Even as the Kremlin’s military budget continues to shrink, Western military leaders are claiming Russia poses an “existential threat” to them, justifying greater and greater expenditures on their own weapons of war.
A new report by a British think tank has warned that if present budgetary trends continue, Europe could become the world’s fastest-growing region in terms of military spending.
On Thursday, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank released its Military Balance 2021 report, a broad annual measure of military trends around the globe. In the report, the academics note that defense spending by European nations, particularly those part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance, have risen sharply in recent years.
The upward trajectory is mostly due to the alliance’s “2% rule,” following a 2014 pledge made in the midst of the Ukraine crisis for members to increase their defense spending to 2% of their gross domestic product by 2024. While the agreement was made while Barack Obama was US president, it was under Donald Trump that the US began putting serious pressure on the 29 other members of the alliance to “contribute their fair share” to the collective defense.
A chart included in the report effectively illustrates the magnitude of the US’ defense budget, which at $738 billion is nearly equal in size to the combined defense budgets of the next 15 largest national defense budgets combined….