Friday, November 11, 2016

Comments from the German Defense Minister

One of the lesser noted things from Wednesday night....as various German journalists and political figures fell over themselves in whatever criticism they could quickly generate from the US election.....was a comment by the Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU):

"What his advisers will hopefully tell him and what he needs to learn is that NATO isn't just a business. It's not a company.  I don't know how he values NATO." During his election campaign, Trump threatened to abandon U.S. allies in Europe if they do not spend enough on defense. "

Oddly, this comes from the Defense Minister who has faced continual criticism on her ministry from opposition parties because of poorly managed defense projects (from Helicopter operational rates, to weapon operational rates, and aircraft sortie rates).  The entire German military system runs on a very tight budget and continually faces outside criticism.

Having been around the US military for thirty-odd years, I can safely say that a lot of good business practices have been implemented and saved some money.  More good business practices are possible and reviews need to be a yearly thing.

Let's face facts that NATO reached maximum potential in the 1980s, and by 1991....with the collapse of the Wall and the Soviet Union....every single day that goes by....is a lesser requirement for NATO to exist as it is.  The billions that the US pours into this remaining force of 100,000-odd troops in Europe?  Trump is simply measuring the cost of this force and whether it is really necessary to base them overseas in a high-cost atmosphere.

If you took the yearly cost of running an air-wing at Spangdahlem and then moved that wing to some base in New Mexico....you'd find that roughly one-third of the cost evaporated.  You'd use local schools for the kids of the base.  You'd lessen the security structure.  You wouldn't have people rotating out via Frankfurt each day.  The list goes on and on.

There's nothing wrong in calling for one massive exercise each year....bringing over forty US fighters for two weeks, and flying in 14,000 US Army troops for a joint exercise with three or four NATO nations in one centralized location.  You prove they can deploy and set-up in hours.....run through some exercises, and then fly the team home.  End of the story.

For those who want to cite some Russian threat....please cite what exactly they have in terms of invasion power.  The truth is....via the internet, news media people, and propaganda....there's a much bigger threat to democracy in Europe than some stupid invasion.  Why would Putin waste billions on a bloated military structure when you go and spend 10-percent of the same money on hackers, news journalists, and agents to get juicy black-mail material....to accomplish the same thing?

In the heat of next summer's build-up for the German national election and all the hype by the left (SPD, Greens and Linke Party)....a simple announcement will occur that the US will downsize it's military in Germany.  The numbers will be front-page news for three or four days, and send the German election into an odd direction.

Face it, the world is changing.

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