Tuesday, May 20, 2014
NATO's Rasmussen: Russian Defense Spending Greatly Outpaces Europe
Russia weighs in at 4.4%, and Rasmussen said that it has increased spending by 10% for each of the past five years, since its stumbling victory against small and remote Georgia in 2008. Calculation of these GDP estimates for spending can be difficult to pin down, but there is no doubt that Russia is putting an increasing pace on its defense spending which some believe will top 5% possibly by the end of the year.
In contrast, Rasmussen stressed that during that same five year period, some NATO countries have decreased their defense spending by 20%.
The US commitment to Europe has dropped to some 68,000 personnel in all branches (down from a peak of 420,000 during the Cold War), including staffing the multiplicitous NATO headquarters and many logistic nodes, and not a single US battle tank remains.
NATO has recently been focused on the multinational support of efforts in Afghanistan and has not yet begun to shift to a more Eurocentric role, its original mission. Previously a counter to the very real threat of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, it is no longer in a current state of readiness to capably resist an incursion of a renascent Russia.
Putin, of course, has already taken that into account, and is further confident that any attempt to fundamentally re-align NATO will take more time than we can afford. He has two and a half years of an Obama administration remaining, representing the historic US backbone of NATO (or now the lack thereof), to do what he feels he can get away with, and he is making good on that opportunity.
Obama obliges with his frequent declarations that the US will make no military commitment whatsoever - even minor support - to the crisis in Ukraine and its ripple effect in Eastern Europe.