Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


U.S. to Cut Forces in Europe, Asia
August 14, 2004 4:14 AM   Subscribe

U.S. to Cut Forces in Europe, Asia President Bush will announce Monday that he plans to pull 70,000 to 100,000 troops out of Europe and Asia in the first major reconfiguration of overseas military deployments by the United States since the Cold War ended, White House officials said yesterday.
posted by raaka (38 comments total)

 
The plan is the latest iteration of a discussion that has been going on for several years between the Pentagon and the White House about reconfiguring troops abroad now that the Soviet Union is extinct and the United States is the world's lone superpower.

And of course, it has nothing to do with our troops being needed to sink into a quagmire somewhere else...
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:35 AM on August 14, 2004


No argument there, but it also has a lot to do with the fact that the dirty Bolshies aren't going to be coming through the Fulda gap or dropping paratroops on downtown Hokkaido anytime soon. This was waaaaay overdue.
posted by alumshubby at 5:12 AM on August 14, 2004


I heart the text ads:

President Bush
Fantastic low prices here. Feed your passion on eBay.co.uk!
www.ebay.co.uk

posted by armoured-ant at 5:37 AM on August 14, 2004


President Bush will announce Tuesday that he has been unable to find his ass with a flashlight and a roadmap, and is therefore following the instructions of some real smart guys who promised him that it'd all work out OK if he just did what they said.

Redux.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 AM on August 14, 2004


Stavros, is this just random occasionless snarkery or is there some substance to it, such as that you actually oppose the reduction of US military forces in Europe and Asia? I thought not.
posted by jfuller at 6:40 AM on August 14, 2004


Certainly makes sense reducing the troop deployments in Europe, which are mainly a legacy of the Cold War. As someone or other said: "defending allies who are no longer allies against an enemy who no longer exists..."
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:40 AM on August 14, 2004


TBH, knowing little about this apart from living in the UK, I don't know why this took so long. US taxpayers resent 'subsidising' European defence, when there is no longer a credible conventional threat against us.

We are a continent that needs to grow up and take care of ourselves, if we wanna be taken seriously in the world. We can keep our own peace now, ffs.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:41 AM on August 14, 2004


I thought not.

Then why'd you ask, cap'n?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:51 AM on August 14, 2004


defending allies who are no longer allies against an enemy who no longer exists...

The troop movements make some sense. But if the countries in question are no longer allies, we've got some big troubles. What other countries in the world resemble us more in ideology and character? If we can't be allied with them, who can we be allied with?

Also, it's worth noting that defense against the Ruskies wasn't necessarily the only purpose of having troops deployed there.
posted by namespan at 7:32 AM on August 14, 2004


> Then why'd you ask, cap'n?

To test the hypothesis. I know that's an alien concept around here and may not be recognized, but my background is scientific and it's a habit.
posted by jfuller at 7:39 AM on August 14, 2004


This is actually a pretty good idea. It's something that Rummy has been pushing since the beginning of the administration. Apparently this plan was being brushed aside and Rummy was going to quit, then 9/11 happened, Rummy stayed on, and now three years later he gets his wish.

9/11 changed everything. I still think this is a very good idea though. Still hate Bush though. :)
posted by graventy at 7:41 AM on August 14, 2004


I would be more impressed if they pulled them all out and returned the bases to the host countries.
posted by thirteen at 8:01 AM on August 14, 2004


Gee, I wonder how long it's going to be before they ship these guys to Iran. 'Cause, y'know, Fox News has been telling me that "some people say" we might should do something there....
posted by interrobang at 8:16 AM on August 14, 2004


if rummy wants it, i oppose it.
posted by quonsar at 9:34 AM on August 14, 2004


What interrobang said. If they're being pulled out just to become cannon fodder (now in Iraq or in future Iran? Syria?)--or--because we're too overextended elsewhere (Iraq), forget about it. Hopefully when Kerry's in, he'll seriously assess our needs, and make an informed decision.
posted by amberglow at 9:36 AM on August 14, 2004


> I would be more impressed if they pulled them all out and returned the
> bases to the host countries.

From over here on the isolatinist right, I agree absolutely. Especially quit spending my tax dollars in France and Germany.
posted by jfuller at 9:36 AM on August 14, 2004


Army Turns to Private Guards: The military is criticized for risking security at bases and for a process that awarded $1 billion in contracts without competitive bidding.
posted by amberglow at 10:07 AM on August 14, 2004


I think this is a fine idea. I find the whole idea of having actual military bases in other countries a mite bit creepy. After all, would anyone really stand for having foreign bases anywhere in the US?
posted by bshort at 10:47 AM on August 14, 2004


Especially quit spending my tax dollars in France

jfuller: how many troops do you think the US has in France?

Us troops out of Europe just makes sense - but what does a redeployment to Eastern Europe mean? Why would they be there?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:40 AM on August 15, 2004


They are welcome by those gov'ts who want in with the US. On the US side, it allows a base of deployment.

I don't see the number of troops deployed overseas decreasing much long run. They'll likely be redeployed to countries with a gov't wanting to curry favor. If Kerry becomes President I expect many of them will be doing increased "peace duties" and "drug interdiction" as part of the "war on terrorism".
posted by infowar at 6:46 AM on August 15, 2004


it's worth noting that defense against the Ruskies wasn't necessarily the only purpose of having troops deployed there.

"Lord Ismay, NATO's first Secretary-General, said the purposes of NATO were, 'To keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.'"
posted by kirkaracha at 9:23 AM on August 15, 2004


After all, would anyone really stand for having foreign bases anywhere in the US?

It's not structured as a formal, standalone base, and I don't know whether it's structured as a base-within-a-base, but...

the Luftwaffe has a large and continuous presence at Holloman (?) near Alamogordo, NM. Skies in Germany aren't empty enough to do serious training in, so they come over here.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2004


This is good. Anything that works towards bursting the bubble of European We-Don't-Need-No-Real-Military-ism is good.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:51 AM on August 15, 2004


This is good. Anything that works towards bursting the bubble of European We-Don't-Need-No-Real-Military-ism is good.

Europe doesn't have don't have a military because it's not a country. And while my tiny little country doesn't have much of a military force (it should have more), some countries in Europe have sizeable military forces.

Of course, if you'd just quit watching Fox News and buy a clue, you'd probably know this.
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:00 PM on August 15, 2004


I think it's time for the EU to start up a pan-European force, no?
posted by amberglow at 3:17 PM on August 15, 2004


There are talks about it, but it's not agreed yet.

Personally, I'm not keen if it means soldiers from one country are dragged off to fight some war somewhere to serve the interests of another country (see France having interests in Iraq, or the UK having interests in Syria, should it ever come to it), but said soldiers are from a country with nothing to do with the situation.

If such a force were created strictly for a defensive role then I'd consider it.
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:35 PM on August 15, 2004


Well, make it so that it's only to be used defensively, and within the EU borders, unless all the countries agree otherwise (like NATO is sorta).
posted by amberglow at 3:37 PM on August 15, 2004


or to defend those borders from invasion.
posted by amberglow at 3:38 PM on August 15, 2004


unless all the countries agree otherwise

No, it must be purely within the borders and never anything more, or else no support from myself...realpolitic will mean things get twisted in terms of countries "agreeing" with each other.
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2004


To test the hypothesis. I know that's an alien concept around here and may not be recognized, but my background is scientific and it's a habit.

Is it a common scientific practice to ask a question and then answer it in the very next sentence?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2004


tom, what's the thinking on that around Europe?

and what do you other EuroMeFites think?
posted by amberglow at 4:09 PM on August 15, 2004


European Defense Policy, an American Perspective. Cato Institute, June 24th, 2004 (pdf file). Definately worth reading for the facts at hand; Europe's goals and America's interest in them.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:23 PM on August 15, 2004


In Ireland it's not favoured by most. Most people like the fact that we're neutral. Now, we're not neutral in reality (see WW2, see Guld War 1, see Gulf War 2). Personally, I'd like to see Ireland get a defence force together first for its own borders, never mind the rest of Europe.

After that, if legislation was created at EU level purely for the defence of the EU and its borders then I'd consider it, as I said. My big fear is agreeing to a defence force, and then one day wake up to see that same defence force off fighting in the Middle East or Africa. As far as I'm concerned such a force should exist to defend the EU from Russian invasion, Chinese invasion, African invasion or US invasion, as well as anti-terror defence. It should not be used for peacekeeping or other missions - that is something for the UN (who it must said, are currently doing an apalling job at peacekeeping and conflict resolution).
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:59 PM on August 15, 2004


Well, i'd like to see you guys get something together both to counter us, and because the UN's not being used the way it should. I'd be all for beefing them up, but very few people here agree with me, sadly.
posted by amberglow at 5:46 PM on August 15, 2004


No, it must be purely within the borders and never anything more, or else no support from myself...realpolitic will mean things get twisted in terms of countries "agreeing" with each other.

Really Tom, you wouldn't have dispatched EU peacekeepers to Rwanda in 1994 if sufficient political cohesion existed? They're talking about Fukuyama further up the front page and the end of history; are there any ideological opponents from which the EU might expect a conventional military attack - the examples you give aren't particularly convincing.

Given Europe’s colonial legacies which have made such a fine contribution to fucking up the world, I think, that it’s appropriate that Europe gives something back to the world. Especially in a world dominated by a hyperpower motivated only by its own interests and not morality.
posted by dmt at 5:05 AM on August 16, 2004


you wouldn't have dispatched EU peacekeepers to Rwanda in 1994

No. That was the job of the UN. And they fucked up. And they're doing it again with Sudan.

It is however, likely that soldiers with the UN going over there would have been European, but I would prefer to have them under the control of the United Nations, not Europe.

the examples you give aren't particularly convincing

Which is the reason why most people I know aren't keen on the idea of a unified European defence force in the first place.

Given Europe’s colonial legacies which have made such a fine contribution to fucking up the world, I think, that it’s appropriate that Europe gives something back to the world. Especially in a world dominated by a hyperpower motivated only by its own interests and not morality.

And this is the reason why I am so reluctant to send an EU force into somewhere like Rwanda. Europe (and the United States) should give something back by working to make the UN an effective force in the world, not some vaguely multilateral at best, baldly unilateral at worst coalition of the willing type scenario.
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:38 AM on August 16, 2004


In principle you are of course right but given France in particular's culpability you really don't think that there was an imperative for Europe to act in Rwanda? I can't agree. Nor do the aid workers who were there.

Saying that the UN's fucked up doesn't morally absolve Europe of the legacies which it's bequeathed to the world. See: Sudan. The UN is fucked up - look at the composition of the Human Rights Committee - and Europe alone isn't going to be able to fix it.

Given that this is the reality then surely this provides the EU with a foreign policy imperative based on consensus based morality - for an example of which, see the European Convention on Human Rights.

The EU is explicitly built on a progressive social foundation and this chimes with an EU force, orientated around peacekeeping interventions, genocide interdiction and such like rather than a dubiously needed force for conventional military defence.

So then, linking back to Amazon link above, there's a considerable body of scholarship which says that the provision of humanitarian aid - which is the prime mover of the EU's foreign policy today - actually prolongs and exacerbates conflicts such as that in Rwanda. Given that reality, I'd prefer EU intervention to UN action - and that unfortunately is the choice notwithstanding the obvious desirability tempered with impracticability of UN reform.
posted by dmt at 11:19 AM on August 16, 2004


Interesting DMT, and I might even agree, but the thought of an EU military force going to a Rwanda, and then staying and then never leaving scares the hell out of me. Europe has done that before, and I for one do not want to see it repeated.

It should be a UN responsibility (ie, the world's), in which Europe has an involvement.
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:10 PM on August 16, 2004


« Older Jazz in 2500?...  |  Kevin Hulsey.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments