And perhaps if President TwitterFingers spent more time studying and understanding the alliance, instead of tweeting about it, he would have known this as well, instead of going on one of his infamous Twitter seizures on the heels of that “great meeting” he had with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week.
So, in case you were wondering how the alliance funding works, lemme ‘splain.
No, the United States does not spend 73 percent of NATO. That number refers to our defense budget compared to those of other NATO allies. Given the fact that we’re YUUUUGE, and they’re small, it makes sense that our total defense spending – even at a reasonable 3.6 percent of GDP will be much higher than theirs.
In other words: The United States defense budget ($664.1 billion) / the sum total of all NATO allies’ defense budgets, including the United States ($918.3 billion) = .72. The United States defense budget comprises 72 percent of the sum total of defense budgets of all NATO allies. OK?
Each country decides how much it will spend on its own defense.
NATO recommends that member nations spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on their own defense. It has other recommendations, vis-a-vis defense budget breakdowns, but none of these benchmarks are requirements. Nations decide for themselves how much to spend on their defenses.
Currently, maybe 5-6 NATO allies meet that standard, including the United States, Great Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia. A number of other countries have committed to increasing their defense spending – not because Trump demanded it, but because they see the resurgent, aggressive Russia as an increasing threat, and since that’s why NATO was created in the first place, it’s a pretty logical turn of events.
NATO members do contribute some funds to common funding projects via direct contributions. This is where NATO members’ costs are assessed by the alliance based on nations’ GDP. The United States, being the biggest, baddest, and strongest member of the alliance pays roughly 22 percent of that figure. The UK pays about 9.8 percent, France pays 10.6 percent, and Germany pays 14.6 percent.
NATO is a treaty obligation for us, but members are not required to participate in all NATO operations. For NATO missions, each member decides how much they will contribute, if at all. The only exception is when NATO engages in an Article 5 collective defense operation, which requires the participation of all alliance members. Know how many times NATO invoked Article 5? Once. Know when? After the September 11 attacks on the United States. So yes, after terrorists attacked the United States, NATO members stood together and declared that an attack on the United States was an attack on all of NATO. But once again, there’s no size requirement. Allies contributed as much or as little as they assessed they could.
And no, we don’t provide defense to Germany, or any other NATO ally. We are NATO’s biggest partner, and we’re the leader of the alliance, but that doesn’t mean we give other NATO allies a penny, and that certainly doesn’t mean they owe us, considering the only time the Article 5 collective security guarantee was invoked was after an attack on US.
There are varying opinions about whether or not NATO is even needed today. Hardcore Libertarians (read: those who have no comprehension of how the alliance – or really human nature – works, and who will immediately call you ignorant and unaware of America’s oh-so-evil history of interfering in other nations’ affairs, blah, blah, blah) are screeching the alliance should be disbanded, as it’s no longer needed. I’m not even going to get into the vast numbers of conspiracy theories out there spewed by some of these nutjobs! Use your Google-fu, if you really are that interested in the crazy.
Suffice it to say, I disagree with the derpapotomi, given Russian aggression over the past several years, but that’s not what this post is about.
I would submit that the U.S. Commander-in-Chief, who ostensibly is ultimately in charge of all matters concerning our military and foreign policy, should at the very least know how America’s most significant alliance works!
And instead of once again using injudicious language on Twitter, perhaps he should spend more time studying that about which he tweets, so he doesn’t make us look like utter jackasses.
So apparently, Russian athletes will be banned from competing in the Olympic games in Rio this year, because the Russians have been using a state-sponsored doping program to give themselves an unfair advantage. The New York Times reports individual athletes will have to prove their innocence to the individual sports federations before being allowed to compete, but apparently the Russian flag will fly in Rio after Russian president Putin whined that Russia was unfairly targeted, and that the international community was just out to get poor Russia due to politics.
Now, I’ll be honest here. I haven’t given a shit about the Olympics since I was a kid. Too many commercials, too much extraneous crap, and given the bribery scandals that mar the selection of sites for the Olympic games, too much corruption within the International Olympic Committee, which I don’t want to support with my viewership. Screw that.
But I did want to briefly discuss what I find interesting.
Russia is once again being typical Russia, and it takes me back to the days of the old USSR.
The current resurgent Russia is an aggressive, cunning power that works to build up nationalist sentiment by annexing Crimea, for instance, threatening its neighbors, publicly building up and spending billions on modernizing and building up its military, and implementing a countrywide doping program to ensure its athletes dominate the sporting world.
All for the glory of mother Russia.
Meanwhile, as part of its strategy – Russia is simultaneously playing victim.
Oh, poor Russia! It’s athletes were banned for political reasons!
Oh, poor Russia! Economic sanctions were imposed for political reasons – to keep poor Russia down – not because it illegally annexed part of another country, messed with its political process, and threatened its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Oh, poor Russia! NATO threatens it just by existing, so it has to threaten the Scandinavian countries if they dare even think about joining the alliance!
It’s what Russia is really good at – being the aggressor and then blaming everyone else for victimizing it.
I’ve mentioned several times that when it comes to Russia, everything old is new again.
Putin creating himself a nice little armed force that’s solely under his control – partly to project power to any who dare challenge him.
Putin ordering school history books to be rewritten to reflect Soviet history in a more favorable light.
Putin repatriating the body of Ivan Ilyin, who preached an almost pathological love of the Russian state, law and order, and nationalism.
Russia careening toward a new nationalism that’s creepily reminiscent of fascism.
History repeating itself?
It’s interesting to note, as I have previously, that Mitt Romney – for all his faults – called it as far as Russia being a resurgent threat. Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs both named Russia as an existential threat to the United States, both in its resurgent aggression due to its significant nuclear arsenal and asymmetrical warfare such as cyber, and it’s not just empty drama, given the threat of terrorism that constantly looms over the West.
So this latest Olympic drama, as uninteresting as it is to me on its face, is another puzzle piece that falls into place as to the future of Russia’s place in this world.
I’m not a conspiritard by any stretch, but a couple of things are interesting to note.
The primary season culminated with the Trump campaign ensuring that the GOP platform didn’t include weapons aid to Ukraine against continued Russian aggression, while Trump publicly threatened NATO with gutting the Article 5 collective security guarantee. (Let’s remember why NATO was created in the first place, eh?)
I don’t know about y’all, but to me, this all adds up to a major policy shift on the part of the GOP and its nominee that doesn’t bode well for our national security.
Your mileage may vary.
I don’t ever underestimate Vladimir Putin. I realize he’s a cunning, authoritarian, aggressive prick, who is – in my humble opinion – is wholly unsatisfied with the lone superpower situation in the world and is working to strengthen Russia by threatening and buying influence in the former Soviet bloc states and the Commonwealth of Independent States in an attempt to return the world to a bipolar environment.
He annexed Crimea without having to take overt military action, he’s been fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, and he remains defiant, even as the rest of the world slaps his country with sanctions, kicking Russia’s economy in the proverbial giblets, exacerbated by tanking oil prices, which have also squeezed Russia’s testes thanks, in part, to its leadership’s failure to diversify its economy. He’s not to be underestimated. He’s a dangerous adversary.
But you know what? Putin’s chest-thumping act is getting awfully old.
In a latest bout of decrepit fossil dick wagging, Putin is now threatening Sweden with consequences if Sweden joins NATO.
Russia would take military “countermeasures” if Sweden were to join Nato, according to the Russian ambassodor.
In an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Viktor Tatarinstev warned against joining the Nato alliance, saying there would be “consequences”.
“The country that joins Nato needs to be aware of the risks it is exposing itself to.”
Tatarinstev blamed souring Swedish-Russian relations on a media campaign in which “Russia is often described as an attacker who only thinks of conducting wars and threatening others”
Let’s see if I got this right. Russia threatens Sweden, and then blames the media for describing Russia as threatening others. Because no one notices the irony here, right?
Additionally, let’s examine the situation closely.
Should Sweden become a member of NATO, it will be a member of a military alliance that operates on the principle that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all. This is an alliance that spent $892 billion on defense last year, compared to Russia’s $81 billion. And it’s an alliance that consists of 28 countries, that although dysfunctional in many ways, will come together and unilaterally kick Russia’s ass back to the czarist era.
So, I’m thinking Russia’s threat may push Sweden closer to joining NATO, which will make Putin’s pompous saber rattling seem even more pathetic – like the incoherent, mildly amusing, but impotent squawking of a decrepit geezer, screeching at the whippersnappers to get off his lawn.
When I blogged recently that I thought al Shabaab was responsible for the FAIL that was the bombing on a Somali airliner, it looks like I was right.
Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility – finally – for that failed attack that sent the bomber’s charred carcass tumbling out of a terrorist-sized hole in the plane’s fuselage.
The BBC quoted an email statement by the group as saying the attack was in retaliation for NATO anti-terrorism operations in Somalia.
Last week, Somali authorities released CCTV footage showing the accused bomber, 55-year-old Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh, being handed a laptop beyond a security checkpoint.
The footage shows a man in an orange safety vest and one other suspected accomplice hand over the computer, which investigators believe contained the bomb.
Somali officials said at least 20 people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
In this case, everyone involved was lucky that the suicide bombing was the most inept attempt in recent memory, and that the only casualty was the terrorist, who is no doubt getting his tiny little balls swatted by Satan and his buddies with a rusty nail-studded cricket bat for eternity and having his tongue used as ass wipe for Satan’s minions after nightly binges on cheap bear and Taco Bell. (If I believed in hell, that is.)
I’m just wondering… if Shabaab is targeting NATO, how long before we start targeting them? Actively. Viciously.
Her name is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
“In both military and diplomatic and political support, there are dozens of nations who had committed to back us up,” she said.
However, Wasserman Schultz said she was not at “liberty to say” specifically what countries have expressed supporting in missile strikes, because some of the information she received was classified.
This bitch literally dove maw first into a vat of stupid and took large, hungry swallows like a porn star in a gang-bang scene.
Our biggest, most stalwart ally told us that no, there would be no British support in the attack on Syria. Germany is a no. NATO needs a 28-nation consensus to act. So far Turkey and France are the only ones on board.
Allies are broke. Populations are weary, and Europe is in the midst of another depression. Some offer political support, or like Greece, the use of their assets (Greece can’t afford to do much more than that anyway). Italy and the Netherlands aren’t all about that. Italy is deep in debt, and the Netherlands is cutting its military forces.
Ergo, those dozens of allies that would help us bomb the shit out of Asad are… well…
If she told you, she’d have to kill you!
Please someone slowly lead this daft bint away from the cameras. She may hurt herself if she opens her trap one more time.