NATO and EU missions are hampered by low defense budgets among almost all the states of both organizations. “For decades, successive secretary generals of NATO said defense budgets are too low to do the things we have to do,” said Appathurai, the NATO spokesman. ~International Herald-Tribune
Continuing our NATO-fest, which our Scene colleague Matt Frost has also joined, James points to this IHT story on the stillborn Rapid Reaction Force. This makes you wonder how much Australia, Japan et al. would really bring to the the “new NATO” of Giuliani’s fever dreams. Australia has been engaged in a military buildup that has brought its defense spending to a whopping 2% of GDP, while Japan’s defense budget is 1% and India’s is just a little over 2%. That means that India and Australia just barely meet minimum NATO standards of a defense budget at 2% of GDP, and Japan does not. In absolute terms, they are three of the top twelve nations in military spending, but their budgets are not that much larger than those of mid-level NATO states, such as Spain and Poland. Britain’s capacity has already been pushed to the limit (while being gutted by the Blair Government at the same time), and it is one of the better-funded NATO members. If most current NATO members cannot be bothered to increase their spending (and they can’t), why would India, Australia or Japan do so to provide resources for a “new NATO”? Coming back to Ross’ question: what would the “new NATO” actually be trying to do that would persuade Indian, Australian and Japanese voters to accept larger and larger military budgets?
P.S. Yes, I realise this tends to give a manifestly stupid idea far more consideration than it probably deserves, but there are so many things wrong with the proposal that it is difficult to sum them all up in one or two posts.