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house Bill H. Res. 469

Do NATO Member Countries Need to Meet Their Defense Spending Commitments?

Argument in favor

It’s unacceptable that the vast majority of NATO members aren’t meeting spending as much on defense as they’d committed to when they joined. Congress should do what it can to encourage them to fulfill their obligations.

Scott's Opinion
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07/22/2016
One nation shouldn't have to pick up the slack of another's. If you want NATO protection, it needs to be a group effort.
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RoxyCupcake's Opinion
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07/23/2016
NATO is an antiquated holdover from the Cold War. Nations should be responsible for their own defense.
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ReaganRules's Opinion
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07/22/2016
When they joined NATO they agreed to this!
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Argument opposed

There may be a chance that the governments of NATO member countries that haven’t spent what they’d committed to on defense will listen to Congress and change their ways, but it’s more likely that they won’t.

JoshuaOchoa's Opinion
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07/23/2016
I believe that countries should keep their word in what they set to spend on defense, but I also believe that if a nation cannot meet that requirement, they should have the ability to provide a valid reason why they cannot meet the requirements. Some reasons may include focusing funds on domestic issues, a reduction in military interest, economic struggle, etc. (Thank you to those who corrected my previous statement, I must've been rushed and misread the description of the bill. I apologize for the misleading quote.)
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Chomsky4ever's Opinion
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07/23/2016
Requiring nations to spend excessively on defense promotes nationalism and rule by fear, which by no means contributes to peace.
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Dana7490's Opinion
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07/23/2016
Certainly those countries are obligated to meet there commitments as members of the alliance. However, this bill has no powers over NATO countries so this is a useless piece of legislation.
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What is House Bill H. Res. 469?

This resolution would call on other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries to meet or exceed their defense spending obligations that they committed to when joining the alliance. Members of NATO are required to spend at least two percent of their country’s gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, and 20 percent of their defense spending must go toward major equipment. In 2016, only five countries are expected to meet the requirement to spend two percent of GDP on defense: the U.S., Greece, Great Britain, Estonia, and Poland.

The NATO alliance was formed in 1949 by 12 North American and European nations to provide for a unified defense if one member came under armed attack from an enemy, which was expected to be the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies during the Cold War. Article 5 of the NATO charter is sometimes known as “The Three Musketeers Clause” because an attack on one member country is considered an attack on all, thus requiring the alliance to come to the country’s defense.

NATO isn’t only a military alliance though, as it also promotes democratic values through political means. Since its founding, another 16 countries have joined NATO and several others are considering joining — including some of the 22 Partnership for Peace partner nations.

As a simple resolution, this legislation would neither have the force of law nor advance to the Senate if passed.

Impact

NATO member countries; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 469

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) introduced this bill to encourage NATO countries to spend what they had committed on defense, which would strengthen the alliance collectively:

“While the costs may seem significant and burdensome in difficult economic times, the consequences of conflict due to perceived weakness on the part of NATO would be far greater. Without modern equipment, resources, manpower and training necessary to maintain a deterrent force, we risk continued challenges to peace. I call on my colleagues in Congress to support this reasonable resolution, and on our NATO members to honor their commitment as well.”

Currently, this legislation has the support of 45 bipartisan cosponsors in the House — including 32 Republicans and 13 Democrats.


Of Note: According to the Economist, between the end of the Cold War and 2012, defense spending from European countries dropped from 34 percent of all NATO military expenditures to 21 percent. Due to Russian aggression in the Crimea, Ukraine, and elsewhere several European NATO members are contemplating increasing their defense spending.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made headlines on July 21, 2016 when the New York Times released the transcript of an interview in which Trump implied that NATO members must meet their defense spending obligations for the U.S. to defend that country from attack. That prompted concerned responses from the NATO Secretary General and the president of Estonia.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user U.S. Army Europe)

Official Title

Urging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries to meet or exceed the two percent gross domestic product commitment to spending on defense.

simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment
    IntroducedOctober 8th, 2015
    One nation shouldn't have to pick up the slack of another's. If you want NATO protection, it needs to be a group effort.
    Like (37)
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    I believe that countries should keep their word in what they set to spend on defense, but I also believe that if a nation cannot meet that requirement, they should have the ability to provide a valid reason why they cannot meet the requirements. Some reasons may include focusing funds on domestic issues, a reduction in military interest, economic struggle, etc. (Thank you to those who corrected my previous statement, I must've been rushed and misread the description of the bill. I apologize for the misleading quote.)
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    NATO is an antiquated holdover from the Cold War. Nations should be responsible for their own defense.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    When they joined NATO they agreed to this!
    Like (16)
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    Share
    Requiring nations to spend excessively on defense promotes nationalism and rule by fear, which by no means contributes to peace.
    Like (16)
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    Many of the countries who are lacking in paying their 2% towards GDP dues are the same countries that report the most NATO problems. Could it be possible that meeting the target goal of 2%, their internal protective services will become better prepared to repel security threats. Have you observed that as these European states behind on NATO dues are also very Socialist? Margaret Thatcher did point out that sooner or later, Socialists run out of taxpayers money.
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    Which NATO members are falling short on military spending? • All countries are expected to chip in. NATO's official guidelines say member states should spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. Of the 28 countries in the alliance, only five -- the U.S., Greece, Poland, Estonia and the U.K. -- meet the target. • Even NATO itself admits it has an "over-reliance" on the U.S. for the provision of essential capabilities, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air-to-air refueling, ballistic missile defense and airborne electronic warfare. By Ivana Kottasova April 15, 2016 17:46PM EDT PHOTO: A Polish soldier taking part in NATO exercises. Poland is one of only five NATO members that meets the alliance's guideline for defense spending. Most NATO countries don't pay their fair share, and it's becoming a sore point in the U.S. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both used the Democratic presidential debate Thursday to call on other NATO members to spend more on defense. Donald Trump has gone even further, saying the U.S. should rethink its involvement in the military alliance because it costs too much money. http://us.cnn.com/2016/04/14/politics/democratic-debate-brooklyn-recap/index.html http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/21/politics/elections-2016-final-five-highlights/ Many European members -- including big economies like France and Germany -- spend less than the amount called for by NATO guidelines. The U.S. shells out far more money on defense than any other nation on the planet. http://money.cnn.com/infographic/economy/us-defense-spending/ According to NATO statistics, the U.S. spent an estimated $650 billion on defense last year. That's more than double the amount all the other 27 NATO countries spent between them, even though their combined GDP tops that of the U.S. American military spending has always eclipsed other allies' budgets since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's founding in 1949. But the gap grew much wider when the U.S. beefed up its spending after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Even NATO itself admits it has an "over-reliance" on the U.S. for the provision of essential capabilities, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air-to-air refueling, ballistic missile defense and airborne electronic warfare. The U.S. also spends the highest proportion of its GDP on defense: 3.62%. The second biggest NATO spender in proportional terms is Greece, at 2.46%, according to NATO. The organization is based on the principle of collective defense: an attack against one or several of its members is considered as an attack against all. So far that has only been invoked once -- in response to the September 11 attacks. To make the principle work, all countries are expected to chip in. NATO's official guidelines say member states should spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. Of the 28 countries in the alliance, only five -- the U.S., Greece, Poland, Estonia and the U.K. -- meet the target. The rest lag behind. Germany spent 1.18% of its GDP on defense last year, France forked out 1.8%. http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/04/15/nato-3_custom1.jpg Iceland, which doesn't have its own army, spends just 0.1% of its GDP on defense, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Six other countries spend less than 1%, according to NATO: the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain and Hungary. NATO is campaigning for the 2% guideline to be taken more seriously. At a 2014 summit in Wales, all member countries that currently fall below the threshold committed to gradually ramp up military spending to reach the target within the next decade. http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/15/news/nato-spending-countries
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    Certainly those countries are obligated to meet there commitments as members of the alliance. However, this bill has no powers over NATO countries so this is a useless piece of legislation.
    Like (6)
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    They signed on knowing the requirements. If they can't or won't meet the requirements they need to exit from the pact. For those saying it's not enforceable - it's a resolution, not a law.
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    Yes. Tired of the American people getting stuck PAYING FOR EVERYTHING Enough is enough. Just my opinion
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    I'm sick of the United States subsidizing the military of other countries.
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    If you want to join the club, and enjoy its benefits, you have to pay your dues; but, with great power comes great responsibility. I don't believe we should turn a blind eye if other countries are suffering, even an enemy, if we have the resources to help. There must be more justice in the world. But, if we're going to write law that requires response to an attack on an allied country, damn right those countries should be adhering to the requirements we agreed on to ally in the first place.
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    Dues are fairly based on a percentage of GDP The failure to provide the required dues for membership in the specialized membership organization known as NATO should be considered as a member state's desire to not receive the benefits of membership in NATO.
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    ABSOLUTELY, as an American tax payer I'm sick & tired of having my money spent on other countries needs!
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    I disagree with the bit about 20% of their defense spending going toward major equipment. Other than that, this makes sense ... Except should be voted on at an international summit, not by me.
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    These countries made a promise, and if they want NATO benefits, they need to meet their promises and not rely on the military power of a few.
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    Why are U.S. tax-paying citizens expected, REQUIRED BY OUR OWN TREASONOUS GOVERNMENT LEADERS, to support the rest of the world?!
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    I'm a strong supporter of NATO and I believe we have a 70 year old bond with the nations in NATO. However, all countries in NATO are in this together and should pull more of their own weight.
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    If I don't pay my bills, I get foreclosed on. NATO members must pay what they owe.
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    NATO was created during the Cold War to create an alliance against The Communist Bloc. It was passed in succession after the Truman Doctrine (military support for Greece and Turkey) and the Marshall Plan ($$ to rebuild Europe). NATO came as an extension of the TD. Expanding military aid and protection to other countries who were willing to denounce communism. It never had anything to do with money, that was such an afterthought. No one in Europe even HAD when it was created because of WWII. NATO's sole purpose is to promote the democracy and the ideals of the western world, therefore that should be the basis on which we choose to help others. Are we really willing to not protect those ideals because one of our allies haven't paid?? That's not the America I know. What's more important, money or what we stand for?
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