Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Europe and Kerry

John Zvesper, writing from Europe, very thoughtfully explains why we shouldn’t exaggerate the anybody-but-Bush syndrome to be found in Europe, and also note (as many Europeans themselves have recently noted) that in the unlikely event of a Kerry victory, a Europe-U.S.A. rapprochement is by no means assured.   

Discussions - 10 Comments

Ok, I can’t wait to here how you explain away the massive troop withdrawals, from Asia and the Europe. “A leaner and more mobile force??” That’s BS!
“A new post 9/11 world?” sure but were the only ones who think that way, not our enemies!
I’ll tell you why we have to cut troop strength; George Bush has over extended our forces in the Middle East! This is his way of patching the dyke. George Bush is claming progress in the war on terror and victory in Iraq while our forces are in retreat from our obligations.

George Bush is claming progress in the war on terror and victory in Iraq while our forces are in retreat from our obligations.

Pray, tell us, Paul, what "our obligations" are regarding Western Europe? What threat requires the presence of U.S. forces?

How can we withdraw troops from Korea while engaged in a delicate negotiation with the North Koreans?

The cold war ended 10 years ago, but they just happen to get to this right now months before the election, politics, oh well, thank you neo-cons for finally agreeing on troop reductions over seas, another win for the liberals, hurray!

The cold war ended 10 years ago, but they just happen to get to this right now months before the election, politics, oh well, thank you neo-cons for finally agreeing on troop reductions over seas, another win for the liberals, hurray!

Huh? Is it my imagination, or was Bill Clinton president from 1993 to 2001? If troop withdrawal from Europe was such a burning issue for liberals, why didn’t it happen then? I seem to recall Bush talking about scaling back America’s overseas military presence during the 2000 campaign. That he didn’t follow up on it until now may be unfortunate--although probably inevitable given 9/11--but it’s hard to see how it qualifies as "another win for the liberals."

By the way, your use of the term "another" implies that there have been others.

I seem to remember reading an article a few months back where the S. Koreans were beginning to complain about the U.S. presence there. And to be frank about it, massive numbers of troops are no longer useful for defensive measures; only offensive. Anything that we may have needed many troops for in Korea can now be taken care of with minimal troops and cruise missiles.

Oh, and why are we responsible for negotiating a settlement with N. Korea? N. Korea was China’s pit-bull. We have an interest there, but our best plan of action is to put pressure on China to handle negotiations.

John, you asked about our obligations in Europe: solely supporting local economies. Actually, it is quite funny that some of the nations that disapproved of our Iraq endeavor have been negotiating with us for a year to ensure we do not remove all our troops from their countries.

So I should have said over 10 years ago, I’m making a point. I do not seem to remember George Bush talking about troop reductions during the 2000 campaign, please John, tell me from what source did you get that piece of information from, just memory? I’d like to read up on it. You suggest that “he was going to do it anyway and it was inevitable given 9/11. First off, George Bush has never spoke of this until a few day ago. If this was a campaign promises, believe me you would here Bush up there shouting how he kept his campaign promises, also, what dose a terrorist strike on New York have to do with troop redeployment in Europe? (Neo-Con issue blurring). As for what victories the liberals have won, all you have to do is look at victories the ACLU has won regarding civil rights such as affirmative action, busing, and equal rights. The bill of rights itself (witch you guys just love to step all over, until you’re the one who needs its protections) is a liberal achievement.

As far as I’m concerned we our not in south Korea just for the Koreans, we are also there to protect our interests, just because a minority protests A U.S. military presents, doesn’t mean that we should reduce or pull out, if that were the case we would not have troops or bases in quite a few countries. Luke I hope you’re right, I hope we do not need troops on the border, but how many North Koreans can you kill with cruse missiles? 1 million of them as they cross the border?, and now what’s going to happen is every time the north wants to pressure or threaten us, all they have to do is move troops near the border. All I know is we have let our guard down before, we have gone threw isolationistic times in our country before and we seem to get into trouble when we do it. We are responsible for North Korea because they are a threat to our safety that is a simple fact. The last thing I think you need to ponder Luke is your glib and quick dismissal of European concerns over troop strength, when is the last time you have herd the term “Massive troop build ups” or “Arms Race” in Europe? With this action, you are telling European countries to defend themselves or at the very least giving them permission to do so. You might think these concerns are dumb but so is the world.

I cannot link to the entire article because it would cost money, but I can tell you the date and paper that these quotations are from. Remember, the issue is not about troop reductions, but troop realignment. I apologize for the length of the post, but I think it is necessary for me to make my point.

Boston Globe, Feb. 8 2004, STUTTGART, Germany - Teams of American military specialists will begin scouting multiple sites in Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania this week to evaluate their potential to host new US land, sea, and air installations, military officials here said.

Boston Globe, July 12 2003, STUTTGART, Germany - Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania are emerging as the prime candidates for new American military bases in Europe, senior US officials said. General James Jones, commander of US forces in Europe, is scheduled to brief Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on the subject early next week, and military officials say he is likely to recommend the United States open new bases in the three former communist nations.

New York Times, Nov. 13, 2003, American and South Korean negotiators are close to agreement on a plan to relocate thousands of United States troops from Seoul. But as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld prepares to visit the region, the deal is being held up while South Korea decides how many American forces, if any, it wants to remain in the capital...The possible move out of Seoul is part of a broader discussion that includes a two-step plan to consolidate temporarily all of the American forces now stationed at many locations between Seoul and the demilitarized zone along the border with North Korea, before moving them to permanent quarters south of the capital.

Boston Globe, Jul. 7, 2003, Pentagon planners have begun to move troops off traditional bases, relying instead on small, stripped-down facilities based near what officials call the "arc of instability," which stretches from North Africa into Southeast Asia, or the "nonintegrating gap," which refers to a swath of countries shut out of global economic prosperity. The Pentagon is engaged in the most fundamental shift of US armed forces around the globe since America’s post-World War II rise to superpower status, according to defense officials and military specialists familiar with the still unfolding plans. The result will be more bases like Camp Lemonier, as planners move US forces away from a Cold War posture of containing a defined threat and toward a focus on speed and overwhelming muscle against emerging crises - a posture that fits President Bush’s policy of preventive war.

These are just a a few examples. The Bush Administration’s plans to move troops from Western Europe and S. Korea are well documented before this election season even started. The announcement of it now MAY be politically motivated, but the plan itself is DEFINATELY not. Rather, it is based on the Pentagon’s best guess about the nature of warfare in the coming years.

I for one wish we had a large activate military force; more troops available to put on the ground. I am not sure why the administration hasn’t pushed for an increase in the number of recruits (although applications to all the major military instituions is actually RISING despite the war). However, I also realize that it was the Clinton Administration who cut the defense budget so substantially that we had fewer active army divisions TOTAL during the late 90’s than we had over in the Gulf ALONE during the first Gulf War.

Well done Rob

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