Top U.S. military officials including Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford and Air Force Secretary Deborah James said earlier this week that Russia was the biggest security threat to the United States. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and top NATO officials have voiced similar concerns in the past few months.
Only four NATO members meet defense spending norms
However, Brian Becker of the anti-war Answer Coalition says that Washington is beating drums of war against Russia to get Europe to boost their defense spending. Increased European military spending means more purchase of military equipment from the United States. Becker added that Europe has experienced two World Wars and know the dangers of war.
Most of the European countries spend very low percentage of their GDP on defense. NATO requires all of its 28 member states to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. However, only four of the 28 members are doing it. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), defense spending of the UK, France, Germany and Italy has declined from 2009 to 2014.
Don’t European countries fear the imminent threat from Russia?
Germany and Italy spend only 1.1% of their GDP on military, while the figure stands at 1.8% for France. By citing Russia as an existential threat, the U.S. officials have repeatedly urged NATO members to step up their defense expenditure. And a lot of that money will go to the U.S. defense contractors, says Becker. He said the war propaganda against Russia is actually good for the U.S. and its defense contractors.
When asked whether European officials don’t fear the imminent threats from Russia that Washington is citing, Becker said European countries know that “this is hogwash.” They know that the American politicians and military officials have close ties with arms manufacturers. Eventually, they “circulate back into corporate America.” Becker said Europeans leaders know it all too well that it will be European people on the frontlines, not Americans.