Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Sleep well tonight...NATO has your back
There was a time after WWII when the US, UK, and western Europe had real reason to believe the Soviet juggernaut would just roll right on across the Iron Curtain border and claim everything right up to the US continental shelf. That spawned the creation of NATO. We had the money and hardware, they had the manpower. Fair enough.
But over the years the western Europeans got back on their feet and became solid economic powers on their own. But they also had warm feelings for social services for their people and decided to spend their money on their people instead of their militaries. Of course they spent some, just not as much percentage wise as they should have. Why should they as long as Uncle Sugar was there with his checkbook?
Today we're all in economic straits, cutting back on everything, yet the US still pays for 75% of NATO's expenses. Only the US, the UK, and basket-case Greece pay their treaty-mandated 2% of their GDP for defense spending. (The US actually spends 4.9% of our GDP.)
Remember a couple of years ago when Europe was all up in arms about the mess Muammar Gaddafi was making of Libya? With great chest-beating they demanded NATO military intervention. Yes, they got it.....on our dime. And a nickle of that we had to borrow.
According to an article in the NYT:
“We are moving toward a Europe that is a combination of the unable and the unwilling,” said Camille Grand, a French military expert who directs the Foundation for Strategic Research. “European countries are continuing to be free riders, instead of working seriously to see how to act together.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere the news reported that many cancer treatment centers here who serve Medicare patients may soon have to turn some away because of a lack of funding, airline flights are backed up because we can't pay for enough air traffic controllers (that sequester thing), and our veterans can't get the VA benefits we promised them without waiting up to a year for their paperwork to be processed.
I'm no longer getting a warm fuzzy about NATO covering my back. What exactly does NATO do these days, except spend our money for us?