As a forensic expert who advocates for facts and evidence, I learned a long time ago to stick to the facts and never venture outside my wheelhouse of expertise. So when watching FOX News’s eloquent Martha MacCollum interviewing FOX contributor Charles Krauthammer downplaying President Trump’s accomplishment in calling out our NATO partners for not paying their fair share of NATO defense spending and renegotiating their financial involvement in defending Europe, I was reminded that an expert loses credibility every time they allow their implicit biases to cloud common sense and facts and evidence.
In short, I will tell you that I learned that Dr. Krauthammer who is a psychiatrist by trade, knows less about international military security than I know about Alzheimer’s disease. Time and time again as Ms. MacCollum discussed the facts about America’s financial burden in historically paying the lion’s share of NATO’s defense budget, while twenty of our twenty-eight strategic partners pay less than their contracted 2% of GDP, the good Dr. Krauthammer refused to concede that President Trump had accomplished anything meaningful at the G-8 Summit in cajoling our deadbeat NATO partners to contribute their fair share. Careful doctor. Your overt dislike for the President, combined with your lack of knowledge about NATO’s military funding is showing.
For those of you who are interested, here are the vetted facts about who contributes what and how much into the NATO alliance.
First, NATO funding comes in three forms: Civil, military and the NATO Security Investment Program (NISP). The NISP provides infrastructure spending aimed at improving the organization’s anti-terrorism and crisis control capabilities.
From FY2009 to FY2010, America’s contribution to NATO’s military budget – provided through the Department of the Army’s Operations and Maintenance account – was about 23% of the organization’s total military budget. During those two fiscal years, the U.S. contributed $408.051 million and $430.381 million respectively. Today, our NATO contribution now accounts for over 72% of the organization’s total budget.
In 2010, America’s contribution to NATO’s Civil Budget, provided through the State Department’s Contributions to International Organizations, was nearly 22%, with payments of $66.1 million and $84.1 million, respectively. The Congressional Budget Service (CBS) documents that the U.S. also provided funds to NSIP through military construction appropriations to the tune of $330.8 million in FY 2009 and $197.4 million in FY2010.
According to the Congressional Budget Service American taxpayers are currently shelling out about $650 million to prop up NATO. This accounts for 3.6% of our nation’s GDP – nearly twice what we should be paying to keep NATO viable. This is in comparison to the meager non-GDP NATO budget contributions of Great Brittan at 6.6%, France at 4.9%, Germany at 4.4%, Greece at 2.3%, Turkey at 1.5% and Italy at 1%.
Five NATO allies spend less than 1% of their GDP to support NATO. These include Canada, Luxemburg, Belgium, Spain and Slovenia. From 1991 – 2015, 20 of the 28 nations comprising NATO have consistently paid less than their contracted and promised 2% of national GDP. Several of these countries are wealthy First World nations. This is irresponsible and an insult to the United States who saved Europe from total enslavement by the Nazis and Fascists at the cost of tens of thousands of American lives, blood and treasure. After WW II, we also made enormous additional financial sacrifices to rebuild Europe’s decimated countries.
Currently, U.S. taxpayers bear the costs of salaries, training and defense ammunition; the costs of moving military vehicles, artillery, anti-missile defense systems; and in many cases, for even the food that the soldiers from several of our NATO allies eat.
One of my military friends told me this week that some of our allies like France, Germany and Italy apparently felt so comfortable with their American food subsidies that their military administrators splurged on chefs to cook wonderful European and Mediterranean meals for their troops, while U.S. soldiers ate processed food from base commissaries. He told me that he and his fellow soldiers soon began eating with their European counterparts. Who wouldn’t? Why eat at MacDonald’s when you can have Italian?
In 2016, the United States paid out over $800 million to counter Russia’s aggressive insertion into the Ukraine and to boost our footprint in central and eastern Europe. This is what it costs to redeploy and position more soldiers, equipment and supplies into the region in the event Russia enters and threatens eastern Europe and our NATO allies.
The failure of our NATO partners to fully support the organization towards its military readiness has resulted in America’s overburdened state of military readiness both abroad and at home. Just ask any military quartermaster, supply chief, or flight line maintenance crew chief. Our military worldwide is experiencing plummeting readiness levels and heaps of equipment needing immediate repair or replacement. This has resulted in tanks, vehicles, and artillery that don’t work and jets and helicopters removed from the flight line. Often, our soldiers, Marines and sailors don’t even have sufficient ammunition to practice. This is disgraceful and a potentially huge threat to our national security.
So, when the uninformed, pedantic and biased Dr. Krauthammer opines absent the forensic facts that President Trump made no real progress in reasserting America’s power to force our deadbeat dad NATO allies to pay their fair share, you should be just as angry as me as these know-nothing media pundits.
Just imagine how much less taxes we would all be paying out and how much money we would be able to bring home to our families if NATO allies paid their fair share? Yes, I think President Trump will have accomplished a lot if he continues to speak up for working Americans and holding our NATO allies’ feet to the financial fire. As for you Dr. Krauthammer, please get back into your wheelhouse where you belong. You sir, are no international security expert. Just stick to psychiatry where you belong.
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