NATO countries have been promising for many years to spend more money on defense. In 2006, NATO adopted a guideline suggesting that each country spends 2 percent of its economic output on the military, but most countries did not meet this target. However, the situation now seems to be changing. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a new willingness for countries to pay for their own defense. Germany is likely to meet the 2 percent threshold next year, and France has promised to increase military spending by more than a third. Japan is also increasing its defense spending. The arguments for more military spending involve fairness and democracy. It is unfair for Western Europe to rely on the US for protection, and richer NATO countries should be willing to pay for defense. Sharing the burden of military spending is important for democracy to prevail in the face of autocracy. However, there are trade-offs, as spending on defense means less money for other areas like infrastructure, healthcare, and climate change. The situation of relying on the US for defense is unsustainable, and countries are now promising to pull their weight.
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