Being attacked from two sides simultaneously (terrorism and Russian threat) Europe has to decide what to do first: to counter terrorism or increasing Russian might. Choosing the priority is the most difficult challenge for the European States today. But Europe should make choice because states’ budgets are not bottomless.
It is obvious, that as soon as the terrorism problem comes to the fore, NATO (first of all the US) diverts attention to other matters, such as the necessity to boost defence expenditures because of Russia, Syria, Afghanistan and other “annoying” countries.
It can be easily explained by the burden the country has in NATO. Washington wants and does all possible things to reduce the burden at the expense of European NATO member states. By and large it does not really care of what is happening with Europeans. Apparently at this particular moment terroristic threat is not so actual for Washington as for Europe.
Competing for supremacy with Russia the US persistently call on NATO member states to increase defence spending. This issue was on the agenda for NATO Defense Ministers meeting on June, 29. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that defence spending across the Alliance is expected to grow by 4.3% in 2017. It is too much for Europe.
Who will benefit? Definitely – the US. But most European countries will stay alone with terroristic threat and lack of money to solve their domestic problems.
But there are three European countries that have their own interest in this matter. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will benefit either. Deducting insignificant sums they receive NATO support and continue to ask for more and more foreign troops on their territories. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg conducting a visit in Lithuania this month praised Lithuania for increasing defence spending and efforts to strengthen security in the region. The Baltic States feel their importance in confronting of superpowers and intend to extract all possible benefits.
In other words most European countries got into trap. They are forced to help the Baltic States to the detriment of their own interests. Sooner or later this state of affairs will lead to tension in relations between European NATO member States. Help and support within the organization should be equal for all members. Helping the Baltic States other European countries themselves have the right to expect help and understanding of their problems. It could happen so that making their neighbors’ life safer they endanger their own people, leaving it face to face with terrorists, without capabilities to counter them because money has gone somewhere else. One-sided collective defense, is in it?
Adomas Abromaitis is a Lithuanian expatriate living in the United Kingdom.