- Worth noting that Europeans are still among the biggest defense spenders in the world, the UK and France are ahead of Russia
- EU as a whole second only the U.S.
- Obama had wanted more troops in Afghanistan last, got squat
- What are European armies for? National defense? Expeditionary forces for “neocolonial” adventures in the Third World? The more humdrum police-like work of peacekeeping?
No Guns, No Butter
NATO agrees to “trim fat”
Even NATO itself is up for reductions after it has had trouble with its finances.
14 Oct. NATO ministers agree to “cut fat” by reducing HQs from 11 to 7, staff from 13,000 to 9,000 14 NATO agencies to be reduced to 3, focusing on acquisitions, support and communications
No agreement on who will lose HQs and bases
CUTS AND AFGHANISTAN
Rasmussen on UK cuts: look at Czechs, increasing Afghan troops despite “drastic cuts in public spending.”
“This shows it is possible to cut fat while building muscle.”
Gates had complained of “Cold War-era structures” that were too heavy, needed to be streamlined
- The agreement on cuts comes after defence ministers in February decided to fill a budget deficit of €640 million in the alliance’s investment pot for this year.
- Many of 380 Challenger 2 tanks to be mothballed, same heavy armour, artillery, including AS90 howitzer
- Army should stay same size, 100,000, until 2015, when combat role in Afghanistan will end, 20,000 soldiers in Germany to come home
- Navy to have less new frigates
- All eight squadrons of RAF’s two-crew Tornado GR4s to be removed
- Plan to buy 48 Eurofighter Typhoons to be dropped, leaving total of 160
- Total RAF may be cut from 760 to 550 over 10 years
Germany is to Shrink Army by a Third
- German defense minister proposed a one third cut to the Bundeswehr in August, scrapping military service from 252,000 to 165,000
- Conservatives are split, liberals support it
- Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
- Not strictly the same kind of problem
Plus a decent blog post in French
“risk of a incoherence in capabilities” and “risk of decrochage technological”
- Hillary to EU: Stop cutting your defence budgets
- Clinton: “NATO has been the most successful alliance for defensive purposes in the history of the world… but it has to be maintained. Each country has to be able to make its appropriate contributions.
- US particularly worried about UK cuts. The UK, traditionally, provides as many troops for US operations as entire rest of the EU put together.
- (Afghanistan, Iraq, the first Gulf War)
- Gates: “My worry is the more our allies cut their capabilities, the more people will look to the United States to cover gaps.”
- Discussed NATO “new strategic concept” and anti-missile shield
- Clinton with Ashton: “as strong as ever”
- Shopping!!! (Europe not EU)
- “new strategic concept”
- Exercises in vacuous profundities.
- Discussed Serbia, Kosovo, Pakistan…
UK defence spending worries US
- London to slash defence by 10-20%
- Liam Fox told Gates that key programs would not be cut
- Martin Longden, pres attaché for British embassy in Washington: “We enter it as America’s most important military ally, and we’ll leave this review still as American’s most important ally”.
- Fox to Gates: we will keep special forces, buys of F-35 jets and nuclear forces
- “Those three things our friends in America care deeply about, and we understood that”.
- Anonymous U.S. official: “I think we’re confident the UK will maintain a robust military capability”.
- Fox to reporters (apparently): we will have less deployable troops but will retain forces at “a respectable and useful level.”
I am going to paraphrase Kissinger on “strategic superiority”: What is a “strategic concept? Can you eat it?
- Foreign and defense ministers endorsed draft strategic concept meant to adapt alliance to new threats such as cyber attacks
- Germany and France at odds over role of nuclear weapons and missile defense
- NATO was once a legitimate defensive alliance, now it is mainly an organism meant to help “coral” the little armies of the United States’ European cousins into something half-useful.
- Clinton: ensures “that NATO evolves as the world evolves… relying on the strategies of the past simply will not suffice.”
- Praised by ministers as “short and readable”, to be approved in November
- Rasmussen: “convergence on what modern defense entails and on balancing the importance of having a strong deterrence posture with the desire to strengthen arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts”
- Rasmussen thinks NATO leaders will agree to interlink European systems with US-developped missile defense under a NATO umbrella
- Minimual cost (147M euros over 10 years), Russia to be invited (…)
- Herve Morin compared it to the Maginot line!
- “You protect yourself against the Apocalypse, when the best way of avoiding Apocalypse is to be able to make yourself respected with a military tool and a credible defense”. Dismissing German comments about nuclear disarmament.
- “Arms control and disarmament must be the trademarks of our political alliance” says foreign German Guido Westerwelle
- Out of question for US
- Don’t let Russia join NATO!
- Third strategic review since end of Cold War
- “The idea of including Russia” “is like a red rag to a bull for Poland.”
- Meant to protect against the Mideast
- Core Europe vs. Atlanticists vs. Ossies
- First likes Russia, second wants US and fight terrorism, last considers Russia the major threat
- “NATO’s core mission, to protect the 900 million citizens of NATO countries from attack, must never change – but it must be a modern defense, against modern threats”
- UK to cut by 2-4 billion, Germany planning 6.3B cut
- “President Barack Obama is worried that NATO will become little more than a talking shop, and has demanded an end to the requirement that the alliance’s decisions be backed by unanimous vote, which has been a feature of NATO proceedings for the last 61 years.” Wants stronger SG powers in time of crisis.
- Germany, Norway, Holland, Belgium want to remove nukes from territory
- France doesn’t care
- “The differences between Paris and Berlin, whose relations are already strained, centre on how to strike the right balance between the traditional reliance on nuclear deterrents and the new anti-missile shield.”