Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Possible New Solution to NATO

While reading Bookwormroom today, I had an idea - no idea whether it's a new idea, or one that has been looked at, and found wanting.

She was talking about healthcare, and why Europe had, for a time in the mid-century, had extraordinarily good experiences with socialized medicine. From the late 1940s start of NATO, European nations had been relieved from the burden of defending their countries. As countries joined, they found that a significant part of their budget was no longer their problem, but shared with the 'rich' USA.

Trump is one that wants the EU to pay more for their own defense - which, to me, seems only fair. See the chart below, which displays the portion of moneys spent, as a % of the national GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

That's a relatively reasonable arrangement, that attempts to have richer countries pay more, and those poorer countries pay a percentage of their GDP. However, even with that relative contribution, SOME countries are paying a MUCH higher percentage than others.

NATO has begun trying to level out that shared sacrifice for the good of all in the alliance. Each country is to pay 2% of their GDP.

How's that working?

I found it interesting that Poland is right on target, putting 2% exactly on the line - as she should. Poland is Target ONE in any continental war, and knows that defense is a priority.

The current NATO framework is a Commons - the defense infrastruture being a jointly held asset. Such a structural setup is one that is easily exploited by the unscrupulous, as Garrett Hardin pointed out in his book, The Tragedy of the Commons (VERY hard to find book - a condensed explanation of it is here).

I propose a different method of funding NATO. We should identify those projects/bases near countries that are meeting their funding goals, and prioritize them. For continuing and future defense expenditures, the US should match the spending of a country (perhaps with a multiplier function) of countries that want their defense shored up and improved.

In other words, those countries that have skin in the game are given the most resources.

Here are the countries that would lead the list for priority spending:
Greece, 2.38%. 
Britain, 2.21%. 
Estonia, 2.16%. 
Poland, 2%.
The presence of Greece on the list surprised me. I know of their major debt problems, and I assumed - wrongly - that they had let their guard down, putting defense low on their list of priorities. It would seem that the spirit of Thermopylae still breathes.

Molon Labe!

1 comment:

Tom Kratman said...

That percentage, while official, is low. Add to it what we spend on nukes, which doesn't show up in the defense budget, and the VA Budget which, all on it's own, it greater than the _combined_ defense budgets of the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.