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This is NATO
Posted by: McQ on Monday, December 10, 2007

And it is mostly useless:
Canada continued to press some of its reluctant NATO allies Friday to contribute more to front-line fighting in southern Afghanistan, but had to settle for a few more Polish helicopters.
Nice. And how many troops had been requested of the NATO members?
NATO still was unable to find another 1,000 to 1,500 troops to join the ranks of 43,000 personnel from 39 countries.
That's essentially 2 battalions of troops. And what they have in the fight is about the equivalent of 2 US divisions. IOW, if it were evenly divided up, each of the 39 countries would have had to cough up 38 troops. A platoon. But they can't squeeze that amount out to help win in Afghanistan.

Obviously you'd want them to send them in a larger formation than a platoon, but if NATO's 39 members can't field more than 43,000 troops, i.e. 2 division equivalents out of those 39 countries, then they're simply useless. And this demonstrates what should be a pretty obvious point that many of NATO's critics have been making - the other member nations are in it for their own self-preservation and expect the US to both carry the lion's share of any NATO missions as well as the lion's share of the defense of other NATO members.

Pretty sweet gig if you can get it. You draw down your defense spending to put it on propping up the welfare state and let the American taxpayer foot the bill for your defense?

Time to change that formula.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I agree we should end NATO. I doubt very much that the Europeans think the US is defending them — in fact, most Europeans think we’re crazy for spending half the world’s military budget when we’re essentially pretty safe anyway (and arguably might be safer if we didn’t have such an interventionist foreign policy).
Written By: Scott Erb
Yes I’m sure the French quite agree Dr Erb.....though a number of Africans might not agree.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
When the rest of the world is actually footing the bill for the ’military budget’ I’ll consider their concerns that we’re spending half of it.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Well, careful. THe Frech government USED to agree with Erb. NO longer.

Written By: Bithead
Yeah, they don’t agree with him now because of the loss of American influence and our decline throughout the world (snark)
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You really need to educate yourselves about French foreign policy if you think somehow Sarkozy has changed everything (by the way, I would have voted for him I were French). Seriously! Sarkozy is certainly moving away from the rhetoric of rivalry of Chirac, though the French public still is very staunchly skeptical of American policy, and nothing Sarkozy is doing suggests a fundamental change in French policy. The tone has changed, much like the Bush Administration has ditched the ’cowboy diplomacy’ of 2003 based on their recognition they need Europe. You’re too much into rhetoric and political propaganda, you need to look at the reality (though Sarkozy is definitely taking global warming seriously, which is good).

So yeah, make snide comments, but so far most of my predictions have been right, and I haven’t seen much counter to my argument about the pretty obvious American decline. Oh, and my blog entry today, December 10th, "A War Full of Illusions" explains why I’m convinced — and publicly predicting — that the current optimism about Iraq is going to collapse. Small steps are not really being made. (Oh, and I lay out my argument about American decline on the entry of November 23rd, which was pretty much the argument I made on a blog comment here which generated considerable snide remarks like above, but no real counter argument. That seems par for the course.
Written By: Scott Erb
So yeah, make snide comments, but so far most of my predictions have been right, and I haven’t seen much counter to my argument about the pretty obvious American decline
Yeah I read about that in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when the Japanese were on the rise and the US was the "Weary Titan." Just give us the precis doc...I’m really waiting to hear about this "decline" of which you speak?
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You draw down your defense spending to put it on propping up the welfare state and let the American taxpayer foot the bill for your defense?
Defense spending has nothing to do with welfare spending. It is about conscription: European countries that still have it won’t send any conscripts into a war-zone. That means that they can’t send existing units there, but instead they have to take professionals out of their units and throw them together in improvised, new "units" (I use the scare quotes because an outfit where the soldiers don’t even know each other can hardly be called a unit). If the number of professionals they can scrounge that way isn’t big enough, they offer incentives to conscripts so that they’ll sign up for a longer term and become deployable abroad. This process quite obviously can’t be repeated as often as needed, so replacements for units that are sent home after a while are thin on the ground. The have to take that into account when they decide how many soldiers to send in the first place.
Written By: Ralf Goergens
I’m really waiting to hear about this "decline" of which you speak?
Oh boy, are you in for a treat!
This is a new decline, not like those old declines. This one is different.
He has this decline stuff nailed down.

Just don’t get all emotional (or snide) if you argue with him.

Written By: looker
URL: http://
I guess we need a NIE that claims there are no significant threats to Europe, so we will withdrawl U.S. troops and end the occupation .. of Europe.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Joe...I am hesitant to post my argument on decline (on my November 23rd blog — scroll back from today’s date) because it is rather long — and even then only really scratches the surface. But it’s not really that controversial — it’s a pretty common view of the situation. The argument that "people predicted X in the past and it didn’t happen (or has taken longer to play itself out, perhaps) isn’t really enough to counter the points made. I can repost or explain that whole argument, and am certainly eager to hear actual refutations of the points. I have kids, I don’t want the decline I see as looming — closer than I think most realize — come to fruition.

Neo, I think we should get out of Europe. I thought that back since 1983 when, at 23 years old, I decided that extended deterrence was a problem that would only continue to drive NATO apart. Events changed before that could be determined, thanks to Reagan and Gorbachev.
Written By: Scott Erb
Doc the point of "people predicted ’X’ and it didn’t happen" is NOT that it might not happen, BUT it now becomes extra-double incumbent upon the person making the claim to demonstrate what happened THEN and WHY and how today is different from then....otherwise you just end up like Krugman, predicitng 15 of the last two recessions or some such. So yes, people predicting the "decline" of America have to overcome the "declinism" of the late 80’s and 90’s and if they can’t well I guess they just are wrong too.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Actually, Joe, since I was not making the claim back in Japan in the late eighties, I don’t see how it becomes "double incumbent" to prove it. In fact, what does "double incumbent" mean? In the world of logic, an argument stands or falls on its own merits. My perspective, which again is common, is laid out and unless you can actually explain why you think it’s wrong, then you haven’t made a counter argument and therefore are just shooting from the hip based on what you think is true for no particular reason. At least, so it seems. (By the way, I think the roots of this decline begin probably in the seventies, and what was noticed in the late eighties simply are playing themselves out slowly. First we had really cheap oil create a boom in the 90s which, fueled by a deregulated global credit industry, caused a stock market bubble, followed by a housing bubble. Those bubbles created the illusion of wealth spread among a large number of people, and lead to a consumer spending spree which made the economy appear healthier than it was. The bubbles have burst, the credit market is in disarray, and the long anticipated decline of the dollar (due to the high current accounts deficit its value was unsustainable) has begun. The world economy is rebalancing, and after Iraq has shown the weaknesses of America’s military power, the US is losing relative power in the system. That’s an even shorter summary than what was on my blog on November 23rd.

And, of course, nations, empires and great powers all rise and fall. Given that fact of history, anyone saying decline can’t happen is really making a remarkable claim and probably earns quadruple incumbency, if we can figure out what exactly that means.
Written By: Scott Erb
Ralf is correct. This is why we should have given sanctions another six months against Saddam, but only with the proviso that 200,000 European soldiers replaced ours in the desert of Kuwait.

If France and Germany were truly serious, they would have agreed. But then they’d have to pay for all that, and those conscripts would write home bitching and moaning. Which is why they are like a backseat driver.

Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Little is mentioned that of the 43,000 NATO troops, about 25,000 are U.S. military.
Written By: Sluggo
URL: http://
"In fact, what does "double incumbent" mean?"

Nothing. The correct quote is "extra-double incumbent". It is the ’extra’ that makes it meaningful. *Sheesh*.

" In the world of logic, an argument stands or falls on its own merits"

And in the real world, history also is a factor. The real world is not a roulette wheel.

" Given that fact of history,..."

Ah, so history IS a factor. How convenient.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Ah, so history IS a factor. How convenient.
What on earth are you prattling on about? Your last post makes no sense.
Written By: Scott Erb
What on earth are you prattling on about? Your last post makes no sense.
And in the real world, history also is a factor
Those of us who have seen this elephant in the past aren’t freightened of it.
Makes perfect sense.
You are trying to maintain this particular time is special in history when it appears to be just a re-run to the rest of us.

History matters, in other words, and we’ve seen these bumps in the road before.
Written By: looker
URL: http://

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