolitical ambitions and not every member will want to commit resources to all interventions.

    Where was NATO in the worst crisis Europe has faced since the Second world war? they/we started the crisis by bombing Libya to pieces, then just left a large North African country with a coast on the Mediterranean to fall into a failed state ran by warlords off their heads on spice.

    The following EU reaction to the crisis was a complete shambles, they were making it worse by coordinating the rescue efforts etc with the so called “Libyan Coastguard” who were on the smugglers pay roll. Pathetic.

    So why have we got two big blocs of 28 and 29 countries absolutely failing to keep Europe safe? well NATO’s decision maker is the US, who are not European so European security is not exactly NATO’s number 1 priority anymore with the US in charge, NATO’s biggest intervention recently is Afghanistan, that says it all, why would the US use a combined force which it pays the lions share to sort out problems if it were not a priority or national security issue for the US?

    And the EU’s problem? 28 countries who don’t see eye to eye in foreign policy and by the time it went through all the decision making channels and debated on and agreed by all the different structures the crisis would be over, in fact by the time the EU did react thousands were dead and millions of Africans were in Europe.

    So France decide ‘hang on a minute this is not right, we need something new that’s not confined by the problems of NATO and the EU, a small force structure and reaction force that can react without the go ahead of the US and the EU, and some people are complaining about this? I just don’t understand some people i really don’t.

    We should of been coming up with that idea ourselves not France, yano in the old days before Suez we would of landed and occupied the Libyan coast ourselves if something like that happened, and France would of been there with us probably.

    If we could afford it us and France would probably do this ourselves but we cant, so we need more resources from elsewhere, so nine countries have stepped up and signed up to this, this is not NATO or the EU, it’s European countries deciding to take European security under European command.

    Imo NATO should either go back to just being a mutual defence treaty, no force structure and expand to be a global mutual defence treaty and nothing else, or disband.

    Then regional blocs should be made in Europe and Asia for not only mutual defence but military intervention, Europe looks like it’s having one with us, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Holland and Estonia. Then in Asia you have ANSUS and the five power agreements, along with the treaties the US has with Korea and Japan etc, they all need to create a single force structure for that region.

    And in all other cases you don’t actually need these agreements and force structures, you just have coalitions for the job in hand, if three countries want to intervene militarily they don’t need to be part of a bloc of countries with a huge budget, they just do it themselves, this again is the problem of turning NATO into something it was not designed for, a mutual defence treaty and intervention are not always compatible, because while you all want to help each other if attacked, sometimes a threat to your security is not a military attack, and to counter or stop that threat you need to intervene, and some countries would rather suffer than intervene militarily, it’s a clear problem that is facing NATO and it clearly affected the EU in the refugee crisis.

    Some big decisions need to be made to stop this clear waste of time and resources, and the political infighting and western leaders having a pop at each other, bigger problems might be around the corner and the west needs to be united with the right structures in place to deal with it.

    • i think it’s more complex. Agreed on the indecision within EU and NATO being US controlled but the reason we haven’t gone into Libya isn’t money, it’s a lack of will to fight at dirty war in front of the camera.

      We lost in iraq/Afghan, because there was no definition of what success would look like and we didn’t have the political motivation to take casualties and so didn’t put the numbers needed on the ground and couldn’t fight the same was as the opposition due to higher moral standards.

      Going into Libya and taking the coast region would be very simple and wouldn’t require a huge military presence. Controlling it afterward would and would result in another country insurgency warfare that we just can’t win. Not to mention how long would we need to be deployed, decades I am guessing, since here country is not getting any more stable and iraq/Afghan have shown that force alone wont stabilise countries where they are not welcome by the people.

      Suez from a military stand point was a success. It failed in part because they didn’t think through what to do if the locals didn’t see them as liberators and instead resisted and didn’t cooperate with the work needed to make the canal function. Sounds oddly familiar.

      • not to mention that suez was an end of an era where the British empire was held together by ruthless and nasty tactics, used to suppress the locals and would never have existed if we used modern military tactics or be accepted by modern British society.

      • We got out of Suez because the USA threatened to call in its loans to the British economy. Our economic weakness and lack of thought for the reaction of our key ally did for a dubious and under handed endeavour. But executed with great military skill nonetheless.

        • “lack of thought for the reaction of our key ally did for a dubious and under handed endeavour.”

          Well hang on a sec, President Nixon said that Eisenhower told him that not backing Britain in the Suez crisis was his biggest foreign policy mistake.

          We should not regret Suez, it was the US who broke the golden rule of foreign policy that’s been the same since antiquity “reward your friends and punish your enemies”

          The Americans did it because the Egyptian leader was playing Eisenhower for a fool, he got played big time, promising that they would be on the US side in the cold war, then as soon as he got what he wanted from the US, Britain out of Egypt and an expensive radio station that could broadcast over the entire middle east, he turned on the US, broadcasting anti western propaganda all over the middle east and buying all Russian hardware. The pro western Royal family were dragged from their home in Baghdad and strung up.

          The Suez crisis was a foreign policy disaster for the US, humiliating for us but very costly for the US, something that they are still paying to this day. The problems in Syria and Iraq can trace back to Suez.

    • Solesurvivor…a threat that no longer exists? Georgia, crimera, Ukraine? Russian bombers probing European airspace, hybrid and cyber warfare, election tampering. Russo-belorussian divisions exercises on the borders of the baltics and intermediate rane nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad. The threat NATO was created for is re-emerging.

      • The current and potential future Russian threat will probably never be as bigger threat to Europe than the Soviet Union, who at the time was one of the only two superpowers in the world.

        Russia’s economy is stagnating, it’s been in and out of recession, it has a declining population of nearly a million a year, and it’s economy is smaller than Italy’s.

        If Russia entered a protracted conflict the economy would tank.

        Only about a quarter of Russian ground forces are fully staffed, well-trained professional troops, the rest are conscripts who receive very poor training, most of their hardware is outdated, they fell behind in the 1990’s in technology and will never be the same again on tech terms, they don’t have the capacity or skill to build large warships. Every big procurement project gets scaled back massively because they cannot afford it, 2,300 Armata tanks down to 330 a good example.

        Now you compare that with the Soviet Union after the second world war and tell me the threat is the same, believe me it is not in the slightest.

        • Tell those figures to a Georgian or Ukrainian. Their experience of aggression is real rather than hypothetical. Also Russia has waged long term conflictions in Chechnya and Syria, while withstanding prolonged western sanctions. Not to mention that it’s forward deployed nuclear weapons. An irrational , proud and paranoid declining power, without democratic inteeneal checks, facing a fragmenting NATO alliance. What could possibly go wrong…

    • (Chris H) Solesurvivor – while we earlier wandered off into semantics about ‘socialism’ every part of your comment here reflects the same point I was trying (possibly badly) to make earlier in that comment. Our leaving the EU is a trigger point for NATO because as I said (and you made the point) NATO was built for a different threat in different times before even the EEC existed. And as I said while half of Germany and all Eastern Europe was Communist ruled.

      The EU (socialist or no) has created itself as a political, supra national and fiscal power. It has an anthem, a flag, a foreign policy, a budget, 2 parliament buildings, a ruling Commission and sundry Presidents. It has clear ambitions for an EU army so I say ‘OK – Crack on!’ and leave us out of it. NATO as a body is now redundant for the excellent reasons you gave. Lets just say ‘Well done everyone but farewell’ and save us the cost of NATO structures and buildings. I am sure the EU will find a use for them in Brussels

      Someone accused me of wanting the UK to ‘turn against the EU’. Wrong. I just want the UK to live alongside it, trade with it but be no part of it. If anything given how they have treated us for 2 years it is the EU turning against the UK for wanting to leave….

      • Just read this comment Chris after i posted my reply above. Fair enough I do think you got mixed up a bit in Socialism and the EU etc, I hope my answer explains it a bit.

        Yeah I have to agree, i do not want us any part of an EU army, you can see that that’s what the EU is aiming for, leave them to it is what i say like you.

        As the reasons i gave above it will still be useless to react to some situations that all nations are not agreed on, and we know the bureaucracy that goes with EU decisions so an EU army will fail to react.

        I am please we are part of this European defence force that is not administered by the EU, it’s a small unit of 9 nations that we will ultimately play a leading role in given our status in European defence, NATO and the EU are too big and have too many factors that can end in slow reaction and failure.

        But that is just for European issues, and it will not always be needed, us and France have a reactionary force that could be used also.

        I think something bigger needs to be signed with no budget or force structure, just a commitment to mutual defence, and it should be worldwide with western democratic allies.

  6. Interesting article and comments but I think it’s missing the human dimension. Imagine your the PM of almost any western European state. You may accept that Russia is a threat but there are plenty of states between yours and them. You also know that the US and to a lesser extent the UK have at least since 1945 considered it a vital national security question to keep Russia out of your country. Domestically there are always demands to spend more on everything and reduce taxes on everything with your political opponents promising at least one of them. Why would you instead spend that money on Defence ? The EU states (at least those who aren’t within Russias reach) will only spend what is needed when they know no-one else will do it for them.


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