Sunday, May 28, 2017

Letter to The Post and Courier

In a Nov. 13 editorial titled “The next president’s policies,” you talked about being concerned about Trump “sounding less than committed to fulfilling our security treaty obligations.”
Let’s be clear, I am far from a Trump supporter, but this comment ignores the reality of NATO’s “obligations” to each other. NATO countries are supposed to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense in order to support their obligations towards mutual defense. In 2015, countries other than the United
States shirked that obligation to the tune of $100 billion. Let that sink in. This means the United States is subsidizing European social democracies by $100 billion. That’s a $100 billion that we could, theoretically be spending on our own social programs.
Obviously we wouldn’t suddenly divert all that money away from defense, but imagine if we did. What would $100 billion a year pay for? Fix Social Security? Improve mental health care? Expand Medicaid or fix the Affordable Care Act? Tax cuts?
It gets worse. Five countries in the top 10 of GDP in NATO make up $80 billion of that gap. Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands have all outsourced their national defense to the United States. Only five of the 28 countries spend 2 percent of GDP on defense.
Twenty-three NATO countries are not meeting their obligations for mutual defense, yet we are to be castigated for even suggesting that we might be tired of carrying the weight of the world on our military’s back. America is paying for those wonderful European social welfare programs that we are told we should be emulating.
I say if we’re going to be like them, let’s go all the way. One percent of 2015 GDP (what Canada spends) would be $180 billion (rough numbers). Cut military spending from $600 billion to $180 billion and we would have money for the best social welfare system in the world.
Obviously I am not suggesting we do any of the above, but let’s point fingers in the right direction.

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