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Mike Lee is a Republican senator from Utah.
President Donald Trump may have offended some of our allies last week when he delivered a stern message reminding them of their unmet defense spending promises, but it was not a message they haven’t heard before.
Defense - Barack - Obama - NATO - Press
“If we’ve got collective defense,” then-President Barack Obama said at a 2014 NATO press conference in Brussels, “it means that everybody’s got to chip in, and I have had some concerns about a diminished level of defense spending among some of our partners in NATO. Not all, but many.”
Obama’s concern for low levels of European defense spending is well-founded.
NATO - US - Democracies - USSR - Encroachment
When NATO was established in 1948, the U.S. was concerned that many European democracies were too militarily weak to protect themselves from USSR encroachment. An alliance against a common enemy seemed the best option for defense while allowing European economies and militaries to rebuild after World War II.
The U.S. may not have been immediately threatened with invasion of the homeland, but we saw an opportunity to hedge Soviet expansion.
Alliance - World - Lot - Years - Europe
The alliance has been spectacularly successful, but the world has changed a lot over the past 70 years. Europe has been rebuilt. NATO has added allies. The USSR fell, global terrorism burgeoned as an imminent threat, and Russia, while again a threat, learned new tricks.
What hasn’t changed is the U.S. continuing to bear the greatest brunt of NATO’s financial burden.
Present - NATO - Countries - Percent - Product
At present, only five out of 28 NATO countries meet the 2 percent of gross domestic product defense spending level that...
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