First let’s make it very clear that you will never find a greater proponent (one could even say fan)of the American military than I am. If you read here, you know that this is true. But what i admire is the ‘ass in the grass’, ‘boots in the mud’, ‘rubber meets the road’, war fighting military. The bureaucrats, the politicians, and the contractors at ‘Fort Fumble’ not so much. And that’s our point today.
First before we can adequately structure our military we need to figure out what we want it to do. That could be nothing beyond defending the continental United States all the way to stopping every brushfire conflict, everywhere. Neither extreme is rational, let alone reasonable.
Defending only CONUS makes no sense because our interests (and our friends, as opposed to our provisional allies) circle the world. We have especially made commitments in Europe and the Pacific, not to mention Israel.
In fact, there is no obvious reason anymore for the United States to be involved in the Middle East, except the defense of Israel. Nobody else shares our interests and values, they are simply vendors of oil, sand, and trouble. We already have a domestic surplus of sand and trouble, and with rational energy policy the same would be true of energy. That we don’t have that energy policy, has, and will again kill Americans. I don’t see any reason to not simply make everybody believe that we will defend Israel at any cost, and tell the rest to sod off, we have no interest in dealing with you anymore. They seem to have this fantasy that the seventh century was the best ever, who are we to deny them. Remember, oil was one of the major causes of the Second World War, as well. Here in North America, we can be quite easily self-sufficient, and likely have enough to help Europe as well.
In Europe and west Asia, amongst a bunch of other deployments we still have 50,000 soldiers in Germany. Why? To defend Germany, yes, but against whom? Russia? OK, that’s the official answer, but why? From nuclear weapons, fine. But we are being played for fools, American army troops in Germany are outnumbered by the entire German Army only about 3-1.
The Germans have less than 200,000 troops. (Incidentally we have 400,000 soldiers at Fort Hood, alone, more than twice the entire German Army.) I can see some deployed (so-called tripwire) forces in eastern Europe. I see no reason for a presence in Germany, other than inertia. We’ve talked before about the unspoken rules of engagement, that Russian forces don’t attack American forces, and this holds true as long as everybody has some shards of rationality remaining. And say what you will about Putin, he is rational. He’s not going anywhere that he might run into American forces, and vice versa. European defense has been an American (and British) responsibility since 1945.
I think it’s about time for Germany (and France, as well) to wake up and pull up their pants. They’re rich European countries who love to look down and insult the backwards Americans, maybe the time for NATO is over. Russia is a powerful regional power. Why? Because they choose to be. So can Germany be, if they wish. So can France. America should be supporting our friends, not playing sugar daddy to a bunch of moochers, and leeches. European gross national product is higher than American gnp.
And that brings us to the Pacific ocean areas. Most of our real friends are basically islands, and many of them are more or less off the coast of Asia. That means China. I can’t think of a provocation strong enough to make us invade China, and I suspect that’s true for them as well. They are a rising (resurgent might be a better word) power, and I’m not convinced their view on free trade is anywhere near ours and what the world has become used to. In addition they seem to be thinking that the old rules of imperialism are still in play, and so we seem to be somewhat at cross purposes.
Nothing new about that of course, the Imperial German fleet was a nuisance at the battle of Manila Bay way back in 1898 as well. The real question is, “How do we make sure our values of liberty, free trade, and such prevail”
Frankly a huge field army has little use in this theatre. And this is, I think the next cockpit of, if not war, perhaps conflicts of visions and maybe more. This is a navy and air force thing. That’s OK, that was always our forté, all the way back to the First Barbary War, we’ve always known how to do this.
If you think my thinking is way off base here, let me know in comments. Because soon we are going to start thinking about how we tailor the American military going forward. Why? Because it seems to me the bureaucrats are simply building and defending their budget empires, without rationally planning our defense.