Hot answers tagged

90

Complaining is Cheap, Building is Expensive Simply put, it takes very little money and effort to complain, even on a diplomatic stage. (This is also why the most common reaction to a problem on the international stage is an expression of deep concerns.) It makes RF look more peaceful than it is, implicitly puts a defensive spin on some of the military ...


66

This is a great question about both politics and history. It relates directly to the changing nature of what a "country" is. First, let me directly answer your questions: Given that France, Germany and the UK have larger economies than that of Russia, why do they spend less in defense than that of Russia and always seem to be scared of Russia? ...


64

The 2% goal for defense spending of all NATO countries originates from the Wales Summit of 2014. However, the people who made that commitment are heads of governments, many of which don't actually have the authority to make budgeting decisions. This includes the German Chancellor. The Bundestag (German parliament) which actually has that authority never ...


59

A missile defence system that can intercept ICBMs is a tricky proposition. ICBMs move very high (above the atmosphere) and fast. Hitting them in the orbital coasting phase is nigh-on impossible, certainly for ground-based interceptors. Hitting them in the terminal phase is possible, since their trajectory is well defined at that point, but problematic ...


50

Mostly true First claim: exaggerated In the three decades before Trump's election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds. On page 4 of this 1987 report(pdf) on NATO military spending, we learn that in 1987 they were globally spending 5.0% of their GDP on defense. More precisely: USA: 6.6% Canada: 2.1% (Western) Europe: 3.4% In 2016, i.e. year 1 before ...


48

Absolute and relative amounts Germany has come much closer to the 2% goal due to the COVID crisis -- the GDP went down, the defense budget stayed the same, so the percentage went up. Similarly, good years reduced the percentage without any defense cuts. Rejection of war as a means of policy. Germany has spent 40 years at the frontline of the Cold War, a war ...


48

TLDR: It would be grossly unfair to think that the NATO and US military did not try their very best to win this. Many soldiers paid a very high price and are now justifiably very distressed. Pretty certain however is that the US and NATO governments were careless and overconfident when they engaged in yet another hard-to-win guerilla war. For 20 years, ...


44

It is impossible to understand Russia's preoccupation over seven decades with military power without understanding the country's experience in WW2. The war had a huge impact on the national psyche of all participants, including the US, Britain and France. But if you look at the cost in terms of lives lost, the western losses bear no comparison whatever to ...


30

Using military force is one way for NATO to counter aggression against one of its members, but not the only one. Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty reads: The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack ...


29

NATO won't let them in right now. NATO is an alliance of nations who promise to defend each other's territorial integrity, among other things. There are some catches to that, so the Falklands war did not become a NATO Article 5 situation because those are South Atlantic islands, yet the 911 attack on New York did. NATO supports the Ukrainian right to make a ...


27

The previous answer gave plenty of numbers, so let me focus on How true are Trump’s claims that the US is unfairly paying for Europe’s defense [...] ? Once upon a time, the US and their Western European allies were menaced by the Soviet Union and their Eastern European allies. The Group of Soviet Forces in Germany stood ready to roll through the Fulda ...


27

The main factor has to be the fear of public debt and symbolic importance of balanced budgets (schwarze Null) in the German political discourse. The notion that the state should avoid building up debt and strive towards a balanced budget every single year plays an oversize role in the way the German media and public judge many issues. That's not the case in ...


26

NATO could, but doesn't have to. Article 5 of the north-atlantic treaty reads: The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective ...


25

No, internal conflicts and secession attempts do not qualify as “armed attacks” under the North Atlantic Treaty (itself based on the UN charter, article 51, which only covers actions between states). The most obvious historical example is the Algerian War, in which Algeria – then a part of France and covered by the treaty, as explicitly acknowledged in ...


24

Short answer: it is not allowed to join NATO. By the end of WW2 Austria and Germany were occupied by the Allies. In 1955 Austria signed a treaty with the Allies, which - in essence - ended Allied occupation in return for a declaration of perpetual neutrality. This is the reason why there are foreign military bases in Germany (e.g. Ramstein Air Base of the ...


23

There were many preexisting diverging views on international law. The open disagreements about e.g. the NATO intervention in Kosovo don't constitute the main problem, because in such a case the disagreement is made explicit, everyone knows what the differing views are, problems can then be prevented. The main issue are the many cases where Russia believes ...


23

Given that these countries spend so much on defense, Why do these countries seek US help/alliance to counter Russia? Because Russia has a cheaper military than Europe does. According to Wikipedia, Russia has 3,364,000 members of the military. By your numbers, the United Kingdom is second in military spending in that group, but they only have 248,250 ...


23

As far as I knew, Russia invaded Ukraine because Ukraine wanted to join the West. The situation wasn't quite so simple. Western Ukraine wanted to join the West, Eastern Ukraine wanted stronger ties with Russia, and the political balance was razor thin. In 2007 parliamentary elections, the breakdown was as follows: Orange Parties (Pro-Western) Yulia ...


22

I like the answer by Kayndarr, but I think it can be put more succinct: NATO would have a reduced capability to project significant power in the Middle East and Caucasus trouble spots. With "significant power" I mean corps and mechanized divisions, not drones and IBCTs and fighter squadrons. NATO would have a reduced requirement to protect NATO ...


21

Russia is a much larger country, geographically. It has more border to defend and wants to maintain the capability to fight on two fronts. The UK and France maintain strategic nuclear defence capabilities, which are the final safeguard against an invasion. Despite the absolute spending values, the EU militaries are generally higher-tech than the Russian ...


21

A scathing take, answering the question, or at least going to the origins of the protracted military action, can be found in this 20-year retrospective piece (and rant), entitled "Was There A Plan In Afghanistan?" by John Dolan, better known as War Nerd. Note that it was published well before last week's events. No endorsement of the site linked ...


20

MAD can be considered desirable Your proposal, where both USA and Russia have effective anti-ICBM systems, would mean the end of mutually assured destruction. This is not necessarily a good thing, as this means that whoever has an advantage (or merely thinks they have one) may be motivated to do a destructive first strike without fearing retaliation, ...


20

There's nothing in the treaty that prevents Turkey from doing what it's doing. First and foremost, NATO is a defense alliance that's aimed at attacks against its member states. While the Kurds in Syria are an ad-hoc ally of some NATO members, Turkey views them as enemies. Allies of NATO members are not protected by NATO, so there is no article 5 obligation ...


19

They aren't legally obliged to: Nowhere in the NATO Treaty does it mention that they have to put 2% towards defense, it is simply the recommended sum. As a part of this several NATO countries have populations which believe that 2% isn't a requirement to have a functional military e.g. Canada Other NATO countries like Germany claim that: "Two per cent ...


19

As of December 2017, the Security Council continues to produce resolutions that condemn terrorism and authorise (resolutions 2395 and 2396). There does not appear to be a resolution that notes the defeat of any terrorist group in the region. Article 5 was not written in anticipation of a terrorist conflict, instead it expects war with a State actor that ...


18

Two reasons. First, because there's simply no internal pressure to massively increase defense spending (over 50% in 10 years) in Germany - other answers cover that part in detail and from different angles. Also, for historical reasons the other European NATO powers do not apply external pressure to make Germany take the top spot when it comes to military ...


17

The treaty is geared towards international threats, so that would be unlikely. It could theoretically trigger article 4 of the treaty. The latter states that: The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened. It got used only a few ...


17

No (modern) international agreement condones wars of aggression. What article 5 of the NATO treaty and article 42 (7) of the TEU establish is an obligation to assist the country being attacked (with many nuances and caveats) and certainly not any obligation to help a country attack another one (even by remaining neutral). There is therefore no conflict of ...


16

Historically, United Nations never had any chances to interfiere the will of United States or any of their allies. Syria is not an isolated case and we need to see two examples about the US behavior in the foreign policy to understand this point of view: Cuba's embargo: Since 1992, every year, the United Nations (specifically the General Assembly) approves ...


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