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NATO Defense
Baltics Boost Defense Spending as Russian Threat Looms

Fearing Russia aggression, Latvia and Lithuania are boosting their defense spending after a meeting in Vilnius. Latvia, which shares a long border with Russia, is going up to 2 percent of GDP and Lithuania, which sits uncomfortably between Latvia, Ukraine, and Russia’s Baltic enclave (in which Moscow has been placing missiles lately), will commit 1.5 percent of GDP. Neither country was shy about naming names; they are worried about a Russian invasion, either conventional or, like in Ukraine, hybrid. Defense News reports:

Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis said that he and his Lithuanian counterpart, Juozas Olekas, also discussed sending Latvian military instructors to Ukraine to support that government’s battle against Russia-backed insurgents in the country’s east. Lithuania already has deployed military instructors to Ukraine.

Commenting on Latvia’s plan to raise its defense expenditure, Bergmanis said he hoped his country will “be able to take great strides ahead just like our neighbors did.” […]

Other issues discussed by the two officials during a recent meeting included a project to set up a mid-range air defense system to be operated by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

At the meeting, Olekas said some of the major areas for improving defense cooperation between the Baltic states include “countering hybrid threats and stepping up cooperation with Poland and the Nordic countries,” according to a statement released by the Lithuanian Defence Ministry.

Both of these countries are NATO members, and it speaks volumes that they are as worried about an invasion as they apparently are. It is good news, however, for both the world order and the U.S. balance sheet, if these commitments go through. If Latvia follows through on its decision, it will be merely the sixth NATO member to pass the threshold. More member countries need to start meeting their treaty goal of spending at least two percent of GDP on defense.

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  • Pete

    “Baltics Boost Defense Spending …”

    Good for them. But these small countries should not think they can drag America into being their defense blanket. Our politicians may give them lip service and a few trinkets, but that’s about all the American public will tolerate.

    • AaronL

      “…these small countries…” are, by law, i.e. the North Atlantic Treaty, which was confirmed by the Senate, entitled to be protected by the U.S. “defense blanket”, See article 5.

      http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm

      If America violates it’s treaty obligations than that will be the end of NATO and the rest of America’s allies will realize that it makes more sense to ally with China. And America will be all on it’s own.

      • Fat_Man

        Then we should not wait. We should terminate NATO now.

      • Pete

        Aaron,

        The infamous Article 5 has more loopholes in it then a slice of Swiss cheese.

        And make no mistake about it, America will not, in the words of Slim Pickins, ‘go toe-to-toe with the Ruskies’ over the Baltics state.

        And besides, NATO should have been dissolved in ’89. It really does not have any meaning today regardless of the bureaucratic hype to keep the damn thing alive.

  • Tom

    Also, could someone kindly explain to the people who wrote this article that Belarus is between Lithuania and Ukraine?

  • f1b0nacc1

    Twice nothing is still nothing

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