Cato opinion slams Estonia for lip service on defense spending ({{commentsTotal}})

A Javelin missile system at the signing of the contract at the Ministry of Defense. 80 systems will be purchased for 40 million euros, missiles included Source: (Estonian Defense Forces)

An opinion in Newsweek bursts Estonia's bubble over its relatively high defense spending, saying the 0.05-percentage-point increase after a year of national security threats was laughable.

"All three Baltic governments are going to great lengths to highlight their alleged seriousness about defense, but the actual data fail to support the propaganda," wrote Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior defense and foreign policy fellow at the Cato Institute. "Amid much fanfare, Estonia plans to boost its military spending from 2.0 percent of GDP to—wait for it—2.05 percent!"

Estonia is one of only four of 28 NATO members that live up to the 2 percent commitment on defense spending and officials have written letters to leaders of the other Baltic states urging them to double their spending. Latvia and Lithuania are not exempted from criticism in the Newsweek piece.

Although granting that the threats are real, Carpenter concludes: "US officials need to consider carefully whether it makes sense for this country to incur such risks on behalf of so-called allies that seem unwilling even to make serious efforts on behalf of their own defense."


Editor: K. Rikken

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