Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday stating that the viability of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is contingent upon a more equitable distribution of the collective defense burden, and requesting that this be a top priority of the administration at next month’s NATO Summit in Warsaw.
According to NATO’s own figures, the United States’ defense spending accounts for 73% of defense spending in the alliance as a whole despite the fact that the combined GDP of all other allies is higher than that of the United States.
Nearly half of the alliance members have failed to meet long-standing goals for defense spending as a proportion of GDP despite the pleas of both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations. Lately, the United States has been forced to spend emergency funds to enhance European defenses in the face of new Russian aggression even though the combined economies of European nations are vastly larger and more stable than that of Russia. The letter states:
“In lieu of giving our highly capable European allies a crutch of defense aid for years to come, we must begin making this aid contingent upon real investment from their governments starting with adjustments to their national budgets now.”
NATO stands to play a beneficial role for the United States and Europe as it did in the 20th Century, but important reforms and budgetary policies must be enacted by our allies to keep up with the geo-political and economic changes since the end of the Cold War.
You can read a PDF version of the full letter here.