Since Russia's special military operation in Ukraine began in late February, the United States has capitalized on the conflict by massively increasing its arms sale to Europe
In response to the conflict so close to their borders, many European nations have rolled out plans to increase how much they spend on their militaries
. Germany alone has passed a modernization plan for its military to the tune of $100 billion for its current fiscal year. Defense spending across Europe has been on the downturn since the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Recent events are changing things.
"This is certainly the biggest increase in defense spending in Europe since the end of the Cold War," said Ian Bond, director of foreign policy at the London-based think tank, the Center for European Reform.
Bond added that Russia's special military operation in Ukraine has shaken European nations and their people "who got used to peace for a generation." He added that many Europeans "had basically convinced themselves that war on the continent had become an impossibility."
"They're waking up to the fact that not only is it very possible, but it is happening, and it's happening not that many miles away from them," he added.
The main beneficiary of these defense spending increases is the U.S., which produces and exports more weapons than any other country. From 2017 to 2021, American arms manufacturers sold over 39 percent of the estimated $210 billion spent annually in global arms sales. (Related: Biden demands U.S. taxpayers hand over billions more for Ukraine after staging 'Russian' missile attack that killed two in Poland
Majority of recent European defense spending goes to America
Over half of all expansions to military expenditures were spent paying American arms manufacturers.
The Netherlands is the most loyal customer of the American defense industry. From 2017 to 2021, the Dutch government spent 95 percent of its military expenditures on American-made weapons
, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The Netherlands is followed by Norway with 83 percent, the United Kingdom with 77 percent and Italy with 72 percent.
Total European arms imports jumped by 19 percent from 2017 to 2021. All this information is before the continent's recent arms-buying spree, which likely means the share of defense spending that goes to American defense manufacturers has likely gone up.
According to William Hartung, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, since President Joe Biden took office, European countries accounted for around $33 billion of all arms "offers" the American defense manufacturers have received. Providing an offer is considered the initial stage of arms negotiations. Of these offers, $21 billion were made since the start of Russia's special military operation.
Some of the most recent government-to-government deals involve Finland
, Lithuania, Belgium and even neutral Switzerland
Finland's government increased its defense budget by $1.77 billion in response to the conflict in Ukraine. Its recent purchase was announced by the Department of State
, which just approved the sale of $323.3 million worth of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles.
Lithuania is buying $495 million worth of HIMARS multiple rocket launcher systems and Guided Multiple Rocket Launch Systems. Belgium is buying $380 million worth of air-to-air missiles for its fleet of American-made combat aircraft.
Switzerland's most recent purchase is for 72 MIM-104 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 mobile surface-to-air missile launcher systems to strengthen its ground-based air defense capabilities. This purchase costs an estimated $700 million
"This is all very much driven by Russia's attack on Ukraine
and the realization in Europe that defense stocks had been run down quite considerably over the last 30 years," said Bond.
Watch this clip from Newsmax
discussing how the U.S. is being accused of profiting from the conflict in Ukraine
This video is from the NewsClips channel on Brighteon.com.
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