Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Politics

Europe’s Economy Is Worth $17 Trillion. Why Is America Helping Pay For Their Military?

M1 Abrams Tank
An M1 Abrams Tank fires off a round as a demonstration during 1st Tank Battalion’s Jane Wayne Spouse Appreciation Day aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., April 3, 2018. The purpose of the event is to build resiliency in spiritual well being, the will to fight and a strong home life for the 1st Tanks Marines and their families. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Rachel K. Porter)

In the aftermath of Ukraine’s surprisingly successful counteroffensive north of Kharkiv, many are lobbying the U.S. government to send Kyiv yet more weapons and support. That sentiment is understandable. What is not understandable, however – and has gotten far fewer media attention – is the U.S. sending $1 billion in new spending to several European countries to help their defense. That needs to stop. 

It is time for Washington to end its underwriting of wealthy nations’ defense. It has gone on for too long, and  countries that have the financial ability to pay for their own national defense have instead continued to  rely on the extension of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

Biden administration officials have given contradictory explanations for why this new spending is necessary. They appear tone-deaf to emerging realities. 

CIA Director William J. Burns told a Washington audience last week that “not only has the weakness of the Russian military been exposed,” but there will be “long-term damage done to the Russian economy and to generations of Russians.” Meanwhile in Europe, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reached nearly the opposite conclusion when he announced a total of nearly $3 billion more in military aid, which he said was designed “to bolster the security of Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors…potentially at risk of future Russian aggression.”

Which is it? Is Russia so strong that we need to send American taxpayer money to 17 other nations, or is it so weak that Russia cannot even defeat its smaller neighbor?

In truth, Russia is neither strong enough to invade any other countries, nor so weak that its war in Ukraine can be declared a failure. These contradictory claims by senior White House officials are the latest evidence that the Administration has no coherent strategy for U.S. policy toward NATO, nor regarding the war in Ukraine. 

The nations receiving funds from the U.S. include states such as Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, and others. Only three of the countries are even close to Russia, and they are in no danger whatsoever of an invasion. Why, then, should Washington give them American taxpayer money? 

Presidents have lamented for decades that NATO countries do not do enough for their own security and have urged these partner countries to contribute more to NATO. At a time when it is painfully clear that the threat of a conventional attack by Russia has always been overblown for most countries, and is now no longer even possible, there is no justification for giving away $1 billion that will only expand Europe’s dependence on America.

Burns was right about one thing: The war has severely degraded Russia’s military, and the Kremlin is incapable of threatening a single country in Europe with its conventional military power. Zelensky’s offensive in Kharkiv showed this to be true. It would be a gross understatement to acknowledge that the United States has provided more than any other country in Europe to help Ukraine defend itself, and a good bit of the justification for that aid has been to help safeguard Europe.

What has been sorely lacking is a commensurate level of support from European states themselves. If, as is often claimed, the security of all of Europe is at stake in the Russia-Ukraine war, then the countries closest to the fighting should have the most motivation to help Kyiv. That hasn’t been the case, however, as the United States has provided or committed more than $40 billion while Europe has pledged about $17 billion.  

European GDP is $17 trillion. There is no reason why the U.S. should be paying more for European security in the Russia-Ukraine War, more than Europe for NATO, and now providing 17 additional countries with another $1 billion. There is a point where American help becomes largesse. Helping those in need is laudable; doing for others what they can and should do for themselves, however, is an unnecessary waste of American taxpayer dollars. It’s time to bring our policies into balance with financial reality in Europe. 

Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Enfield

    September 15, 2022 at 4:21 am

    It is confused conflict. The West and its allies are at war, so they say anyway, while the counterpart in the East is carrying out a special military operation. Contrast probably couldn’t be greater.

    Special military operation is flexible it can gain ground and lose ground without winning or losing. At the same time it can find new forces that in exchange for payment are willing to sacrifice themselves for a good cause.

    As long as you are not at war, you cannot lose or win the war because there is no war. At the same time, at home, the opion is satisfied and life goes on. People back home may hear of some setbacks on the battlefield but it will be fine as long as the country is not at war.

    It could not be more frustrating for the Western allies who want to win a war at any cost.

  2. Simon vG

    September 15, 2022 at 6:14 am

    American money is used to buy influence, not only support these nations. And most of these American funds will end up in de pockets of American defense corporations.
    The US has always been reluctant to support a strong European defense axis, since that would decay US influence and strengthen European industries.

  3. Mario

    September 15, 2022 at 6:48 am

    “It is time for Washington to end its underwriting of wealthy nations’ defense”

    If you bother If you bother to read the list of countries recipients of U.S. military aid, you’ll see that NONE of them is ‘wealthy’ except, of course, Israel.
    Military aid is a matter of diplomacy and strategic objectives, not charity. I understand that a simplist and hasty analysis of a partial information mixed with some gross demagoguery is enough to write an article and be payed for it but you could, at least, be consistent.

    For example: not many hours ago, you you claimed that Russia would destroy Ukraine in no time, even with the recent offensive causing the agressors flee running in disarray to the russian border. Now “the Kremlin is incapable of threatening a single country in Europe” in your words. Well, which is it, Mr. Davis?

  4. vita

    September 15, 2022 at 7:00 am

    To prevent a third German World War. But they are militarizing the EU anyway, so you will probably get your wish.

  5. David Jones

    September 15, 2022 at 10:29 am

    It would be interesting to see what happened to all of the ‘free’ stuff if suddenly, all of the EU had to actually field an offensive force, one that could project power, not simply defend their borders. A fully capable air force, navy, and infantry gets really expensive.

  6. Mario

    September 15, 2022 at 11:55 am

    David Jones: Make no mistake.

    European armies are more fierce than american, asian or russians(between them).
    Europe wins (or lost) the wars, the rest either joins them or dies in them. No Asian or American army has ever won a (big) war without an European ally. Of course, Europe is 4000 years old and US barely 200. A little of respect for the old people who know how to fight…

    With all my respect, from a spanish Marine (The Oldest Corps).

  7. Mario

    September 15, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    David Jones: “if suddenly, all of the EU had to actually field an offensive force”

    ANY mid sized europen army has fought more wars than you can count. And ANY of them can beat a weak enemy like russia (and you?). Where were you in 1940? Under your mom skirt while England fought the Nazis?

  8. David Jones

    September 15, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    Mario: Wasn’t born yet. But my Dad was a flight engineer in a B17G, my uncle was with Patton’s Third Army as they pushed across Europe, including the run to Bastogne.

    Check your history. FDR wanted to get in, but was fighting the political battle in the states. Does Lend/Lease ring a bell? How about all the Yank merchant men that are still at the bottom of the ocean that were bringing supplies to England? How long would England held out without the supplies coming from the states?

  9. Jon

    September 15, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Do you know what Russia really wants? The departure of the US from Europe, the dissolution of NATO and the fragmentation of the EU. Russia wants to be the hegemon of Eurasia, vassal states arrayed before it.

    US involvement in Europe post WWII has certainly borne a great cost, but there has also been a great deal of value delivered, not having to fight another war in Europe prime among them.

    But, by all means, let the US separate itself from the largest and most successful collection of democracies in the world, at a moment when they are looking down the teeth of an autocratic neofascist. One wonders what the author might have in mind.

  10. Begemot

    September 15, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    The question asked: Why is the US helping to pay for Europe’s military?

    There is an old saying: He who pays the piper calls the tune. In short, it is a way to maintain control.

    Mario: I don’t think the Spanish military has been feared since its defeat at Rocroi in 1643.

  11. Chuck Moss

    September 15, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Why? Because we don’t want the boogers to have their own big armies, especially–you know–Germany. That way lies all sorts of trouble.

  12. GhostTomahawk

    September 15, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Walk away from NATO and the UN.

    Let Europe solve its own problems or creates by bad economic and foreign policies. Let the world sort the map out.

    America needs to look after itself and stop being the steward for the stipid.

  13. Real Deal

    September 15, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    Mario ….. Lighten Up Francis

    Wonder why your country and all the other euros had a hissy fit when Pres Trump dared to forced them to cough up more money for their own defense ….

  14. luvthiskid

    September 15, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Mario! Excellent!

  15. Mario

    September 16, 2022 at 2:26 am

    Dear David Jones: Of course the alliance with U.S. it is definitive if someone want to get results in a conflict.
    I would also like to thank you for the tremendous effort of your family members and all of the American military who fought for freedom, often beyond the call of duty.

  16. David Chang

    September 16, 2022 at 9:48 am

    God bless people in the world.

    But democrats don’t trust God. They believe socialism and worship democracy.

    Democrats preach Modern Monetary Theory and believe that they will bring social justice and welfare to people with unlimited budget deficit.

    So democrats oppose police and military, keep to increase the budget of futurology, keep to incite war for making fear and inflation, but oppose to increase traditional military budget and nuclear budget.

    God bless America.

  17. David Chang

    September 16, 2022 at 9:58 am

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    God bless people in the world.

    But democrats don’t trust God. They believe socialism and worship democracy.

    Democrats preach Modern Monetary Theory and believe that they will bring social justice and welfare to people with unlimited budget deficit. But Begemot tell about it: People who pays the piper calls the tune.

    So democrats oppose police and military, keep to increase the budget of futurology, keep to incite war for making fear and inflation, but oppose to increase traditional military budget and nuclear budget.

    God bless America.

  18. Blue Prince

    September 17, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    The US is funding Europe’s military because it wants to keep its bases there forever and prevent Europe from forming a military equal to the USA’s military in strength. I never liked Trump but agree with him that the US shouldn’t fund bases abroad and that its allies should pay for much more of their defenses.

  19. john

    September 17, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Weirdly enough when this is all over, Sweden and Finland are in NATO, Germany has a doubled defense budget, Russia has a smaller military. Then I do see the USA ramping down their spending on NATO. So by losing and losing badly Putin will get a win, US will scale back their spend on NATO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Advertisement