Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Strasbourg Kehl 60

It's been an article of faith among historians, Internat'l Relations cats and the democracies throughout Cold War and into the new millennium.

Great Satan created and sustained regional alliances - toting most of the combat burdens while allies provided bases, training areas with a handful of national military capabilities and enjoyed a robust era of nigh drunken pacifistic phatness.

The Happy 60th BDay NATO shout out revealed that Europa is not ready collectively to stand up and man up in scary parts of the world - where danger seems far far away from their safe and comfy hoods.

"The United States is now spending around 4 percent of its GDP on defense. NATO set a target of 2 percent for its European members—and hardly any of them are meeting that goal. The two best armies in Europe—the French and the British—number fewer than two hundred thousand soldiers combined

"The French reckon on being able to deploy twenty-five thousand of those to a major contingency, and have no reserve whatsoever.

"The British deploy a far higher percentage of their force and have a reserve—the Territorial Army—but British deployment includes thousands of soldiers in Northern Ireland.

"Australia and Canada have made important contributions, especially in Afghanistan, but also in Iraq—but their armies are tiny and, given their populations and respective economic conditions, certain to remain so.

"Germany’s Bundeswehr is large, in principle, but it is still a conscript force,trained to a fairly low standard, and bound by constitutional limitations andserious national caveats that make it hard to deploy and harder to use."

In dismissive, even derisive speak:

"The decay of those military forces has reached the point that American leaders now worry that joint operations with U.S. forces are becoming difficult, if not impossible. The ineffectiveness of the European militaries is apparent in NATO's stumbling performance in Afghanistan."

Since it doesnt look like Commonwealth Russia is going to catapult scores of panzers amd motorized infantry battalions across Deutschland's panzer friendly Fulda Gap enroute to the coast of Spain anytime soon, Europa - will probably heed Deutschland's recent caveat to refrain from poking the bear in her 'near abroad'.

Allies in NATO and Europe will (aside from a projected French Naval buildup) remain prett much the same.

"The outcome at Strasbourg ought to increase skepticism in the United States about the military utility of NATO going forward–and not just with respect to the Afghan mission. Even some perceptive European officials had previously warned against the kind of feckless behavior evident at the summit.

"In January 2009, British Defense Secretary John Hutton blasted European governments for failing to bear their fair share of the collective defense burden, particularly in Afghanistan. He issued an especially pointed rebuke to Germany and other allies who seemed to believe that humanitarian and nation-building tasks were an adequate substitute for combat responsibilities.

"It isn't good enough to always look to the U.S." to assume dominant security responsibilities, Hutton admonished. "And this imbalance will not be addressed by parcelling up NATO tasks–the 'hard' military ones for the U.S. and a few others and the 'soft' diplomatic ones for the majority of Europeans."

Good luck!

High time Great Satan makes a fundamental reassessment of relationships with irresponsible security partners.

Art - "Strassbourg und Kehl"


Skunkfeathers said...

With the cuts Barry is making in military programs and weapons systems, we won't have much of a choice BUT to leave Europe to its own devices, and soon.