At a first glance, the introduction of a new spending target by merely merging
two “old ones” does not seem to be a ground-breaking idea.
However, the proposal is still of substantial value, mainly for two reasons. First, it provides a
simple quantitative criterion for the assessment of security politics, thereby
helping to formalise the (domestic and international) discussion regarding the
relationship between military, diplomatic and civilian dimensions of conflict
resolution in the 21st century. Secondly, it might help in building consensus
regarding the use of public funds for that purpose, such as in the German case.
Binding additional spending on defence/development aid together could be a
step into that direction. This could also help to bring the debate about cost
sharing of defence and security that has been dominated by US criticism of
European NATO spending and uncertainty regarding the new US
administration’s commitment to NATO’s mutual defence clause onto a more
At the same time, increased spending on development
aid should not be understood as a way to “buy oneself out” of riskier – and often
at home more unpopular – defence obligations.