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Alliances Are Hard Work … And Expensive

2:23 PM, Sep 2, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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With the president attending this week's NATO summit in Wales, and the heightened concerns among the organization’s members – especially the newer ones with experience of hand’s-on Russian domination and rule – it might be profitable for our “allies” to consider some facts reported by Gideon Rachman in the FT:

The pattern of Nato spending reflects Europe’s increasing reliance on the US. At the height of the cold war, America accounted for roughly half the military spending of the alliance, with the rest of Nato accounting for the other 50 per cent. Now, however, the US accounts for some 75 per cent of Nato spending. Last year, of the 28 Nato members, only the US, Britain, Greece and Estonia met the alliance’s target of spending at least 2 per cent of gross domestic product on defence. Even the UK may soon slip below 2 per cent, with the British army on course to shrink to about 80,000, its smallest size since just after the Napoleonic wars.

Two obvious truths the leaders of NATO might want to discuss this week:

First, alliances and coalitions tend not work well when some members are sandbagging. And, second, the United States, of all NATO members, has the least to fear, in the way of direct consequences, from increased Russian aggressiveness.  We have our own oil, a Navy, and are flanked by two big oceans that cannot be crossed by tanks.

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