NCPA: The Economics of NATO Expansion How Expanding NATO Made the Organization Poorer & Weaker

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“Putin’s push into parts of Eastern Europe has renewed talks of expanding NATO,” says Grantham. “However, many of those countries would be incapable of funding or fielding an effective fighting force. NATO would cover a greater area with fewer resources.”

We are not working for the Russians, says Grantham, we just don't think NATO expansion will work for America.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) scolded Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) yesterday for “achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin” by not agreeing to another round of NATO expansion. However, expansion actually poses a security risk for all member states, according to a recent study by National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow David Grantham.

“We are not working for the Russians,” says Grantham, “we just don't think NATO expansion will work for America.” Aside from the disproportionate financial burden-sharing, Grantham argues, previous expansions have actually undermined Europe’s defense capabilities:

  • The United States provides the bulk of armed forces for NATO engagement: 14 percent of troops in Kosovo and 64 percent of troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, for instance.
  • NATO has less money and fewer military assets since its latest expansion and now has more ground to cover.
  • The United States has always contributed more than its European partners despite having a smaller population size and less GDP.

Grantham argues that NATO should consider halting future expansion and installing benchmarks for members to meet, leading up to the promise of 2 percent in defense expenditures by 2024. He says NATO should also adopt precise language requiring that the 2 percent be spent on specific military hardware, personnel or training to hedge against the possibility of defense money being diverted to unrelated programs.

The Economics of NATO Expansion: http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/ib200.pdf

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