The Baltic countries, and some of their Scandinavian neighbors, are mortally terrified of Russia. Or so they would have us believe. They clamored to join NATO as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed and are currently among the most shrill anti-Russian voices outside of Hillary campaign hangers-on and their newfound neocon allies. Just this week, the Lithuanian president begged Washington to permanently station troops on its soil to “not only deter but to defend” against the great Russian “threat” across their border.
But, as Ted Carpenter writes in the National Interest, these very same countries who scream the loudest about the Russian threat are strangely reluctant to devote any of their own resources to defending themselves against said threat. One would think that if a country faced an “existential threat” from their neighbor, Russia, (as Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski claimed recently), that country would be motivated to do something to address that threat in any way possible. But in fact the opposite is the case. Instead of devoting resources to blunting the Russian spear they claim is in their face, these same countries show no interest at all in spending for their own defense.
As Carpenter writes:
The other two Baltic republics, Lithuania and Latvia, spend 1.49 and 1.41 percent, respectively. Romania and Bulgaria devote 1.41 percent and 1.30 percent. Slovakia and Hungary spend a mere 1.12 percent and 1.02 percent, and the Czech Republic brings up the rear at 1.01 percent. NATO’s leading countries don’t do significantly better. The figures for France and Italy are 1.79 and 1.11 percent, respectively. Perhaps most telling, democratic Europe’s leading economic power, Germany, spends a pathetic 1.20 percent.
Think about it: if you really felt an existential threat from your neighbor would you do nothing at all to defend against that threat?
And what about that “threat”? It’s largely manufactured as cover for central Europe’s reliance on the US military-industrial complex (powered by the beleaguered US taxpayer) to cover its defense expenses. The US military machine is happy to provide the propaganda that the mainstream media is happy to distribute as “news” and “analysis.” Poor old Joe Six-Pack works a good deal of his day to pay for the military budget of places like super-rich Germany and all he gets is this stupid monetary inflation that decimates his standard of living to show for it.
Threat? No, double standards. Washington criticized a military exercise between Russia and its ally Belarus on its own soil scheduled for later this summer, with Defense Secretary Mattis stating that “any kind of buildup like that is simply destabilizing.” In fact, Mattis supports sending US missiles to the Russian border in response to these wargames. However the United States takes part in numerous wargames outside its own territory and even on the Russian border, but somehow these are not to be…