Friday, 6 January 2012

Obama's decision to cut the size of the US military

In a massive surprise to absolutely nobody, President Obama has announced that he intends to cut the size of the US military by around half a million troops.

Obama is clearly pandering to his loopy left supporter base, as well as that group of people who have forgotten where their freedom came from and simply take it for granted ("it's a human right, don't you know?"). These people think that the defence money can be better used on social programs.

The mighty American military machine that has for so long secured the country's status as the world's only superpower will have to be drastically reduced, Barack Obama warned yesterday as he set out a radical but more modest new set of priorities for the Pentagon over the next decade.
 After the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that defined the first decade of the 21st century, Mr Obama's blueprint for the military's future acknowledged that America will no longer have the resources to conduct two such major operations simultaneously.
Instead, the US military will lose up to half a million troops and will focus on countering terrorism and meeting the new challenges of an emergent Asia dominated by China. America, the President said, was "turning the page on a decade of war" and now faced "a moment of transition". The country's armed forces would in future be leaner but, Mr Obama pointedly warned both friends and foes, sufficient to preserve US military superiority over any rival – "agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats".

No doubt that conservatives will be having conniptions about such a plan.

I have commented before that the European social welfare states are a Potemkin village, as they rely on the United States to defend them, as well as cheap medical solutions invented in the US, which has allowed money to be spent on welfare programs instead. It's amazing that even given those two huge head starts the Europeans could spend themselves into penury in such a massive way.

It was only a matter of time before Americans got sick of paying for Europe's security while also getting it in the neck. It is somewhat galling for Americans to foot the bill for Europeans' security and standard of living and then be voted the most dangerous nation in the world by the European citizenry.

The Europeans must have known such a reduction was possible and the US has struck right when everyone is holding their breath about Europe's economic future. The UK, at least, understands what it means:
The wider significance of America's landmark strategic change was underlined by British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who used a visit to Washington to warn that America must not delay the production of US warplanes bound for British aircraft carriers. The US strategy is expected to make a drawdown of some of the 80,000 troops based in Europe.
"We have to look at the relationship with Americans in a slightly different light," Mr Hammond told Channel 4 News. "Europeans have to respond to this change in American focus, not with a fit of pique but by pragmatic engagement, recognising that we have to work with Americans to get better value for money."
Here's my take. It will be another promise like the one to close Gitmo and bring troops home early etc that the left will fall for hook, line and sinker but will never be implemented even if he wins a second term (which I think is more likely than not).

But it should give Europeans something to think about in the future.


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