Friday, June 10, 2011

SECDEF joins Craddock, Salamander & others


We have been too polite for too long.

For those who have been close to NATO - we all know it is true. You know my opinion on our NATO allies. Forget me, I'm just a retired O-5. Review what Gen. Craddock said on the way out - then read this from SECDEF Gates.
In his final policy speech as Pentagon chief, Gates questioned the viability of NATO, saying its members' penny-pinching and lack of political will could hasten the end of U.S. support. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark against Soviet aggression, but in the post-Cold War era it has struggled to find a purpose.
"Future U.S. political leaders - those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me - may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost,"

"The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress - and in the American body politic writ large - to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense," he said.

Without naming names, he blasted allies who are "willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets."
...
"Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform, not counting the U.S. military, NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops, not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters, transport aircraft, maintenance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and much more," Gates said.
The full transcript is available here and here. Below is a short clip.



Just follow the NATO tag below - the archive has more to chew on.

Shame everyone does this on the way out the door, to no effect. Time to take action if you want to get people's attention. Once again - WWII & the Cold War is over. We need to stop enabling Europe's military-welfare support. A couple of Combined logistics and training facilities, and that it.

USA based with global reach. Rinse, repeat.

If you need more proof of the Potemkin Village that is our NATO allies defense spending, Norway helps.
Norway will scale down its fighter jet contribution in Libya from six to four planes and withdraw completely from the NATO-led operation by Aug. 1, the government said Friday.
Defense Minister Grete Faremo said she expects understanding from NATO allies because Norway has a small air force and cannot "maintain a large fighter jet contribution during a long time."
The announcement comes as the Obama administration puts pressure on Germany, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands to shoulder a greater share of the alliance campaign, which has heated up with intensified airstrikes on Libya's capital.
The Scandinavian country's air force says Norwegian F-16 jets have carried out about 10 percent of the NATO airstrikes in Libya since March 31.
Spin on ... spin on ... but the truth is there as it the measured retreat under fire in Afghanistan initiated by the Canadians and Dutch.

As a side note - you'll see the post tomorrow, but if you are interested in this topic go ahead and clear your Sunday late-afternoon schedule; you are not going to want to miss the next Midrats.

UPDATE: Our buddy Phil at DoDBuzz picks out a jewel from the SECDEF,
The defense secretary was even harsher in his critique of NATO’s command of the Libya operation. After an initial bombing campaign run by the Americans, the alliance took over the air war and Mr. Gates warned that NATO may not be up to the task.

“The mightiest military alliance in history is only eleven weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country — yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference,” Mr. Gates said.

While the Libya war was unanimously endorsed by NATO nations, less than half are participating, and less than a third are carrying out strike missions.

“Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t,” Mr. Gates said. “The military capabilities simply aren’t there.”

66 comments:

Spade said...

It is funny or sad that 6 fighters is a "large...contribution"?

Sean said...

So they are going from 6 jets down to 4 jets??

And these 6 jets have been responsible for ten percent of the missions flown so far?

How far we have fallen from the days of yore...six planes is the final dogfight scene in Top Gun for crying out loud!

UltimaRatioRegis said...

SECDEF actually joins Craddock, Stano, Salamander, and others.....

ewok40k said...

Poland has no stake in Libya, mission in AFG is eating all available funds, and we need our F-16s vis a vis Russia anyway. Sorry, not this time... "unofficial - we doubt Obama or anyone will help us in case of trouble with Russia, so why do we have to help in Libya? We signed to stay until 2014 in AFG and we keep the pledge. Until we see some US troops permanently stationed in the bears way, no more voulnteering."

James said...

Obama? Hell no that man wouldnt act if canada was invaded.

The new age chamberlain.

James said...

NATO is already dead. Half of our valiant allies in afghanistan have done effectively nothing sense they got there but stare out from the Bases built with US money while US money keeps them supplied and feed. Then they use there own money to pay of the taliban to go elsewhere.

Italy spain anyone? Then you have those countries from former russian satelites that have felt the boot and are still in many ways poor but have more balls than all our traditional allies put together.

Then there is Germany who's troops wanted to help but cant because of chicken sh*t ROE's and rules forced upon them by a worthlessly liberal and political command.

NATO is dead. Time to find those who are there when it counts. Canada, Poland, ROK, Aussies, Brits etc....leave the rest...........of course some of those will be effectively a kitten in 10yrs anyways..........oh how the mighty have fallen.

CDR Salamander said...

... and there my friend is the problem with NATO and why Europe should expect fewer and fewer Americans to do their defending for them.

Who has more of a stake in Libya; USA or Poland?  I can tell you this - USA has none.  

One could argue, Poland - but you expect the USA to subsidize Europe as they try to put a cap on the exploding African demographic bottle aimed at your underbelly.  As a Pole, you feel no need  to do anything until Americans deploy to confront the bear.  Really?  Do you understand how tonedeaf that sounds to the American ear?  Do you not understand what American Naval and Air power can bring to bear in a matter of hours to defend Poland?

Play this game too.  Get a map of Europe with locations of American forces.  Then place that map over the continental USA.  Using NYC as a base, one of the best fighting units in the world, 173rd based out of Vincenza, ITA - and the USAF base in Spangdahlem, DEU is closer to Warsaw than Charleston, SC is to NYC.  The US Army at Grafenwoer and the rest of Bavaria is about the same distance to Warsaw as Fayetville, NC is to NYC.

To the American POV - such statements from Europeans smack of being spoiled, ungrateful, and entitled children.  Frankly - we are sick of it.  If Europe spent the same % of GDP as the USA does - then it would perhaps feel as bad as it does.

E40 - you know you're one of my favorite members of the front porch, so don't take this as a personal attack - but .... how about this?  Until Europe starts to spend at least 80% of the same % of GDP that we do on defense - no more American volunteering?  Call us when you need help - but we tire of working on your land while you stay inside in the air conditioning getting a manicure and surfing pr0n on the computer we bought you.

We are supposed to be your friend, not your guard.  BTW - we're broke.

Smoke 'n' Oakum said...

Am I the only one that finds myself wishing Gates would run for President, whether next year or in 2016?

For me, the more important issue is the more subtle one that lurks behind the gauntlet he just threw down. Yes, the American public is getting a bit tired of feeling like they keep getting volunteered as GloboCop as every other nation on Earth steps backward to make it look like we stepped forward.

But also: the multi-lateral world all these pols and policymakers claim to want is simply not possible in the framework that exists. Gates' real contribution with this speech, then, is laying bare the Naked Emperors of the European courts for their public to consider. They've gotten accustomed to taking us for granted while decrying our tendency to look out for our interests while playing GloboCop; now they'll have to start reconciling themselves to the reality that they don't get to have it both ways.

spek said...

NATO is a joke.  Does anyone really think the USA, not to mention Germany, France, Spain, etc. are really going to go to war in Riga or Talinn if the Russians decide they want Latvia or Estonia back and roll tanks?  That little romp in Georgia proved how gutless west Europe is. 

Smoke 'n' Oakum said...

CDR, speaking as a guy who works with folks around the world all day every day, I didn't read E40's comments as harshly as you seem to have read them. I think maybe there's a wee bit of a language barrier thing unfolding there.

And I think he's got a point: we can't expect Poland to commit too deeply to NATO when we've not yet fully proven that we regard them as anything but the buffer state they've *always* been treated as. They simply don't know if they won't wake up one morning to find themselves sharing a border with Russia once more, or at least a bigger one than the one with the Kaliningrad exclave, anyway.

I think parts of both arguments will be addressed with time. One thing I've been liking about post-Communist Poland is the way its foreign policy and outward statements have been pretty laid-back and pragmatic. They don't seem as prone to needless bluster as are other traditional "allies" who have long since been taking us for granted. And it seems like they, at least, do take their NATO commitment more seriously than others, and their mouths don't seem to be writing checks their bodies can't cash.

Now, bear in mind also: for the purposes of this comment, I ain't even touching any of those notions of missile shields that irritate the bear so much, lol. That's just too big a can of worms for me for today.

James said...

Western europe cant really europe had become to dependent upon the Fuel from russia.

Smoke 'n' Oakum said...

I think Georgia is a bad example. I think Georgia was Saakasvili's mouth writing a check Georgia couldn't cash, and that no other country could fairly be expected to float. The only question is whether he was prodded into it by the neo-cons in charge of US foreign policy at the time, as a means of testing Putin by proxy.

That said, I'm kinda torn as to the rest of your comment. On one hand, there's really no need for Russia to even bother with the Balts again; they've got access to the sea, and institutional expertise in operating in colder waters. On the other hand, obviously, it's been done before.

Just a matter of how much the ideology of the times played into the Russian outlook, I guess. If I was Putin/Medvedev...I wouldn't care one lick if those republics were independent or not. But then again, Russia always has had a certain inferiority complex with regards to having people that don't agree with it on their borders.

Short version: who the hell knows? Hopefully, we'll never find out.

Smoke 'n' Oakum said...

And yes, lol, y'all just heard me: if Gates ran against Obama, I would vote Gates. ;)

I just wish men of his breed weren't endangered species in the modern GOP.

sid said...

Having been just down the road from where Gates was earlier in the week (I saw the E-4 and the C-17 on the ramp at BRU) with a room full of folks from all over the EU...I will opine there is a grass roots surge of conservatism growing across the continent that isn't well recognized yet.

More and more I am seeing them growing more tired of their traditionally "Euro" ways...Its hurting them in their wallets and way of life. And at least those that I was exposed to are right fed up...For the most part.

(FWIW and YMMV)

spek said...

You can sub Bucharest & Sofia for Riga/Talinn....

There would be a lot of resolutions, empty threats and hand wringing, but you would NEVER see a French Rafale aiming at a Russian tank unless it was a whole lot closer to Paris.

Skippy-san said...

As long as we have bases on European soil-and major staff headquarters-Gates can lecture all he wants, and the European continent has a defacto defense, because we are compelled to defend our own Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. There are NO PLANS to reduce that infrastructure whatsoever. We need the bases-at least as long as we have 150,000 troops in the Middle East and AFG.  And as long as we committed to "robust missle defense of Europe from MRBM's".

Words will not mvoe the Europeans. Actions such as radical relocation of the major staffs to CONUS and a reduction of bases might.

Skippy-san said...

But in a few years we will have American Sailors on both Polish and Romanian soil, less than 200km from Bucharest or Warsaw. That changes the equation somewhat.

ewok40k said...

No offense taken... well, to be sure myself I'd love to see our newest warbirds see some action - but there are 3 obstacles that seem to prevent this. 
firstly, our constitution has a set 55% GNP limit and were approaching it, major war spending would send it into no-borrowing zone and major trouble overall
secondly, there is a parliamentary election coming in autumn and our PM seems to be wary of unpopular moves
thirdly, and most importantly, there seems to start a new rift in the Europe - a north/south rift with Med countries very concerned about Libya, and in general Islamic world and Baltic area countries, including Scandinavs, Poles,Balts and even to some degree Germany  having Russia as main threat vector.
As for the Obama, the less spoken, the better. He failed to produce even temporary/shuttle US military presence in Poland as a tripwire in case of trouble with Russia during recent visit.
My sources indicate Poland is going to buy some second-hand Patriot missiles from Germany.

Skippy-san said...

Speaking of defense spending-URR's favorite authoritative source had a word or two on that subject.

spek said...

I'm writing from Bucharest right now (up late waiting for the NHL finals to start). These people don't have any realistic expectations of military help from the west.  They expect more more financial help due to EU membership than they expect military assistance from NATO. NATO membership is a nice to have - maybe just get some free equipment and raining, maybe even a base and some infrastructure, but I don't know if the Black Sea outpost will survive too many rounds of forthcoming budget cuts.

James said...

What does includes public order and safety mean? Law enforcment and if so also prisons?

Also what is the amount that the US spends per troop and on BS and fiddly bits for cost.

And does it include our support for NATO? 25% of its base cost plus all the other stuff we buy for them?

James said...

I wonder if anyone has noticed the world shattering along new lines and with new threats everywhere.

This whole Post American world is awesome no?

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Yeah, the E-communist. 

Casey Tompkins said...

Skippy, I can see the need for transport & logistical support while in SW Asia, but do we need all the other bases & servicemen/women there?

You raise a good point about MRBMs, but isn't that also a European priority? Shouldn't they take the lead? Why should we post American units & equipment there when the Euros could do the same with their own resources? I seem to recall a European Space Agency, so it's not as if they don't have the science, engineering, and/or technology.

avidus@yahoo.com said...

I'm all for the NATO bashing - especially the revolting refusal of allies to fight in Afghanistan.  However I would suggest that not all members are the same.  The Aussies and Canadians are doing a bloody good job of closing with and destroying the enemy.

Their defence budgets may be low compared to the US, but they train hard with our forces, and fight just as hard when in contact.

Casey Tompkins said...

Wow. Didn't know we were up to 4.7% GDP on Defense spending. I guess all that nation-building had an effect, eh? :-$

Gotta give URR some credit for his E-communist remark, considering this gem from the author: "I would argue that at least half of America's military spending provides no benefit whatsoever to Americans outside the military-industrial welfare racket," not to mention his approving citation of how well "bureaucratic discipline" manages health-care costs. I'm just glad I wasn't drinking anything just then.

Still, the article tends to highlight the difference between Europe and America, and why a tad more defense spending might be a good idea, for them. When you literally can't afford to keep more than four jets on station for an international operation, or have to give up your last carrier, there's something screwy going on. BTW, there are no more "paras" in the British Army, as they have ended jump training. They're now airmobile instead. This doesn't mean our defense spending is optimal, but I do think it means they're slacking off under the (now) sixty-year-old American defense umbrella.

Lose NATO. Pare down our Iraq participation to the minimum (how much are we spending per month or year in that theater now?), close out Afghanistan, downsize the Army and focus more on an enhanced National Guard, with the Regulars as a training cadre, while featuring the Marines as our go-to force for hot spots. Me, I'd vote for returning all tactical air to the Army as well, and let the Air Force play with their bleeding-edge goodies. :) And, no, I don't advocate returning to 1939-era spending or staffing levels.

While we're at it can we get the Navy to finally admit that their DDGs (8,300 [Flight I] - 10,000 tons [Flight III]) are really cruisers, and the frigates (4,100 tons)are really destroyers? For that matter, I'm still waiting for the "Ford, not Ferrari" policy to be rolled out.

Mike M. said...

I think you're right.  The average European is far more conservative than his leaders, from what I've seen.

Mike M. said...

I have to protest - Neville Chamberlain had far more fighting spirit than Obama!

John said...

All the criticism of NATO are valid.

However, please tell me again why the U.S. is attacking Libya, and what the goals are and the exit strategy.

And, if the U.S. is  now providing the munitions to our allies who are running short, who will we turn to as our stockpiles are further drawn down?  I sure don't see Obama and Gates spending scarcve resources buying more bombs and missiles (and especially not deciding to prioritize those over Diversity crapola.)

Obama gets a free ride on this whole interventionist adventure.  Thank you "watchdog" media.

CDR Salamander said...

See my posts over at USNIBlog when this started.

CDR Salamander said...

The Canadians have left the field.  Australia is not in NATO.  You also need to review your caveat matrix a bit closer.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

This gem from your "authoritative source":

"Wow, right? 4.8% of GDP is a lot for a wealthy liberal democracy."

Not hardly.  Traditionally defense spending has been far higher.  But then again, the Economist makes its points, facts be damned.

Skippy-san said...

NATO is working on ALTBMD-but its a pipe dream. American builit SM-3's. SM-2's and downstream SM-6's are going to be defending Europe for the next decade. Where the Europeans could be a real help is not selling off all their band width for Wi-Fi, and kicking certain NATO allies in the nuts for not already ponying up a radar site for missile defense. It would also ease the burden on USS DDG's and CG's if we could convince the Dutch and the British and the Spanish to buy BMD systems for their ships.

Skippy-san said...

Actually they are just echoing Eisenhower's point from 50 years ago. Even at the higher rate and with budgets more in alignment than now , high defense spending prevents investment in a whole host of things the nations should be spending money on. And then comes the question of what value we are getting on all the dollars we are pouring down sinkholes like Iraq and Afghanistan, when that money could be used for recapitalization of a blue water force.

FDNF Squid said...

On this subject Rummy was spot on....

ewok40k said...

to be sure, Brits ended para training because Herky birds are tied up in AFG... you cant wage war on peacetime budget... and that is what politicos are selling to the masses.

ewok40k said...

well, given some of newest euro-FFGs are Aegis-compatible, using them to shore up BMD would be a no-brainer in saner times...

ewok40k said...

...and average Pole is more conservative than average Euro. Think Europe's Texas - rough borderland with tradition for independence.

ewok40k said...

Ahem... can I ask, is the request for giveaway or sale of the said ammo? Because if they are willing to pay, US should not be displeased...

MCPO said...

Time for the USA to stop being the World's police for a while....

Outlaw Mike said...

Would someone PLEASE be so kind to check the background of Grete Faremo?

That's right, the Norwegian Socialist Party.

Much if not all depends on who calls the shots in the government or even only at Defense. Belgium has since three years a center-right figure at the head of its MoD, Pieter De Crem, and we currently have six F-16's for CAS in AF plus a small number of C130's. Another six F-16s carry out ground strikes in Libya. There ARE Belgian ground troops getting shot at, together with the Germans.

The former Secdef was from the Parti Socialiste. What Belgium is doing now would be UNTHINKABLE if he were still MoD boss.

When he - Andre Flahaut - was still at the helm, there was an army general, Major general Testelmans, who in 2007 or so, rather foolishly perhaps, said that the Belgian Army was ready for ground operations in AF.

Major general Testelmans is now shoveling horse shit in an Ardennes farmhouse or something similar.

Why is Spain doing nothing? Because their SecDef is the socialist Carmen Chacon. Dunno if you ever heard of her, but she is litterally CASTRATING the Spanish Armed Forces, and has PUBLICLY denounced her very own department. She wants to downsize the Spanish Army even more, unarm what remains, and turn that into some kind of Peace Corps.

It depends on who calls the shots.

And trust me CDR, you may be gloating and loathing the euro military, and rightly so, but if the USN is naming a ship after a union boss and if Marines are getting sensitivity training 'bout how not to offend people of a certain sexual orientation if they want a straight marine to fondle their pecker in the shower, you're heading the same way.

It's time for a rightwing revolution, something along the lines of what Buckley did in 55. Unfortunately, the state of the GOP does not give me much hope.

Benjamin Walthrop said...

The mythology of a post American world is nonsense.  E40 does bring up an interesting point regarding the north-south fracture lines rather than the more traditional east west.  That bears watching because TPMB may have a great vision, but his analysis may be way off base.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>Actually they are just echoing Eisenhower's point from 50 years ago."</span>

Actually, they are making a statement that is factually incorrect. 

Anonymous said...

USA will (soon) "have" to stop being World's cop.   It's obvious.

USAF waited way, way too long to finally award a contract to start to plan to build 179 new flying gas tankers and 18 of them might be delivered by BOEING as promised by the year 2017.   Big woop.   No way the USA can continue to be involved in places like Iraq, Libya, Afghan, etc. without many new USAF land-based large refueling tankers.   Even the F-18 that launches from a CVN must tank 4 to 5 times per mission to get into and back from Afghanistan !    These US Navy fighters are worthless without large, land-based USAF tanker aircraft being at the right place at the right time.   Amazing that the US Air Force would wait until 2011 to even award a contract to replace Eisenhower era existing USAF tankers !    Boeing has promised to deliver the first 18 new tankers in 6 more years.   

USA cannot play World Cop even if Congress and President wanted to continue.    Thanks to USAF contract leadership.

LT B said...

Well, it may be too late.  Their socialist governance has destroyed their economy and the huge amount of immigrants flooding and out breeding the Europeans has strained their already weak welfare state.  Oh well, when Islamofascism takes over Europe, the US won't need to defend it any longer. 

LT B said...

Don't know if these are all that new.  Still dealing w/ Islamic incursion into Europe, still fighting Islams, Russia and E. Europe are still jockeying, the Great Game in Afghanistan continues on, but w/ us having substituted for England...  I don't think it is all that new. 

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

"Those Navy fighters are useless without large, land based USAF tanker aircraft"

Which is why the diversity the CNO should be pushing is aircraft types on bird farm flight decks.

Like ASW, AEW, Tanker, Helos of various types. Then go get a fighter interceptor attack with the max range possible. Like a "Bombcat redux"

Damn FA18's got no legs and the boat has almost no integral defense except against Bears and MIGs.

Why? FA 18 glut.

(That ought to stir 'em up for a while).

Skippy-san said...

How so? Its an opinon. Based on a comparison with the other liberal democracies.  He never asked you to agree with it.

Let's say that the reduction of American spending to a still relatively-truculent British level of 2.7% of GDP would lead to destabilisation around the globe, and would draw America into dangerous and expensive conflicts that would leave the average American worse off than they are under the more dominantly unipolar status quo. I don't find this at all plausible, but it's the best argument going for America's mammoth military, and it has interesting implications. Notice that this argument straightforwardly suggests that if the level of American military spending were a dangerously low 2.7% of GDP, a massive increase up to the 4.8% status quo would make Americans better off. Which is just to say that the liberal hegemony argument takes it for granted that there are circumstances under which a large increase in the level of government spending can improve living standards, as long as spending is focused on the right thing. So it seems to me that big-military hawks are committed to the idea that increases in the level of government spending can in principle improve standards of living, even though many of them also profess to be zealous advocates for smaller government.

Skippy-san said...

But its a big investment-no only in software and radar processing capability-but in a training architechture and deployments that would be required to make the deterrent effect viable. Its a non starter for a Dutch DDG to kill an Iranian missile from Dutch home waters. Unless you lke betting the Hague on a shot in terminal phase.

Skippy-san said...

I spent all last summer working in the Romaian MOD. They ponied up quickly on supporting US BMD ashore because they thought it would bring jobs and lots of brick and mortar built by their own workers. Sadly the US Navy is dissapointing them in every way on that score-they won't even get a large bunch of Sailors to get money from in bars and restaraunts. Which is damn shame because, I am convinced Romania could end up being a good deal for Sailors with guys begging to go over there-and real friends made with Romanian citizens. It would work well. But sadly-we will screw it up, just like every thing else.

Skippy-san said...

But its true-Naval Aviation has been sacrificed on the Altar of the Hornet-and that started back in the 1990's when we stopped worrying about multi-mission air wings. Thanks to the A-12, Naval Aviation sold itself and its soul away to the devil.

sid said...

<span> These US Navy fighters are worthless without large, land-based USAF tanker aircraft being at the right place at the right time. </span>

Sure didn't have to be that way...

A half century ago...yes. <span>a half century</span>...the same carrier deck design (yes, I know thats a FID deck in the pic. but you know what I mean) that is at sea today was sporting a 1000nm combat radius with an 8000 lb effective payload.

Just cause its new and sexy DOES NOT mean its "progress"

NavAir has been marginalized by way too much Hornet Love over the last two decades.

sid said...

<span> sporting a 1000nm combat radius with an 8000 lb effective payload.  </span>

Forgot to add...

<span>UNREFUELLED</span>

sid said...

You're right OM..

I fear that another 5 years of reign by King O and Queen Sleeveless will leave us in worse shape than Greece.

Casey Tompkins said...

Aha. More good points, with a couple of bonus cracks. :-D If I read you correctly, this is not a "sea vs. air" approach, but rather an "all of the above" approach, depending on locale & terrain, yes?

Casey Tompkins said...

Yeah, Sid, but what was the CEP of that 8,000 effective (and unguided) payload? :)

ewok40k said...

with megaton range warheads CEP was secondary concern :P
plus with modern avionics, it would be certainly as good as Hornets CEP

sid said...

Well Casey...

Back In The Day with what they delivered...

CEP was no issue

But that aircraft was not nuke only.

Imagine a similarly voluminous bomb bay (which could fit upwards of 8 1000 lb Mk 80's) on a more modern aircraft with JDAMS...

How many fewer tanker sorties would that equate to?

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Why?  Because the United States, which provided the vast majority of NATO's deterrence capability, has had well over that percentage of GDP in defense spending since 1945.  The nations for whom we provided that protection do not count in that equation.  If they did, we should factor in what portion of our defense spending went to cover NATO (V and VII Corps, and the apportioned USAF and USN forces for Europe), and add it to their respective defense expenditures and see where it fell as a percentage of their GDP.  (Hint: It would be a hell of a lot higher than 4.7% across the board.)

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

Nato? Pay?

Surely you jest.  Nato is takers, fakers, and us. Or if you prefer, and the US. A distinction without a difference. The Brits were damn good in their time, but too small to be useful now. Sad. The French flirt with you, but their national policy is to be unreliable.

ewok40k said...

Granted, US didnt do it out of a good heart and all, they just did not entertain the vision of Europe's economy in service of Soviet Empire... plus the whole welfare state business managed to reduce communiist parties in Western Europe  to a margin of remote-controlled Moscow puppets. I am willing to bet it was sound investment that paid off ultimately when Soviets crumbled under their own military spending of estimated 20-30% GNP.
But one needs look no further than to Russian Navy sinking into 2 digit ship navy to see that is over. Sure, Russia has potential to stir a lot of trouble, but even their Georgia adventure shows limits of their power - in the end Putin had some moment of political common sense and asked himself, what is the good in occupying a country that will remain hostile, in need of permanent garrison and not a lot of economic gain... I'm looking forward to nearing MIDRATS episode, BTW.

Skippy-san said...

In Afghanistan-most are refusing to fight because of a better reason : it is not in their national interest, and waste of precious resources that accomplishes nothing for them in the long run. Same is true for the US-we just haven't realized it yet.

Skippy-san said...

Which is kind of the point-the same threat set no longer exists, as it did in the Cold War. ( Although I would gladly bring back the Cold War if it would get us out of Afghanistan and Iraq and back to going to the Med).

The bashing of Europe can be overdone. They have a lot of things in their so called "socialist" countries we could use: decent trains for one.

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

The problems of the 18th century more or less put at bay by the actions of the 19th century which came apart across the 20th century unleashing the problems of the 18th century. "We didn't start the fire, it was always burnin', since the world's been turnin''.

Funny thing, across the centuries, maritime preeminence tends to underwrite local peace and prosperity.

World peace? Not this century.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"When the Cambrian measures were forming, they promised perpetual peace,
If only we'd turn in our weapons, the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed, they sold us, and delivered us, bound, to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, said 'Stick to the Devil you know.'"

ewok40k said...

...and then there are Japanese trains... :P