NATO’s 2%

Britain is projected to miss its’ NATO compulsory military expenditure of 2%. Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she expects the country to hit its target and the projected amount is due to differing exchange rates post Brexit.

NATO requires members to spend at least 2% of GDP every year on their military. The UK continually commits to spend around the required amount which equates to, according to gov.com budget for 16-17, £46bn.

In a time of huge public spending cuts it is harder to find the 2% that NATO wants withot cuts elsewhere. It means that other parts of government spending have been hit harder. Disability benefit, and social housing  have had their funding slashed while NHS care has been privatised.

Why is the government so determined to spend an amount that is more than housing and environment, transport, public order and safety and personal social services when they are in such dire need?

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People will cite North Korea, China and Russia as massive state threats along with factions like IS but are they really a risk?

North Korea have no credible standing anywhere and have yet to produce anything meaningful to the world. China has built a manufacturing empire that sees the rest of the globe need their services. It would take an act of war to make them an enemy.

Russia had sanctions placed against them after illegally invading Crimea. These sanctions have hit them hard and the government are now running out of cash reserves to plug federal funding deficits. Ondrej Schneider, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance, has said that the reserves would be depleted by mid-2017.

Can a country be a threat if by the middle of  this year they cannot afford to finance their own domestic expenditure? Let alone an all out war?

IS was created as a direct result of the 2003 Iraq war. It has gone from strength to strength since the Arab Spring and uses U.S./UK led air raids as a recruiting tool. IS as an organisation was born out of poor planning, a lack of diplomacy and the murder of over 130,000 civilians during the 2003 occupation.

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Leaders of Italy, UK, Ukraine, U.S., Germany and France at NATO summit is Warsaw. Credit: SBS

Of course they are still a threat domestically but would they still be one oversees if there was no military presence in the Middle East? It’s doubtful.

All of this comes to one main point. If the government were to change tack towards their foreign policy, minimising the threat to national security, would there be any need to be part of NATO?

Is there a real need to spend 2% of GDP annually on a military that the country does not need. Even cutting the amount in half would give an extra £23bn worth of budget to help the agencies that need it most.

It’s a eutopic thought that the government will stop bombing civilians but when there are people living on the streets, suffering from mental disorders who cannot get the help they need, pledges like this one must be looked at and questioned.

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