Should Europe increase Defence spending in light of recent issues?

Should   Europe   increase Defence spending in light of recent issues?

I'd like to start off if anyone actually reads this I'm not advocating war. I'm not trying to push an imperialist agenda. I am a UK citizen and this is as much food for thought as it is a simple question.

It's a response to the recent NATO meeting in Wales I believe it was basically saying (*coughs* western) Europe basically needs to increase spending due to the likes of Isis, recent events in the Ukraine and Russia's involvement.

I'd like to make a point here I'm not going to argue over Russias involvement. To the resident internet Russians, I've nothing against Russia. I don't see you as a 'threat' currently. Without the US Europe wouldn't win a war against you etc etc. I'm not going to have that argument now. Having seen videos of the weponary and specifically just how well the rebel fighters are supplied in the Ukraine are, to me it says Russia is giving the rebels weapons, supplies etc at the least. That's fine you guys are perfectly entitled to. As a westerner I can't criticize for funding rebel groups whether it was right or wrong anyway. Russia can have it's own foreign policy and can do what it wants but if those goals are looking a little distasteful to me or my country you can understand why I'd at least like a big enough stick to make you think before trying anything against me or my interests especially when I'm not completely sure what you're going to do.

This ultimately goes back to the topic of defence spending. Western Europe specifically where defence spending has fallen so much has enjoyed a good period of peace. Sure we've been involved in the whole middle east etc but since the fall of the Berlin wall the biggest thing in Europe I would say was the Bosnian incident (this is upon hearing how it's refrenced to I really no nothing at all about it, I am but a young grasshopper and it is before my time). For all our media like to portray Isis is not a large threat to us. (I'll have no comments of the 'unstoppable tide of Islam' please, immigration is an issue but a different one we can discuss it elsewhere). Last I heard they were a bunch of unorganized, untrained but surprisingly equipped and numbering at a few ten thousand. As soon as you put that against a well equipped but more specifically well trained force, training is key, they don't particularly stand up well against it when it comes to the fighting. The middle east isn't really a threat to Europe , terrorism is all well and nasty but it isn't a threat to the sovereignty and mass population if you get caught by them it's as much bad luck and timing as anything else. (the nuclear dirty bomb issue is something else I know I'm excluding it in this case it's a different kind of threat).

However, one of the largest militaries in the world is potentially a threat to Europe. Again no offense intended to Russians but you recent activity or lack of as you're telling us has either way caused quite a stir in the baltics if you hadn't noticed and many nations such as Poland, Finland etc are deciding to spend quite a bit more all of a sudden. They're obviously scared no one starts spending a few hundred million more on defence for the fun of it (unless you're American ;) ).

I am all for cooperation I'd much rather we all get along. But a military is their for security. And we can't have our way of life or any stable way of life without security. We need a military and it needs to be big enough that it is a credible defence on standby. A recent report from the German defence..... Ministry I can't remember what its called declared only 8 of their 100 odd typhoon fighter jets ready to be deployed. It's a similar story with other things. It's not that Germany lacks equipment. It has plenty. It lacks the personnel and supplies to keep that force effective and the impression is the other biggest European nations France and the UK are not that different. That's not a sustainable plan for security.... Ever. A US review estimated Europe's capabilities to be a quarter of that of the U.S. the US being able to maintain a force overseas of around 400,000 and Europe only 100,000 yet European defence spending is around half of the US budget. We're hiding the truth as more things than we realize are either in storage/ not maintained. If that wasn't an issue are military's aren't at a bad size but since defence spending is offensively expensive we need to spend more it's not something we can stop doing pretending we don't need something credible.

So, here's an idea. A European military. The biggest advantage being an increase in efficiency. You loose certain administration costs, infrastructure costs etc etc whatever... the end result is an overall stronger military force in Europe for less money. It doesn't have to be huge just enough to ensure security. Individual European nations can no longer stay at the forefront on their own modern technology's are so expensive it just can't be done we're not big enough population wise. We need to start doing things together and some of us are abysmal unproductive we need to change that and become as efficient as ze Germans or possibly even Swiss if we can manage that.

As I said, I don't currently fear an invasion from Russia, but if you look at the state's of our militaries is western Europe none are in any state to respond to a dedicated invasion of say a baltic's state for example, certainly without the US at the minute there's nothing we could do. We don't need a massive military, we don't necessarily need American levels, not at all. Just enough to be a detternt for the next 10, 20, 50 years. Europe needs to decide how it will do that whatever the threat may be then. To Me ar least working together works in everyone's favour.

Again, food for thought, if anyone does read this don't take it too seriously in the opinions please.


Most Helpful Girl

  • hmmm... I have close relatives in Estonia, I spend summers there, and I know that they are concerned about Putin's possible desire to reclaim old Soviet borders. My Estonian people are very western thinking, hence their entrance into the EU as well as NATO. However, they are very dependent upon the west for their defense. I only hope, for the sake of that beautiful little country as well as for the whole Baltic region, That the NATO countries and the US will uphold the NATO alliance agreement should Putin stir up trouble in the Baltics. I am not sure that directly addresses your monograph. I do know that the people of Estonia are counting on the west.

    • I know and that troubles me a bit. NATO Is not permanent no alliance is. I don't think Europe wants to spend that much money on defence either to please the American ideal so I fear Europe is not going to plan accordingly. Russia may not desire to try for the UK, France Germany etc but there are many smaller nations it may try for. I feel sorry that they've come to rely on us when really they need better. Ultimately I think a single European state as such or something along those lines. A single government is the only long term solution if we wish to remain on the world stage.

      I'm really sorry if I get this wrong, Estonia is northern baltics is it not? Where should I visit in Estonia? :)

    • yes, Estonia is the northern most country of the Baltics. I could go on forever about what you should see. Tallinn is the capital and the old town is on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Our family has property in the little city of Parnu, which is on the sea and is just beautiful in the summer.
      There are also beautiful islands to visit, as well as national parks. If you ever do decide to go, let me know and I will be your guide:)

    • That would be fantastic I'd love to :)

      Just need money and time first :P

Most Helpful Guy

  • I agree entirely. I have read about this topic a lot and think about if often so I'm suprised to find it here in the home of penis and "boobs or butts" questions.

    The issue for me is that the US is turning it's focus to Asia now given the rise of China. This means that Japan will become a more important ally for the US while the European nations will become less important. I'm pretty sure that it's pretty much an established part of US foreign policy now to focus more on Asia. The US won't have the time or interest to solve all of Europe's problems as it has done in the past.

    Europe needs to have the capicity to defend it's own interests and none of them are capable of doing it by themselves.

    I would argue however that ISIS does create chaos in the Middle East. These leads to instability in the European neighbourhood which is a problem that causes refugees and economic problems and can spread. Also, the trend of European born citizens going to fight for ISIS is dangerous as many will come back as experienced fighters for a terrorist organisation.

    • In the past paragraph, it should be 'this' not 'these'.

    • Show All
    • It's a nice idea but I can't help but think an American coming from the outside and trying to fix things will be viewed upon as interfering into things they don't fully understand. I'm not sure it would particularly help at the minute.

Join the discussion

What Girls Said 1

  • Yes please, I'm Pro-European allies but I don't like it when the U. S. Is asked to step in then later get the switch called as bullies. That said I also do t like it when the US does in fact go it alone and be the bully. I don't think any nation should act unilaterally. We all need to come together to help those under threat out there. I'd love to volunteer to help to keep refugees from drowning. I known Italy and Greece can't take them all but let's get some funds and resettle these people.

    • The US is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. In truth, Europe depends on the US for much and without the US, I doubt Europe would be as peaceful as it is and I doubt we could get away with spending so little on defence.

      Wrt the refugees, I agree. Unfortunately some nations views on this is a little backward. I heard that the British government refused to help migrants in the Mediterranean as they thought it would just encourage more to try and travel. Basically, they believe we need the threat of drowning as a disincentive to migrants to attempt to immigrate to Europe .

    • Well Britain has made it clear they want their autonomy keep the sterling and being outside the EU Border. They have take many refugees of past and aren't set to take more at present. Switzerland could but they have carte Blanche. Germany can, Austria can. Their are countries in Europe not in the EU protected by the Eu de facto that sit quietly and do nothing...

    • I think people just feel the US has been overly aggressive in the middle east rather than elsewhere but we do appreciate America being there and Europe does need to pull more weight in NATO as much for its own sake as anything else.

      We can take immigrants but there is a large view that we don't want more middle easterns specifically Muslims and that sort of culture 'area' here. It's one of those things...

What Guys Said 2

  • Well I'm from Latvia so of course more defenses against Russia would be fine. You never know where the bear will stumble next.

    • I feel the problem is Putin. Some of the meanwhile in Russia videos terrify me don't get me wrong but I don't feel the Russian people are all wanting war given any chance.

      We can solve this problem by talking. Greeting with open arms. We just need a stick in the other hand just incase

  • I feel like Russians are Europeans

    • I'd love that to be the case. More is always achieved by working together but it doesn't feel like they are 'europeans' if you were or that they are part of the large European group that work together

    • It doesn't matter what land mass you want to group them in they are isolationist/ separatists and friends to no one... or at least when I say they I mean Putin. He's threatening Islands held by Scandinavian countries which is very worrisome as it kind of gives you an idea of his playbook should he be forced to put a A/C Carrier their...

    • Yeah that's what I was referring to. They've said that NATO is very aggressively surrounding them and they are taking appropriate action or that's what the state and internet warriors say I'm not sure the current Ukraine incident would extend in that.

      It's difficult I can understand the concern if they were to still fear NATO as it is surrounding them. It's difficult to tell all the way from behind a computer screen who thinks what exactly and why.