US weapons sales in Europe are booming as Russia's war in Ukraine continues to rage

Press quote (Yahoo News)
04 November 2022

“This is certainly the biggest increase in defence spending in Europe since the end of the Cold War,” Ian Bond, director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform, told Yahoo News. Russia’s war in Ukraine has shaken countries and “people who got used to peace for a generation,” said Bond. Many Europeans, he said, “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.”

...“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. He added that one reason so many countries turn to U.S. arms manufacturers is the American defense industry is so large, countries don’t have to wait for cutting-edge arms to be developed. Another reason, countries in East and Central Europe “want to keep the U.S. on their side and show that they attach value to the Transatlantic alliance,” including to NATO. “And supporting American defense manufacturers is one way in which you can do that.”

...Analysts in Europe are relieved to see Germany building up its military might again, despite its dark history of sparking World War II. West Germany, noted Bond, had one of NATO’s biggest most powerful armies during the Cold War. Had the Soviet Union attacked Western Europe, “the Bundeswehr would have been very much on the frontline,” he said.

...“Most of us have been trying to persuade the Germans to spend more on defense for quite a long time,” said Bond. This year Germany should hit the 2% mark, he added, perhaps even exceed it.

Devoting 2% of GDP on defense spending, he said, “is no longer seen as a ceiling. In countries that are feeling particularly vulnerable, it’s seen more as the floor, the starting point.”