Sec Def to Europe: “Plan on Defense Spending”

“In recent years, one of the biggest obstacles to alliance investment has been a sense that the end of the Cold War ushered in an end of history, an end to insecurity, at least in Europe, and the end of aggression by nation-states.  But Russia’s actions in Ukraine shatter that myth. ~ U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Russia is again looking like a long-term threat to the U.S. and NATO allies, but stopped short of suggesting an increase of troops in Europe.  Having your cake and eating it too might be the operational theme.  But it’s a goal that’s technically possible to meet.  The European collective is going to have to start spending on defense – enough to rival Russia at least – to fend off any Russian threat to European peace.

Mr. Hagel acknowledged that American defense secretaries for decades have been calling on European allies to increase their military spending.  But he also said that the United States’ commitment was becoming – what it known among many circles in America: “increasingly disproportionate.”

Does Europe depend on the United States military muscle too much?  This has been said before.  America’s military spending is three times the combined military spending of the other 27 NATO members, Mr. Hagel mentioned.  He called on allies to send their finance ministers to a meeting to discuss military spending and help come to a more proportionate solution.  After looking at the numbers, I’m going to have to agree with Chuck.

NATO is supposed to be a team, like the Avengers.  But instead of having different heroes from all walks of life team up, you have different nations from all walks of life teaming up.  Now imagine if Captain America did EVERYTHING.  Sure it would make a pretty boring movie, but it’s simply not fair for the Red White and Blue.  This is what we are looking at now.

Many Eastern European nations are a bit wary of NATO’s fighting capability (and willingness) since Russia’s newfound enthusiasm in real estate acquisition. With NATO’s fight in Libya when the US departed it’s limited military action early, their fears might be well-founded.  Put it another way: NATO without the America’s military might is like the Chicago Bulls without Michael Jordan’s scoring power. 

One reason why America’s defense spending is so high, is that we assume the duties of protecting others, primarily single-handedly deciding to be the counter to the Soviet Union.  In fact, ever since World War II, America has created an identity for herself by being what the Soviet Union isn’t: “the Freedom Lovers”.  Creating an identity of one’s self based on what you are not will certainly need an outer entity to base itself off of.  The USSR Communist entity was precisely that – in always having a rival, an enemy to always best, we as America have assumed the responsibility to defend all from the communist threat, something that Europe witnessed since WWII and simply let be.  After all, who wants to fight in the first place?

The sad part in this European hands-off approach to defense, is that their military command simply doesn’t have the same level of practice and resources as America does.  This is the reason why NATO was sloppy when they took command and control in the Libyan conflict when America stepped out.

Another thing that is worth mentioning is that the more socialistic model of government spending on society that Europe enjoys — Europe might not be capable of having it’s enhanced social programs if it has to honestly provide for it’s own defense, escalating military expenditures.

Well, the die has been cast; America might have finally lost taste in defining herself based on who she is not.  America might have lost the desire, or maybe became cognizant of what a negative identity entails by design.  Anyway you slice it, it’s getting a bit expensive, and when you think about that one kid in school you always stood up for, you begin to wonder why she hasn’t tried defending herself, especially after 50 years.  Time for her to muscle up and defend herself.  Perhaps, before it’s too late.

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