Latest News 01-05-2024 00:07 16 Views

US troops could pay price if NATO allies don’t make major change, former VP’s group warns

U.S. troops could be forced into a Russian war if the surrounding NATO countries fail to increase their military spending, according to former President Mike Pence's lobbying group, Advancing American Freedom (AAF).

In a memo sent to Congress on Tuesday, AAF claims several countries have not fulfilled their NATO-sanctioned 2% obligation, leaving the heaviest burden on the U.S. In 2014, only the U.S., U.K., and Greece upheld its treaty obligations during Russia's Crimea invasion, with non-compliant countries averaging 1.3% of GDP on defense.

What's more, under the Biden administration, some countries like Turkey, Norway and Italy have regressed, moving closer to 2014 levels despite overall spending growth, according to the memo.

'By contrast, the Trump-Pence Administration made improving allied-burden sharing a major priority for foreign policy to significant effect,' the memo reads. 

'This trend is especially alarming to observe in countries bordering Russia and Ukraine,' the memo said, adding that 'the countries closest to the conflict ought to be carrying the lion’s share of the burden.'

The 2% obligation refers to the commitment made by NATO allies to allocate at least 2% of their GDP to defense spending. 

While all NATO countries in the region raised defense spending after Crimea's annexation, Norway and Romania reduced military expenditures during the Biden administration, despite increased Russian activity as it launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. AAF concluded the U.S. 'must find ways to encourage and, if necessary, pressure its allies' to uphold its end of NATO's burden-sharing commitment.

'Unless these trends are reversed, our deterrence strategy will fail, Russia will likely invade a NATO ally, and the U.S. will be required to send troops overseas to honor our Article 5 mutual defense pledge,' the memo reads.

Marc Short, chairman of the AAF board, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that 'NATO has been rightly criticized by many conservatives for the United States paying the bill while our European allies skimp out and fail to meet basic spending requirements for membership despite flush social spending.'

'Amid a new Cold War with the Chinese Communist Party, a resurgent Russia, and their partner in crime in the Middle East, Iran, the Biden Administration has neglected to strengthen NATO by holding members accountable for the 2% obligation,' Short said. 'Under the Biden Administration, just one NATO member has joined the 2% club.'

On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that vital U.S. weapons were starting to arrive in Ukraine in small amounts, but that it needed to move faster. NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg also told Ukrainians on Monday that his alliance’s members had failed to live up to their promises of military aid in recent months, but said the flow of arms and ammunition would now increase.

Last week, U.S. Congress also passed a months-long debated $60 billion aid package for Ukraine's continued war endeavors against Russia. The controversial aid was tacked onto a $95 billion foreign aid package that President Joe Biden signed shortly after. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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