Thought you might be interested in the latest from AEI's Director of Advanced Strategic Studies, Gary Schmitt on Europe's declining defense budgets. In "The Demilitarization of Europe" in today's Wall Street Journal, Schmitt points out the absence of defense spending in the NATO draft "Strategic Concept" that is circulating among member countries in advance of the upcoming summit in Lisbon in November, which is indicative of NATO countries' unwillingness to address the accelerating decline in their defense budgets.
He explains that "in 2002, at the NATO summit in Prague, the allies endorsed a target for each member to spend at least 2% of its GDP on defense. But in 2009, aside from the U.S., only four of NATO's 28 members met that target: the U.K., France, Greece and Albania--with France and Albania just barely meeting it. In comparison, America's defense burden stands at 4.9% of GDP, or if war costs are subtracted, 3.6%."
Schmitt warns "if America's allies want a say at the table when it comes to security matters and, more importantly, want to be listened to, they cannot assume that the U.S. will always pick up the check to maintain global order," and also that "two cents on the dollar hardly seems an exorbitant amount for free states to pay for the defense of peace and prosperity. And if this does seem like too much money, NATO countries might consider the costs of the alternative."
Gary Schmitt is available for interview and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (202.862.5831). For additional media inquiries, please contact Veronique Rodman at email@example.com (202.862.4871) or Sara Huneke at firstname.lastname@example.org (202.862.4870).