According to Danish newspaper Berlingske, the US is pushing the line that the ‘Russian threat’ is real and must be confronted via military means, essentially starting a new Cold War. However, some nations remain skeptical of Washington’s rhetoric.
This diplomatic effort comes ahead of the upcoming NATO summit scheduled to take place in Warsaw in July, as Washington seeks to persuade European member states to increase their financial contribution to the alliance’s needs.
“I think that the Danish government knows what I, as an American ambassador, think about the Danish defense budget,” US ambassador to Copenhagen Rufus Gifford told Berlingske.
“For a very long time we have known that European countries have cut their defense spending. But now is the time to reinvest. It will be a very important subject at the July summit in Warsaw.”
Denmark currently spends about 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense, which the US apparently thinks is not enough.
“The current trend (to cut on defense spending) must completely stop. And I do mean completely stop,” the ambassador reiterated.
Therefore, he added, it is important for the US that the summit participants agree on the necessity to spend more on defense throughout Europe.
Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK have apparently taken heed of Washington’s message and have announced increased defense budgets for the coming years, Berlingske remarks, and Norway is also considering ramping up its military spending.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s Chief of Defense Peter Bartram who, following his appointment in 2012 was tasked with trimming the defense budget, has publically announced that he expects the government to increase military funding in 2017.