Let Europe Fall

At RealClearDefense Michael Peck gives an example of just how uncommitted to their own defense the Germans are:

The German magazine Spiegel recently revealed that most of the Luftwaffe’s—the modern German air force’s—128 Eurofighter Typhoons are not flightworthy.

In fact, only about ten of the aircraft are ready for operations, Spiegel said. This raises doubts about Germany’s ability to meet its NATO defense commitments.

“The problem is complicated,” according to Spiegel.

Actually, the problem is extremely simple. The question is not whether Europe is important to us. It’s whether it’s more important to us than California. Or Louisiana.

I think the answer is obvious. The Europeans will either look after their own defense or they won’t. We shouldn’t carry water for them while they complain about what a lousy job we’re doing and how awful we are. Either they’re sovereign nations or they aren’t.

Again, I don’t think that the U. S. should withdraw from NATO. I think we should remain NATO members in the sense that Germany is, in a largely symbolic capacity.

5 comments… add one
  • steve

    As I think you know by now, I am largely in agreement. Stop fussing over the 2% stuff and just pull out our troops, unless there is some clear benefit to us from having them there. Let the Europeans figure out how much they want to spend, and on what. The only caveat here is the question about how comfortable we are now with the idea of Germany being a military power again, assuming they decide to do that.

    Steve

  • PD Shaw

    “I think we should remain NATO members in the sense that Germany is, in a largely symbolic capacity.”

    Zing!

  • bob sykes

    The real issue is the welfare state. The welfare state continually expands its share of both the GDP and the state budget, slowly shutting down all other spending. This process is inherent in any kind of democracy. It is a built-in, defining part of democracy, and it unstoppable as long as any democratic process persists.

    While we fume now, the 1% military is in our future, too. A couple of hundred thousand Army, Marines and SOCOM, all based in the US. Four or so aircraft carriers, based on the coasts, none deployed overseas. A few hundred fighter-bombers, no long range bombers. And a self-imposed isolationism, voted for by the people.

    The Germans and the Swiss and other Europeans live pretty well. There are no threats to them of any kind, other than their alliance with us, and the Swiss escaped that. Russia is defensive and reactive, although they will gratefully accept gifts from us, like Crimea. They would be delighted if we gave them Ukraine, which seems likely considering our continued support for the Nazi militias.

    China is a real threat to East Asia. The Asians will have to deal with it. Most of them will accept China’s rule.

  • Andy

    “Again, I don’t think that the U. S. should withdraw from NATO. I think we should remain NATO members in the sense that Germany is, in a largely symbolic capacity.”

    Here’s how that could be operationalized:

    – Preposition a lot of equipment in Europe – enough to supply a large US force plus spares (we have a lot of surplus tanks, for example, because Congress buys many more than the Army needs).

    – Withdrawal permanent based US fighting forces – leave, as Dave suggested in another post, the support functions necessary for US operations elsewhere.

    – Tell the Europeans that the US will definitely defend Europe, but it will take 3-6 months to mobilize and flow forces into the continent. Until that, they’re on their own.

    – Rotate troops in periodically for exercises similar to what we do in Korea. We still need to train with Europeans, but we can fly in troops once or twice a year to do that.

    – The US nuclear umbrella is for strategic, not conventional deterrence.

  • I think that’s a good approach. Again, I think there’s something wrong if defending Italy is more important to the United States than it is to the Italians.

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