Procurement: Countries Closer to Russia Spend More on Defense


February 28, 2024: NATO countries closer to Russia spend more on defense because they are more aware of the threat. That’s why these countries also spend higher percentages of GDP in aid to Ukraine. Estonia, Denmark, Lithuania, Norway, and Latvia lead in providing aid to Ukraine when measured as a ratio of the GDP of these countries.

The total amount of Estonia's long-term and short-term commitments to aid Ukraine is 3.6 percent of the country's GDP. Denmark ranks second in this indicator with 2.4 percent, followed by Norway with 1.7 percent, Lithuania with 1.54 percent, and Latvia with 1.2 percent.

In terms of the total amount of aid and commitments to support Ukraine as a percentage of GDP, Germany's aid is 0.6 percent, France's is 0.59 percent, Great Britain's is 0.5 percent, and the United States' is 0.32 percent.

On the other hand, the European Union leads in the amount of aid provided or promised to Ukraine with a total of $91.5 billion, $5.5 billion being military aid. The United States sent Ukraine $73 billion but $42 billion was military aid. Germany is in third place with $23.75 billion in aid with 17.7 billion being military aid.

In the United States there are problems with actually delivering the promised aid. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are delaying approval of American aid to Ukraine because of disagreements in the legislature over how much should be spent dealing with illegal migration across America’s southern border. While protecting Ukraine from Russian invaders is important to Americans, their own invasion crisis on their southern border is closer to home.

The United States has long called on European NATO countries to increase their defense spending rather than depending on the Americans to carry most of the financial and military burden of defending Europe. The combined GDPs of European NATO members are equal to that of the United States, yet the Europeans still expect the Americans to pay more than Europeans to defend Europe. A growing number of American voters and politicians have been questioning this situation, which has existed since the end of World War II. Back in the late 1940s and throughout the 50s and 60s you could make a case for the United States spending more than their European allies on European defense. In the 1970s the European economies that were shattered by World War II began to recover and in the 21st Century returned to prominence in terms of sheer size and the volume of exports. The Americans pointed out that the U.S. can now step back on spending for European defense because Europeans can afford to defend themselves and provide most of the needed financial and military support for Ukraine. While the United States still produces a lot more weapons than European nations, the Americans are willing to increase their weapons sales to European countries so those European allies can give more aid to Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine is all about the Russian government correctly believing that it cannot be a great power again without controlling the Ukraine, which had a disproportionate amount of the ex-Soviet Union’s heavy industry, military production, and particularly its high-tech development and production. President-for-life Putin also wants to grab back most of the now independent bordering countries which used to be former Soviet Republics.

Ukraine wants to join the European Union and NATO. Russia considers Ukraine part of Russia and calls the invasion of Ukraine an internal matter. Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons on NATO nations if NATO does not halt its aid to what Russia considers Russian rebels calling themselves Ukrainians. Russian leader Vladimir Putin believes the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a great tragedy and wants to put the Soviet Union back together again. He ignores the fact that the non-Russian elements of the Soviet Union do not want to rejoin a new version of the Soviet Union.

Some of those former Soviet Union components, like the Baltic States are now NATO members. While Poland stayed out of the Soviet Union, they remember that World War II began in 1939 when Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to partition Poland between them. Germany didn’t invade the Soviet Union until 1941 and the Russians were not expecting that because they had a mutual non-aggression treaty with Germany since 1939 that included secret clauses detailing how Germany and the Soviet Union would eventually divide Eastern and Central European countries between them.

In 1941 Germany decided to try and take it all and invaded the Soviet Union after having conquered France and other European countries the year before. Germany decided Britain was too difficult to invade and decided to go after the Soviet Union first and conquer Britain later. The Americans stayed out of all this until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and Germany, which was allied with Japan, declared war on the United States. Britain was saved because they and the United States were now allies in the war against Japan and Germany. In 1941 Britain had considerable possessions in south (India) and east (Singapore) Asia. The Japanese took Singapore, but India proved too big and too far away for them.

Germany and Japan were not too big for the Americans to defeat and that’s what they did by 1945. The United States developed nuclear weapons with the intention of using them on Germany, but the Germans surrendered in May 1945, before the Americans' nuclear weapons were ready.

Japan held out until September 1945 when American nuclear bombs were dropped in two Japanese cities. Mass attacks by American B-29 bombers had already demolished several Japanese cities but that required several raids by hundreds of bombers. The nuclear weapons did it with one B-29 dropping a nuclear bomb on two Japanese cities. That forced the Japanese to surrender and saved a lot of Japanese lives because American warships and submarines had already halted food supplies from Japanese-occupied northern China from reaching Japan. That, plus the two nuclear bombs was more than the fanatical Japanese generals could handle and the Japanese surrendered in September 1945. This was just after Soviet armies had completed their movement from Europe to Manchuria to attack Japanese-occupied Manchuria.

The Soviet Union dominated East European countries after World War II and stationed armies in those nations that bordered NATO countries. In 1989-91 the Soviets withdrew from Europe and in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. For many Europeans that was the end of World War II, which for Europeans began in 1939 and in one form or another lasted over fifty years. In the 21st Century Russia decided it was time to restore the Soviet Union and Russian domination of Eastern Europe.




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