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  • Two Chicago Boyz, Four or Five Opinions

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on August 17th, 2004 (All posts by )

    I started posting comments to this thread at David’s Medienkritik, and found out that Ralf Goergens was there before me — he was advocating calm, while I was frothing like one of those talk radio callers.

    The subject was the US pullout from Europe (mostly from Germany). Ralf correctly points out that the US has already drawn down its forces by about 3/4. The withdrawal will include the last American armored division (1st AD) and the 1st Infantry Division. The army strength will probably bottom out at two brigades. The Ramstein AFB is likely to remain. Small installations will probably be built in Eastern Europe as staging areas. There will also be a movement of US forces away from the DMZ in Korea. Seoul is quite close to the line, and the area has become too built up for military use. The US forces will move farther south for defense in depth, but there will also be a net withdrawal from Korea.

    I have to agree with Ralf that the economic impact on Germany is likely to be localized and small. The Bush administration denies that there is any punitive aspect to the decision, which is really just one in a series of adjustments to the end of the Cold War. Maybe, maybe not.

     

    8 Responses to “Two Chicago Boyz, Four or Five Opinions”

    1. Sandy P Says:

      Rummy started this before 9/11.

      Anyone remember???? Weren’t there bits and pieces coming out in May, if not before?

      And since most of our troops are based there, of course they’re taking a bigger hit.

      This might actually force the legislature to loosen up the work/tax rules.

    2. DSpears Says:

      Why is the economic impact on Germany an issue for the United States military, that is funded by United States citizens? Why is it even part of the dicussion?

    3. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Why is the economic impact on Germany an issue for the United States military, that is funded by United States citizens? Why is it even part of the dicussion?

      It isn’t. it’s just some Americans hoping that the withdrawal with have very bad consequences for the German economy. They are wrong, as I said in the thread in question.

    4. Mitch Says:

      Given the premise that all public acts by a politician have political aspects, this was a political action. It was not intended to be an economic measure, and I really don’t think the effect will be economic, except for the immediate neighborhood of each base. This happens in the US fairly often. Massachusetts has lost Hanscom AFB, Ft. Devens, & the Charlestown Navy Yard, to name just a few. Most sites are still being redeveloped.

      IMO, Bush was sending a message to both domestic and foreign audiences. Military arrangements must be reciprocal and voluntary. Europe has consistently failed to adhere to the defense spending requirements of NATO. The American military presence is openly resented, and the current leader of Germany campaigned on an explicit platform of anti-American rhetoric. Even the Afghan campaign was opposed, despite the basic principal that “an attack on one is an attack on all.”

      From the Christian Science Monitor, 11/27/01:

      Days after German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder fought a battle in Parliament to offer up to 3,900 soldiers, the publisher of Der Spiegel magazine chastised Mr. Schröder for blindly declaring “unlimited solidarity” without seeing Washington’s battle plan.

      “Germany must rethink its relations to the United States, as long as US President Bush sticks to his arrogant motto ‘who isn’t for us is against us,’ ” publisher Rudolf Augstein wrote.

      The fall of the Soviet empire removed the military reasons for stationing large numbers of ground units in Germany. Europe’s ineffectual reponse — or lack of response — to the Balkans situation made us wonder whether there was any meaning to a military alliance with a bloc of non-military powers. The behavior of some of our NATO allies after 9/11 sealed the deal.

      We are rethinking our relations with Europe. A large part of the American electorate was unaware of or indifferent to anti-Americanism in Europe before we were attacked. When we were abandoned and betrayed, that stopped. Unless there are drastic changes, we’re out of there. Good luck with the next set of barbarians.

    5. Akefa Says:

      What is Bush doing about the genocide in Sudan? Why all the focus on europe? Why are millions of black africans being slaughtered without a word from the US government?
      What about using the troops to defend african lives for a change?

    6. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Mitch,

      I’ll have to post on this, among other things.

      Btw, my comment was solely aimed at some of the more extreme commenters at the post you linked to.
      I hope you didn’t understand it as a swipe at yourself or your country, for it really wasn’t. ;)

      I agree that relations have to be rethought and that Europe has to carry a much larger share of the burden.

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      What is Bush doing about the genocide in Sudan? Why all the focus on europe?

      Why not focus on Europe? After all, they have a larger combined GNP and 50% more population than the USA. What are they doing for world security? Almost nothing, as far as I can tell. France has few troops in Cote D’Ivorie and Germany has 1,000 troops or so in Afghanistan.

      The US, the Brits, a few Poles, a few Italians, and some others are pretty thoroughly tied up in Iraq.

      Why is always Americans who get called on to do all the dirty work in the world. Why do our sons and daughters have to go and die when there’s trouble?

      Where is the Arab League on this? Where is Egypt? Sudan is practically their back yard. Where are the African nations? What is the population of Africa? Why aren’t they sending troops. This is on **THEIR** continent. Is the entire continent of Africa completely impotent against a few thousand jihadis?

      Where are the Russians and the Chinese? Aren’t they on the Security Council of the vaunted UN? All we get from Kofi Annan is talk, talk, talk. He’s got plenty of say about the US removing Saddam (How dare we?), yet it seems to me he just recently gave a tearful speech about not allowing any more Rawandas. Why isn’t he getting the rest of the world off its collective duff to do something?

      Why does the US always have to do every damn hard thing that needs doing in the world? Where the hell is everybody else?

    8. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Akefa, the U.S. single-handedly resolved the North-South conflict in Sudan, one which has killed far more than Darfur. Second, the one effective measure to deal with Darfur would be to embargo Sudan oil, which fuels the slaughter. This could be done through a U.N. resolution, but is opposed by France and China. The fact that both countries have significant oil interests in the country is, of course, pure coincidence. As we well know, only the U.S. act in their own interest. Everybody else selflessly acts in everyone else’s, when they don’t act against their own with a smile and a wave.

      Michael, get with the program already. When in doubt, assume that we have some kind of guilt and responsibility. If something happens, we did it to them. If nothing happens, it’s because we’re selfishly neglecting it.

      If there is oil and we intervene, it’s all about the oil and our greedy selfishness. If there is oil and we don’t intervene, it’s because of our greedy selfishness too. You can’t win this game.

      This reminds me the early 90s in Europe. After the first Gulf War, the U.S. was described as this ambitious trigger-happy hegemon that wanted to police the world. Who did they think they were etc. Then the Balkans erupted in an orgy of slaughter. Wisely, Clinton told the Europeans it was up to them to deal with it. I mean, there were no logistics involved : you can drive to Bosnia from Germany without even getting off the freakin’ highway. So France and others went in there under a U.N. banner and it quickly turned to a farcical quagmire, with French blue helmets taken hostages by Serb militias, before an entire town – remember Srebenica ? – was slaughtered under the nose of Dutch peacekeepers.

      At which point, guess what ? As the superpower, it was the United States’ “duty” to get involved, and how did they dare stay on the sidelines when people were dying. One day, “Yankee Go Home”, the next “where are the freakin’ cops ?”. And you kind dummies once again obliged…

      But none of this has anything to do with the topic at hand. As usual.