19:03 GMT +327 February 2017
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    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis addresses a news conference during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 16, 2017.

    Scandinavians to Fork Out 'Protection Money' to Be Under 'Mad Dog' Mattis' Guard

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    The recent ultimatum delivered by US Defense Secretary has triggered strong reactions across Europe. NATO member states were encouraged to step up their defense outlay - or face shrinking US support. In Scandinavia, even non-aligned Sweden and Finland felt a nervous pang, not to mention dutiful NATO members Norway and Denmark.

    US Defense Secretary James 'Mad Dog' Mattis used his first NATO meeting to assure his European allies of Washington's deep commitment to the alliance, yet also hinted that they forfeit the American protection unless they live up to their spending commitments.

    "America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense," James Mattis was quoted as saying.

    At present, NATO has a defense spending target of two percent of a country's gross domestic product (GDP), something only five countries currently meet. Incidentally, Denmark and Norway, which recently voiced concern about Russia's alleged "aggression" and are heavily relying on the US for protection, fall far below the requirement (spending 1.17 and 1.4 percent of their GDP respectively). The US itself currently spends 3.6 percent of its GDP on the military, amounting to $664bln in 2016.

    Following the meeting with 'Mad Dog,' Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said he was committed to spending more on Denmark's military defenses, despite having repeatedly brushed aside the two-percent-demand as "unrealistic," the last time being only a month ago. Additionally, Hjort Frederiksen repudiated the American pressure, stressing this was "Denmark's own ambition" and citing the change in the security situation in Europe, Danish Radio reported.

    Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen surprisingly said she did not read Mattis's rant as an ultimatum and noted that she could not guarantee that Norway reaches the target, despite the recent increase in the defense outlay.

    "We will increase our defense spending every year for the next two decades, and already this year we are spending spend 2.2 billion NOK more ($260mln), Ine Eriksen Søreide told the Norwegian tabloid newspaper Verdens Gang.

    The common NATO goal may prove to take a serious dent in Norway's state coffers. As the GDP keeps growing, so do military expenses. In 2024, Norway's military outlay is projected to be 48 percent higher than the 49 billion NOK ($5.9bln) spent today, Norwegian news portal E24 reported.

    Mad Dog's rant can prove decisive even for non-aligned Sweden, whose defense strategy has long been built on the premise of US backing. Sweden's "special relationship" was largely tied to the Obama administration's good grace and resulted in the country's defense outlay dropping to about 1 percent of its GDP.

    "Now Trump is likely to question why we pay so little and why the US keeps backing Sweden with its tax money," Mike Winnerstig, security policy analyst at the Swedish Defense Research Institute told Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, suggesting Sweden would have to invest six times more as today if it were to reach the level it had during the Cold War.

    Jan Hallenberg, a professor of political science at the National Defense University, ventured that Americans see the Swedish defense outlay of 1 percent of the nation's GDP as "ludicrously low."

    "The major [Swedish] parties want to maintain the special relationship with the US and realize an increase in defense expenditure is needed to keep it," Jan Hallenberg told the Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet.

    Fellow non-aligned nation Finland decided not to wait for the US prod and announced significant defense hikes. The Finnish government recently pledged to boost its annual military budget of 2.6 billion dollars with 160 million starting from 2021. This, however, only corresponds to 1.3 percent of the nation's GDP and falls well below NATO's demands.

    During his presidential campaign, US president Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the US was paying 75 percent of NATO's costs because European countries, struggling with domestic spending problems, were unwilling to contribute their share. Trump also repeatedly called NATO "obsolete."

     

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    Tags:
    defense budget, NATO, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, James Mattis, Ine Eriksen Søreide, Scandinavia, Sweden, United States, Denmark, Norway, Finland
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    • ariavd
      This is nothing more than mafiabehavior. If you give in ,you are SQUIZED
    • md74
      Let them scandinavian puppets pay up now, for the hoax of"Russian agression" they created themselves while brainwashing their sheep alike population.
    • avatar
      stevenrobertchurchill
      Be funny if the european buy european weapons.
    • ariavd
      I think not.And only pretend to be puppies,like the rest of the world. Nobody likes you anymore. Just try to go abroad, and you get a lot of questions
    • avatar
      anne00marie
      How are Europe going to afford to finance the EU Army and also up the payments to NATO? They also ignore the fact, that Russia, for a fraction of the cost (Russia Defence $60 billion, US Defence $600 billion), actually manufactures weapons and systems that actually work. NATO will carry on keeping the shareholders happy, by supply very expensive pieces of junk, that seriously do not work. Then you have their Forces, who wants to sign up for the military any more, knowing that you are nothing more than Qatar to Europe Pipeline Security and your nations will not cover your backs, should anything go wrong?
    • avatar
      anne00mariein reply tostevenrobertchurchill(Show commentHide comment)
      stevenrobertchurchill, Haven't they got a clause in the NATO agreement, that they have to buy US or globalist corporations junk?
    • avatar
      stevenrobertchurchillin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
      anne00marie, So thats the trick, did,nt know that one.
    • JOHN CHUCKMAN
      "Scandinavians to Fork Out 'Protection Money' to Be Under 'Mad Dog' Mattis' Guard"

      I think that is an excellent way to sum up what is happening.

      It would be so refreshing if the Europeans just decided not to be an American colony.
    • Hagbard Celine
      The primary disease of Sweden is Socialism.

      Socialism is destroying the country, the society. So forcing them to spend money for core responsibilities such as defense will reduce the spending for Socialism helping the people of Sweden.

      Europe need tough love from the other side of the Atlantic.
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