(version in Dutch Waarom is 2% BBP defensiebudget nodig?)
Latest update: 28-01-2022
Why is 2% GDP defence budget needed in EUrope? And no less, but also no more!!
To be able to wage more war(s)?! No, the goal is that you prevent and/or deter it. To resist the threat of Russia?! No, because that threat is not nearly as great as some trying to make us believe. The Russians are more afraid of us. But having that threat serves other political goals. This includes safeguarding the right to exist of the current NATO design and structure and the American dominance over the security policy of the economic competitor EU. Unacceptable! And we can solve this in a different way for everyone’s interests!
In order to boost the arms industry? No, they already earn enough from the current conflicts and new cold wars (e.g. against China)! And they will certainly not like the very restrictive arms export rules that I propose in order to restore our own, now badly damaged, credibility. Like only supplying other democratic states under the rule of law!
Why then?! For one, to have enough military resources at many locations around the world to prevent attempts by other countries, such as China, to damage or take over important strategic interests for us with military means, or by offering security guarantees to the countries involved. To be able to deter that by being present or offering security guarantees ourself, alone or more often, with allies together.
So we need quantity!! That is also the weak point of the current focus on state of the art weapon systems and quality in response to this threat to our interests. There is too little focus on quantity. Yes, the Chinese frigate is probably not as modern or good as ours. But if one of the many Chinese
frigates is somewhere near Africa to give a local government security guarantees in exchange for Chinese influence and sales in that country, that government will trade us in as security and trade partner for China, and thus our strategic interests there be harmed, it is worthless and harmful if we have too few frigates to prevent or deter it. No matter how modern and state of the art few(er) frigates that we do have may be. They simply cannot be in multiple places at the same time. Quantity is therefore a quality in itself.
Something that threatens to and will happen in more and more places on earth. And not only through China, but also our strong allies. Think of Presidents Bush, Obama and Trumps America First slogans and policies. If they have to choose between protecting the safety and prosperity of us and that of their own American people, the choice is easy for them. Rightly so, because that’s their primary task. That is why it is so naive to think that America will protect our EUropean strategic interests in Asia so we will focus more on Russia’s supposed threat. Yes, there are politicians and experts in EUrope and my country the Netherlands who see it and advocate it that way.
So sufficient quantity is therefore also very important!!. But also having enough will cost, unfortunately, a lot of money. That is precisely why I believe that 2% of the GDP defence budget is necessary. To bring in sufficient quantity in addition to quality in terms of our defence capabilities and weapon systems. So that we can be there where it is needed. Alone and together with our allies. Not to wage wars, but to just scare them off. But where necessary also being able to intervene militarily. In addition, if you want to use 1 frigate for a long time somewhere, then you need 3 more. After all, maintenance must also be carried out, trained and worked up, as well as a leave for the staff.
In addition, also very important, because without it no frigate comes far, sufficient budget is needed for a good collective labour agreement (CLA) for the real capital of every armed forces, its staff, its soldiers!! With market-conform salaries and employment conditions. Because they risk their lives for our freedom and security!! That way, staff can be recruited and held sufficiently again. Which is a big challenge today. With a well worked out vision over a longer period of time and with 2% GDP defence budget from 2024, I think we should succeed.
That is why the defence budget should be increased to 2% of GDP by 2024!! But also the increase of the budget for development cooperation and aid to 2% of GDP in 2024 as far as I am concerned!! Because of the great importance of the 5D approach!! Because our peace and security, democracy and freedom as well as our prosperity and welfare are not for granted…nor free and for nothing! And therefore we have a great interest in helping to improve and guarantee that of other world citizens. Because it directly affects each other, positively but also negatively. Think of large migration flows, refugees from war and disasters and the threat of terrorism from resistance and radicalisation.
And all to make our planet a little more peaceful and prosperous. The prosperity is also distributed more fairly. The rich countries less rich, the poor countries less poor. Gradually, step by step, without violent shocks, without violence, without wars. So yes, with a force to help deter those conflicts and wars and help guide the transition. But where necessary, unfortunately, they can also fight. After all, not everyone has peaceful intentions.
Although Western politicians who embark on military adventures such as in 2001 in Afghanistan and 2003 in Iraq are of course also a permanent challenge!! But I don’t think you can solve that by lowering the defence budget. We do this by introducing and maintaining a common EUropean defensive non-provocative doctrine and ensuring that the adoration of some of our politicians to our sometimes(!) somewhat grim friend and ally America does not lead to unwanted blindness or obedience. Stronger together!! But each in his own way and aware of our differences, also with regard to our strategic interests. After all, we are not situated in the same place on this globe.