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Germany/France : New EU defence policy

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Voland View Post


    And you do realize that US facilities in Europe are things like the United States Africa Command (based in Stuttgart/Germany), the US Army Hospital and Trauma Center ( treating Iraq/Afghanistan vets) in Landstuhl/Germany, or Ramstein airbase/ Germany, host of the US global drone program. Among other things.
    Facilities that you have always had complete freedom to base anywhere else you like ? You put them there because it makes sense for you. And it is not so much the Europeans, it is your own military that wants it that way ?
    Anyway : While a debate about leaving the Cold War security structures behind is worthwhile and probably necessary, threats that the US may ( or may not) defend allies under attack ( unless.....) are not making anyone safer. And they are not least damaging your own interests and alliances ( and your bargaining position).


    http://www.stripes.com/news/us-afric...rmany-1.206605

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landst...Medical_Center

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramstein_Air_Base


    And you dont have to believe me :


    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/21/po...heaper-abroad/


    http://www.factcheck.org/2016/04/u-s...itary-support/


    https://providencemag.com/2016/03/tr...-bases-europe/


    Quote : / If America wishes only to defend Europe, there are perhaps better, cheaper ways. Prepositioned weapons and equipment allow the U.S. to quickly fly in troops who could then “fall in” the gear and begin operating without waiting for shipments to cross the Atlantic. Such deterrence should not provoke a significant Russian response or cost American taxpayers as much as permanent troop deployments.

    Even if America has a military presence in Europe only to defend NATO allies, Germany should be skeptical about paying more for this defense. Not only may the troop levels be insufficient, but there should be considerable doubt over a President Trump’s willingness to defend Europe if shots are fired. Should Trump threaten Germany into accepting an excessive deal, kicking out the Americans—as Charles de Gaulle did in 1966—would be the wiser choice. Instead of spending more on American troops who may not be willing to defend Europeans, Germany could spend resources on German troops who have more skin in the game. Or Germany could focus on what it perceives as real threats, which may not match American perceptions.
    Oh, I agree completely. I'm just saying that is not what I would do. I would get out of the mid east and let them kill each other all they want. There would be no need for a massive hospital.

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    • #17
      The US can't get out altogether, but is resolved by Voland's observation (links too) of a NATO "trigger", to take action to supplement the EU force only if necessary.

      My reservation isn't so much a potential conflict between NATO and EU interests, but the internal military push for expansion, rather than innovation. It is clear that the better military strategies involve fewer troops, not more. That means a smaller administration for fewer soldiers, with a larger portion of any continuing budget going for technology and intelligence. On a given historical cycle, projected into the future, it means shrinking the entire defense budget during times of peace and stability. That would still require "due diligence", a continuous draft for public service (not just military) to keep a population ready for surprise attacks as well as natural disasters. Quite frankly, I'd have to admit that the EU is ahead of the US as far as developing this strategy.

      It will not only save a lot of money, the strategy will actually make a military defense structure more able to deal with all future issues dealing with peace and war. The resistance to this strategy is the natural inclination of a leader to grow their organization, and rejection of any effort to shrink their group's budget. That resistance -to shrink or grow as a natural process- is a major factor in why military defense planning going forward might fail.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by radcentr View Post
        The US can't get out altogether, but is resolved by Voland's observation (links too) of a NATO "trigger", to take action to supplement the EU force only if necessary.

        Well, if the USs only interest was defence and deterrence of potential agressors, they would have alternatives to permanent bases in Europe. Pre-positioned weapons would be one f.e., intelligence cooperation probably another.
        And it doesnt take enormous research to figure that in most cases neither the location, nor the design nor the staff of US bases would be suitable for defence purposes. Neither is the Africa Command mainly staffed with bureaucrats and analysts working on Africa supposed to deter aggressors nor are the planes flying to and from Ramstein cruising around Europe. Their main destination is the Middle East and Ramstein deep in the completely safe hills of (western) Palatinate, not far from the border with France. Nor is the existence of the Landstuhl hospital a "support" for the host country but for wounded US staff. Nor are the agressors of the future likely to move in with tanks and planes, but much rather "assymetric" threats, terrorist hit squads, agents, hackers etc. and require different responses.
        The US are using bases in Europe because it is far easier, cheaper and effective to fly people and equipment around the globe using them than having to rely exclusively on facilities on US territory. And of course to conduct operations that may or may not be in line with the EUs interests ( even if it is undisputed that the bases also have benefits. Like for local economies. ).
        Yet since Europeans understand this Trumps "better deal" wont fly. It has always been up to the US themselves and noone else to decide what to do with their overseas bases, wether to enlarge, shrink or relocate them. Yet most analysts appear to agree that the US actually saves money ( at least as long as the military is operating around the globe). Shutting them would not be a "better deal" (for the US).
        At least as long as the main issue is finance.
        Last edited by Voland; 09-22-2016, 09:20 AM.

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        • #19
          The UK continues to dig its heels in. "European defence union ?" "Not going to happen." A speech by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, in London is only the latest indicator that this position may backfire :

          http://www.politico.eu/article/marti...sa-may-brexit/


          Quote : / In the fields of security and defense policy, although the EU loses a key member state, paradoxically such a separation could give the necessary impulse for a closer integration of the remaining member states, Schulz told an audience at the London School of Economics, adding that French and German proposals on security integration had been largely endorsed by the EU27 meeting in Bratislava last week, and were a clear sign of things to come.

          Fallon told the Times last week he was concerned about any moves towards a common EU military force, stating that: This is not going to happen.

          But Schulz said he was not sure how seriously to understand the threats of U.K. vetoes and urged London to end this systematic talk of blocking if it wants to reset its relationship with the EU.

          ?


          • #20
            Putting this in perspective, it seems like no big deal. Even at cold war levels, this might require as little as 240,000 troops, along with the modern toys required to blunt any (read, Russian) attack on the EU. One link on troop levels, comparing armored brigades deployed in exercise mode:

            NATO announced late Wednesday it will triple the capacity of its Response Force to 40,000 troops. .... Stoltenberg also said the alliance is "working on how to deal with hybrid threats, including through close cooperation with the European Union," the organization said.
            http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/24/world/nato-troops/

            Multiplying the 40 k by 6, to arrive at 240k troops. Using armor and troops with a bottleneck strategy (mountain passes, other geographical features), then sending in large conventional payloads on cruise missiles, that would be game over for a Russian strategy using massed troops. It seems the EU could easily utilize a reserve strategy for bumping troops size quickly, say using 1/2 the size in peacetime. Throw in security, public works projects and the like for maintaining productivity, and we have a manageable size and budget. If fits with the training and employment strategy for youth entering the workforce, and minimizes the temptation for old-fashioned conquest, since the troop size isn't ideal for foolish foreign adventures.

            Per the article I linked, it appears that NATO administration was aware of the EU military plan at least a year ago, and has no major problems with it. It lends itself to a "help when needed" cooperation, while seriously cutting expenses when it isn't needed. My concern is NATO's cost to the US, and projecting this strategy to US military budgets. That is, the EU force planning and budget is new and lacks a budget for empire. Perfect, unless that lesson is lost on US military and political leaders. In that case, we continue to grow our budget, even as a large chunk of it (European zone) could be seriously discounted due to the smaller number of US troops in that part of the world.

            ?


            • #21
              Originally posted by radcentr View Post
              Putting this in perspective, it seems like no big deal. Even at cold war levels, this might require as little as 240,000 troops, along with the modern toys required to blunt any (read, Russian) attack on the EU. One link on troop levels, comparing armored brigades deployed in exercise mode:

              http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/24/world/nato-troops/

              Multiplying the 40 k by 6, to arrive at 240k troops. Using armor and troops with a bottleneck strategy (mountain passes, other geographical features), then sending in large conventional payloads on cruise missiles, that would be game over for a Russian strategy using massed troops. It seems the EU could easily utilize a reserve strategy for bumping troops size quickly, say using 1/2 the size in peacetime. Throw in security, public works projects and the like for maintaining productivity, and we have a manageable size and budget. If fits with the training and employment strategy for youth entering the workforce, and minimizes the temptation for old-fashioned conquest, since the troop size isn't ideal for foolish foreign adventures.

              Per the article I linked, it appears that NATO administration was aware of the EU military plan at least a year ago, and has no major problems with it. It lends itself to a "help when needed" cooperation, while seriously cutting expenses when it isn't needed. My concern is NATO's cost to the US, and projecting this strategy to US military budgets. That is, the EU force planning and budget is new and lacks a budget for empire. Perfect, unless that lesson is lost on US military and political leaders. In that case, we continue to grow our budget, even as a large chunk of it (European zone) could be seriously discounted due to the smaller number of US troops in that part of the world.
              The question that never gets asked is what is the reality in regards to Russia. Does the Russian military have the ability of invading western Europe? And beating existing forces? Of course not, nor is Russia building up such an army, nor can they afford to pump that kind of money into military aggression.

              NATO needs to be disbanded, and if the EU is worried about a non threat, Russian, they can form their own collective military force, and group finance it

              The existence of NATO perhaps was needed when the Russian Empire was healthier, but once the USSR imploded, and its states brought apart into independence, the great and evil threat of the USSR and it spreading communism to defeat capitalism and democracy, was GONE. Russia moved away from communism, embraced capitalism, and still we are trying to turn her into some great evil threat to western Europe. Yet the history of Russia, which is older than the US, is not one of habitual aggression towards it neighbors. It did not start war with Germany, Germany attacked Russia after not honoring an agreement.

              So, I think rationally, all of this is nonsense. I think it is a profit maker for the war industries and those elites who profit greatly from them. I think this is involved, and it is what Ike warned us against. The private sector, powerful business interests, can corrupt foreign policy, and make it destructive, not constructive. I think this force demands a great and evil enemy to hot dogs, baseball and apple pie, to the American way, and Russia is about the only one available right now. Can't go after china in quite this manner, for she holds most of our manufacturing, owns a part of every American factory who moved there for dirt cheap labor and lax environmental regulations. If we were to make china mad, they could cut off our supplies, much of that stuff you have to have everyday, shut down our retail stores, and implode our economy, giving us the worst great depression, ever, and war, gotta be war for that is what economic suffering over the longer term leads to.

              So, NATO is just something to sink American tax dollars into. Tax us, help fund a military that is not needed. And, it is being used as a big dirty finger to poke into putin's eye, and they are poking his eyeball hard. Sometimes you gotta take the toys away from the children, so they don't hurt themselves, or hurt someone else in their irresponsibility. Need to take this institgator, NATO away.

              ?


              • #22
                I'd agree with most of what you said. However, claiming that Russia didn't build her territory thru forced acquisition (aka "war"), is naive. To assume that any modern power has evolved beyond the idea of conquest is more hopeful than practical. In short, the US isn't the only one that has foolish goals with their military, we're just the most obvious since we spend the largest sums of money on hardware and troop maintenance. We could claim the rest of the world is closer to real peace than the US, but no one has "passed the test" yet. Remember, there were periods up to 100 or more years of peace in Europe, well before France or Germany went on their imperialist failures.

                This EU armed forces proposal, which should replace almost all of NATO in Europe, would be a small portion of what was sacrificed in World War II, even if EU active troop size were reduced to 500,000. On the eastern front alone, Germany dedicated over 100 divisions most years of that war. If we define a division at 15,000 troops (a high number), the new EU force would be 16 divisions. The US could maintain special forces, air support and spy operations at half it's present deployment (now at about 70,000), especially if it involved EU in operations that were decidedly humanitarian and practical in nature.

                Here is the resistance forced on us, by "Bigger is Better" military types, who can't think outside the box, or in the present tense. Link:
                When the decision was announced in 2012 to bring two brigade combat teams home, the Obama Administration said that the reduction in capability would be offset with a U.S.-based BCT that would, when necessary, rotate forces, normally at the battalion level, to Europe for training missions. This decision unsettled Americas allies because a rotational battalion does not offer the same capability as two BCTs permanently based in Europe. Today, only 67,000 U.S. troops remain permanently based in Europe.40
                http://index.heritage.org/military/2...onment/europe/

                Nope. The EU can and should put together their own armored, naval and air units. At much smaller size than practiced in WWII, which would be able to repel an equally larger force as was used in WWII offensives. That's what really scares the Bigger/Better crowd. The fact that we can downsize and improve our military defense capabilities, at the same time.

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                • #23
                  I was hoping that perhaps our international friends RDK and PeterUK75 might be found here. We fought two wars with Great Britain and Germany and now Trump wants them both tossed out of NATO and replaced by Russia. I bet the British wish they hadn't wire tapped Trump for Obama.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by redrover View Post
                    I was hoping that perhaps our international friends RDK and PeterUK75 might be found here. We fought two wars with Great Britain and Germany and now Trump wants them both tossed out of NATO and replaced by Russia. I bet the British wish they hadn't wire tapped Trump for Obama.
                    Where do you get this crap? Last I knew, we fought two wars against Germany.

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                    • #25
                      I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, planning to spot a member (or 3) of NATO countries right across the water or on the very border of Russia was less than a good idea. Yet another reason for a EU defense force. Despite Europe's history, or maybe because of it, they could develop a military policy like the one described in my previous post. A policy that make sense, unlike the shiny turd of a strategy that would have us believe that placing NATO on the very doorstep of a major nuclear power, whose leaders follow from centuries' old custom of paranoia and violence, is somehow a good idea. Russia will do much better if they are encouraged to evolve beyond their paranoia thru natural means. They are -by geopolitical fact- the Big Dog in central Asia and Europe's far east. Since Russia joined the long list of superpowers who had their butts kicked by Afghan hillbillies, they can learn the lesson of Failed Empire just as well as the rest of us.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                        I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, planning to spot a member (or 3) of NATO countries right across the water or on the very border of Russia was less than a good idea. Yet another reason for a EU defense force. Despite Europe's history, or maybe because of it, they could develop a military policy like the one described in my previous post. A policy that make sense, unlike the shiny turd of a strategy that would have us believe that placing NATO on the very doorstep of a major nuclear power, whose leaders follow from centuries' old custom of paranoia and violence, is somehow a good idea. Russia will do much better if they are encouraged to evolve beyond their paranoia thru natural means. They are -by geopolitical fact- the Big Dog in central Asia and Europe's far east. Since Russia joined the long list of superpowers who had their butts kicked by Afghan hillbillies, they can learn the lesson of Failed Empire just as well as the rest of us.
                        I'm sure that the former victims of Soviet occupation would love to hear how their policy of seeking new friends to protect them is a "shiny turd" of a policy.

                        Russia lacks any natural barriers to invasion, and has always sought large buffer zones. They also have an understandable affinity for warm water ports. More recently, they seem to have taken the approach of being an "agent of chaos", supporting regional aggressors of no value or worth to Russia just to keep us occupied. But more than anything else, they need investment in their vast untapped mineral resources, so they can actually have an economy based on something other than the waning fossil fuel.

                        If they can set aside their paranoia and territorial ambitions, and endeavor to route out institutional corruption, then I would have no problem supporting integration with Europe, sending Euros eastward to build infrastructure and extracting resources to be manufactured in the west, and mutual defense agreements. The fact of the matter is that while Europe and NATO is no threat to Russia, the Chinese certainly are. They have nearly a billion more reasons to seek out those resources than Europe does. Of course, Europe has its own issues to sort out first, and Russia has a ticking clock before its oil revenue dries up.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Commodore View Post

                          I'm sure that the former victims of Soviet occupation would love to hear how their policy of seeking new friends to protect them is a "shiny turd" of a policy.

                          Russia lacks any natural barriers to invasion, and has always sought large buffer zones. They also have an understandable affinity for warm water ports. More recently, they seem to have taken the approach of being an "agent of chaos", supporting regional aggressors of no value or worth to Russia just to keep us occupied. But more than anything else, they need investment in their vast untapped mineral resources, so they can actually have an economy based on something other than the waning fossil fuel.

                          If they can set aside their paranoia and territorial ambitions, and endeavor to route out institutional corruption, then I would have no problem supporting integration with Europe, sending Euros eastward to build infrastructure and extracting resources to be manufactured in the west, and mutual defense agreements. The fact of the matter is that while Europe and NATO is no threat to Russia, the Chinese certainly are. They have nearly a billion more reasons to seek out those resources than Europe does. Of course, Europe has its own issues to sort out first, and Russia has a ticking clock before its oil revenue dries up.
                          I'm sure I wrote that the NATO strategy of going right up to the present Russian border was the shiny turd, not the inexperienced states that want an alliance with NATO. While I understand the motives of the former Soviet states, their end of the NATO strategy has become counterproductive. It is no more productive for the original NATO states.

                          Your last paragraph is the more sensible approach, which involves less military and more economic and social ties. That will eventually work better in regards to China as well.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                            I'm sure I wrote that the NATO strategy of going right up to the present Russian border was the shiny turd, not the inexperienced states that want an alliance with NATO. While I understand the motives of the former Soviet states, their end of the NATO strategy has become counterproductive. It is no more productive for the original NATO states.
                            Well, where do you think the former victims of Soviet occupation are most likely to be?
                            Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                            Your last paragraph is the more sensible approach, which involves less military and more economic and social ties. That will eventually work better in regards to China as well.
                            China is interesting too, because they are in all likelihood too big to be a united country if not under the jack boot. And historically, they have swung back and forth between united and divided.

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                            • #29
                              The former victims of the Soviet Union are too close to Russia, of course. My point is, NATO is not their solution. Russia immediately got busy making sure that NATO was compromised in those states, by making those states unstable or otherwise weakened. Rather than cozy up to NATO, Ukraine etc. could have made noises about "strict neutrality" on the issue, and attempt to balance their position as a neutral buffer state bordering Russia.

                              Not to claim Russia would accept that on face value (they are paranoid after all). I do claim that those states would have a better chance of Russia becoming a tolerable neighbor, only if they take a position of geopolitical neutrality. Russia sees that happening, and eventually calms down. Who knows? It might encourage Russia to evolve away from their centuries-old affliction.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                                The former victims of the Soviet Union are too close to Russia, of course. My point is, NATO is not their solution. Russia immediately got busy making sure that NATO was compromised in those states, by making those states unstable or otherwise weakened. Rather than cozy up to NATO, Ukraine etc. could have made noises about "strict neutrality" on the issue, and attempt to balance their position as a neutral buffer state bordering Russia.

                                Not to claim Russia would accept that on face value (they are paranoid after all). I do claim that those states would have a better chance of Russia becoming a tolerable neighbor, only if they take a position of geopolitical neutrality. Russia sees that happening, and eventually calms down. Who knows? It might encourage Russia to evolve away from their centuries-old affliction.
                                The first requirement of neutrality is the power to successfully enforce it. Switzerland has made it work for hundreds of years, partially through hilariously colorful outfits and magical pole arms, but mostly because of a very defensible terrain and a novel system of conscription. None of Russia's neighbors are so fashionable or fortunate. Their position on the Central European Plain is just as vulnerable as Russia's, and they lack the economic power or population, together or even collectively, to compete. Russia would have no reason to respect any claim of neutrality, and have shown that they have no respect for any thought of independence. Seeking larger allied to the West is the only option available.

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