Europe Isn’t Ready for War

Low defense budgets and large donations to Ukraine have depleted Europe’s militaries.

Written by Anthony Constantini

What’s happening: After years of low defense spending and large amounts of Ukraine aid, Europe is facing a dire situation: increasingly depleted militaries amidst a mobilizing Russia.

  • Zoom in: Even Europe’s top defense spenders, including Britain and France, are severely lacking. France, for example, has fewer than 90 heavy artillery pieces in total — less than Russia loses each month fighting Ukraine.

Why it matters: Europe’s weakness leaves America with two choices: recommit to helping a weakened Europe or focus on countering China — viewed by most Americans as the biggest threat to the U.S. — and leave Europe to fend for itself, which could diminish American influence and deter its interests in the long term.

Refusal to spend: Multiple U.S. presidents have urged Europe to increase military spending. But only 11 NATO member states out of 30 allocate at least two percent of their GDP to defense, instead relying on America as the global superpower.

Ukraine donations: Some countries in NATO’s east expanded to include Finland and soon Sweden have given so much to Ukraine that they’ve almost run out of military supplies. Other Western states are running out of ammunition.

Worst of both worlds: Germany announced it will finally raise military spending above two percent of GDP after years of having a military forced to train with broomsticks. The catch? Germany is only accomplishing this by spending more money on Ukraine.