Monday, February 02, 2004

Shooting out of Both Sides of their Mouths

So now Strategy Page has an overview of European outlays for military strength, and the outlook is grim:
Since the Cold War ended in 1991, defense spending has been in decline throughout the world. In 1990, NATO countries average spending on defense was 4.7 percent of its GNP. By 2002, even after the terrorist attacks on America, it had reached a low of 1.9 percent.
On the one hand, they refuse to approbate any use of force by the United States in the political realm and, on the other hand, they unilaterally disarm themselves, leaving the American armed forces as the sole military organization with the strength to operate against any opponent stronger than Chad.

At least they appear to be modernising the forces that they are retaining:
The good news in all this is that Europe, agonizingly and slowly, is following the US lead in deploying transformational weapons and introducing new asymmetrical tactics for fighting terrorists. Lighter and more mobile brigades are being fielded by most Western countries, especially in Britain and Germany, equipped with light armored vehicles (LAVs), laser range finders, and GPS. Aircraft will be used with greater efficiency and in smaller numbers, armed with precision munitions and stand-off weapons. New amphibious vessels are also being built, along with aircraft carriers, and fast sealift vessels, all geared toward expeditionary warfare.
So they are showing the appearance of keeping pace qualitatively, yet they are quantitatively slimming down their forces to the point where they could be, at best, a minor player in any major action.

It really sucks to be taken advantage of like this. They would never dare to disarm themselves unless they were pretty damn sure that we would be available on a moment's notice when and if we are needed. They decry our role as the world's policeman, yet they refuse to arm any other cop on the beat. It is all so, well, Continental.