Why should France aim for a defense effort of 3% of GDP? and how to achieve it?

Although treated in a relatively superficial way until today, defense issues are beginning to interfere in the French presidential campaign, and several candidates have already declared their intention to increase the budget of the Armed Forces towards a threshold equivalent to 3% of GDP. Other candidates, declared or not, if they also believe that the defense effort must grow in the years to come, wonder about the sustainability of this effort, as well as about its geopolitical interest. However, as we will see in this analysis, and even if it is only very rarely addressed, the objective of a defense effort of 3% of GDP by 2030/2032 responds to a factual analysis, and its sustainability budget can be established as long as certain economic rules are respected.

Why aim for a defense effort of 3% of GDP?

The crisis currently unfolding in Eastern Europe, but also in the Pacific, clearly shows that the geopolitical rules that have governed the world for the past 30 years are obsolete, and that it is now essential to restore a sufficient military balance of power with certain major powers, to avoid any overflow that could lead to a general conflagration. Moreover, even if many European leaders refuse to admit it, the arrival of Chinese military power considerably modifies the geopolitical balances, and obliges the United States to concentrate their military capacities on the Pacific theater, gradually leaving the Europeans delivered themselves in this area.

A French defense effort at 3% GDP would bring the FOT to a format of 150.000 men equivalent to 1/3 of the Russian forces

However, by bringing the defense effort to 3% of GDP, or around €75 billion in 2030/2032, France could considerably change the geopolitical paradigms in Europe, but also on a planetary scale. Indeed, with such a budget, the French Armies could achieve a size equal to 1/3 of the Russian land forces (amphibious and airmobile), i.e. 150.000 men or equivalent men within the framework of a National Guard, for the Land Operational Force , the armed wing of the Army, as well as forces equivalent to half of the Russian air and naval forces. Such a military power is certainly not sufficient to represent a threat for Russia itself, but it makes it possible to create a sufficient European defense base so that each rallying of a European armed force alongside the French forces is enough to create an unfavorable offensive balance of power for Russia, passing below the threshold of 3 against 1. In other words, with such a format, the French armies become sufficiently attractive for the other European countries in order to implement a balance of force sufficient to neutralize the Russian conventional threat on the old continent, and this without it being necessary to rely on the United States, which is already well occupied in the Pacific.

A ripple effect of the great European nations

Like the creation of a celestial body, French armies financed to the tune of 3% of GDP could then create a strategic gravitational field sufficient to effectively bring the other European countries to join this de facto construction of the Europe of Defense. But the effects of such an effort on the part of Paris would go far beyond this aspect. Indeed, since the remilitarization of Federal Germany in the 50s, Bonn, then Berlin, have always and systematically aligned their defense effort in absolute terms with that of France. Even the recent German efforts to increase their investment in defense have dissociated themselves from the commitment made in 2014 at the NATO summit in Cardiff aiming at 2% of GDP in 2025, to align themselves with an effort of 1,5 .2% on that date, ie the equivalent of the French budget which would have reached this 3% threshold. In fact, if Berlin is very satisfied with US protection in the face of the rise of the Russian threat, the increase in the French defense effort to 2030% of GDP in 2 would undoubtedly lead the German authorities to aim a defense effort of 75% on this date, i.e. the same level of investment as Paris in absolute value, €XNUMX billion/year.

Germany will most likely align its defense investments in absolute terms with those of France, as it has done for the past 60 years.

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