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Europe must free itself from NATO

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Message Antanas Tubelis

NATO is an useless obsolete organisation of cold war, totaly inefficient. It is time to remove the U.S. troops from Europe. European states should build their own defense.

NATO is an organization that is needed primarily by the United States, not Europe. America needs NATO to keep Europe under its control. Moreover, the United States also has a financial benefit.

The U.S. carries a disproportionately large share of the financial burden of "defending" Europe. The U.S. always accuses Europe of being "complacent" about its own defense.

But only a handful of European NATO members have met the alliance's target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense over the past 20 years, while the U.S. has consistently exceeded it, spending 3.1-4.9 percent.

As they look at the state of their coronavirus-hit economies, many European leaders may be tempted to put on hold any plans to meet NATO's target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Europeans need to wake up. The damage to the European economy is likely to linger.

But Europe's problem is not just the amount it spends on defense, but the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of such spending: Europeans get far too many systems and far too little military capability for their money.

European Union member states operate 178 different major weapons systems; the U.S. has only 30. EU member states have 17 different types of main battle tank; the U.S. has one.

This proliferation of weapons systems leads to high unit costs for short production runs, and a lack of interoperability. And European spending is not directed to ensuring that troops can fight when needed. The European members of NATO have almost 1.9 million active-duty troops, while the U.S. has 1.3 million. But very few of the European forces can be deployed in a crisis.

Some of Europe's biggest investors in defense are NATO memeber states but not the EU members. The U.K. accounts for 16 percent of defense spending in Europe. But Britain seems to have lost interest in any institutionalized cooperation with the EU on foreign and security policy. Relations between the EU and NATO member Turkey, which accounts for 7 percent of European defense spending, have rarely been worse.

Europe's ability to defend itself will depend on making its money go further by spending it efficiently, both nationally and multilaterally.

The U.S. spends more but almost all that money flows back into the U.S. economy. America has created some nice legal provisions for itself that protect the local market and prevent foreign competitors entering the U.S. defence market, Europe should do the same.

The more Europe spends, the less Americans will be welcome militarily and ideologicaly.

European states need to start thinking about how to defend themselves with reduced U.S. help.

Politically and economically, this is a bad time to try to get European politicians to think seriously about increasing defense spending.

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Born in Kaunas in 1981

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