Several weeks ago, the [RAND Corporation] released [a] study that received a fair amount of attention. Financed by the Pentagon, they created a series of simulations for a hypothetical Russian invasion of the two Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia.
"The outcome was, bluntly, a disaster for NATO," the RAND researchers wrote in their report. In each simulation, the Russians were able to either circumvent the outnumbered NATO units, or even worse, destroy them. Between 36 and 60 hours after the beginning of hostilities, Russian troops stood before the gates of Riga or Tallinn -- or both.
Says Spiegel. The solution? Spend more money:
The Americans in particular are putting pressure on the Europeans to once again invest more significantly in their own defense. In March, US President Barack Obama complained about the European "free riders" who are profiting from American protection while refusing to take on their "fair share."
Donald Trump must be Obama’s new speech writer.
Since then, numerous NATO states have announced that they intend to once again invest more money in defense. Fifteen of the 28 member states have increased their military spending…
Let’s Look at the Numbers
NATO countries spend $920 billion in military expenditures. By the time you include various clandestine and off-budget items, I will suggest the figure is significantly higher, but we will go with this figure. Take out the United States and Canada (the non-European countries) and the spending is $293 billion.
Other US allies (Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Israel, and Taiwan), all useful in hounding and surrounding Russia, spend about $210 billion.
Russia spends $52 billion. For kicks, China (the other global island enemy) spends $145 billion.
So…NATO and other US allies spend $1.13 trillion dollars a year on military expenditures, Russia and China spend under $200 billion. European NATO countries spend over $290 billion and Russia spends about $50 billion.
Yet somehow the problem, as Spiegel offers, is that NATO does not spend enough; NATO needs to spend more. Unfortunately for NATO (do you see my tears), this spending increase isn’t going to happen. None of the alliance members meet the list of nine parameters held by NATO to measure capabilities and readiness – not even the United States.
One key parameter is to spend 2% of GDP on defense; only 6 out of 28 NATO member countries reach this target. What might hinder one of the larger NATO members from ever achieving this 2% target…well, I will allow Spiegel to explain:
If it was taken seriously, Germany would need to increase its defense budget by 5.5 billion year after year until 2024. In the end, Germany would be the continent's greatest military might by far, which probably wouldn't make all of its European neighbors happy.
No, it wouldn’t. Probably the opposite, actually.
NATO outspends Russia by a factor of 18 to 1; European NATO countries outspend Russia by a factor of 5.5 to 1. NATO and all US allies outspend Russia and China combined by almost 6 to 1.
Yet there is no protection for Estonia and Latvia. More spending by NATO countries isn’t going to change this reality.
Maybe they can try diplomacy?