Time for a New Security Order for Europe

Why, 70 years after the conclusion of World War II, 26 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 22 years after creation of the European Union, are the Europeans still dependent on America?

Source: Should the U.S. Leave NATO? | The National Interest Blog

I tend to use caution with trial balloons from CATO scholars because I see the organization as a front for corporate interests. Nonetheless, Doug Bandow raises a valid question: why are the Europeans still dependent on the U.S. for their security.

The answer that you are unlikely to find in a CATO publication is this: Europe is dependent upon us because we wanted the Europeans dependent upon us – especially our large military contractors – and the Europeans were happy to have their defense subsidized by the US taxpayers in exchange for the occasional purchase of a few dozen fighter planes.

But that is not really what Bandow is asking. The real question is why are we still permitting the Europeans to depend upon us? Is it not time that we at last put the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to rest, to send Europe an unequivocal message that the subsidy is over? After 70 years in Europe, America is finally coming home. The Cold War, the raison d’etre of NATO’s existence, has now ended, and it is time to close the books on that august, well-intended, but outdated institution.

And it is time for us to reassess, in the view of a very different geopolitical environment and domestic political economy than those we faced when the NATO alliance was at its height, our needs for collective security and the limits of our ability to contribute to the defense of any region beyond our shores.

The process must be conducted with wisdom. We cannot simply abruptly disavow our obligations and go home. Rather, we need to view this as a process, beginning with informing the leaders of Europe that we are on this course, and that Europe must be prepared to step in and take up the burden of its own defense.

We also need to recognize that the process of re-framing our defense relationship with Europe must be conducted in a way that addresses both our legal and moral obligations under the treaty structure that gave rise to NATO. If our friends are to remain our friends, we must leave (or retire) NATO in a way that observes the diplomatic forms, and that gives the nations of Europe a reasonable amount of time to build the forces and doctrine to step into whatever breach we decide to leave.

Because that process is long, it must begin as soon as possible. The process is unlikely to be driven by an administration with a scant year left in office, but it should be at the top of the foreign policy to-do list for the next occupant of the White House. We can make that happen by starting the public discussion ourselves, right now.

 

The First Step

Here in the Pentagon, we need to be careful about casting stones about a requirements process in need of discipline.

Dr. Jamie Morin
Director, Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation
United States Department of Defense

Source: Here’s What the Pentagon’s Top Cost Estimator Has to Say About the Death Star | VICE News

The man whose job it is to tell the DoD how much a weapons system is REALLY going to cost comes right out and confesses that the Pentagon has a real problem with controlling program costs. And he’s about 42.

I think we have a future SecDef here…

Preventing another Paris

The West must fight Islamist terror as ruthlessly as possible, using both liberal and conservative tools, while setting aside the weaknesses of each ideology.

We must crush rejectionists like the Islamic State (conservative) and strengthen our moderate Muslim allies (liberal). We must neither assign collective responsibility (as conservatives sometimes do), nor shrink from the reality that Islam, unlike other religions, is disproportionately being used as an excuse for violence (as liberals sometimes do). We must act slowly and deliberately (which conservatives dislike) but with a clear moral goal in mind (which makes liberals uneasy).

Right now, we are failing at many of these tasks.

Source: What Will Prevent Another Copenhagen? – Opinion – Forward.com

The above is taken from an unusually balanced piece from The Forward, which holds a place as one of the most liberal of Jewish mainstream publications. This is not about letting either the far Left or far Right call the shots on terrorism. It is about capturing the best of both approaches and integrating them.

There is no guarantee that this approach will do any better than any we are using now. There will be peace when the fields that grow violent extremists lie fallow and infertile.

To Arms?

What we’ve seen in Paris this weekend is not an attack, or an incident, or a tragedy. It’s war, and war, like it or not, is fought with guns. Because terrorism works precisely by striking at random, it’s silly to expect the police to be able to protect everyone at all times. When there are men out there teaming up to kill you, the rational and prudent thing to do is to at least make sure you have a chance to fight back.

Source: What Happened in Paris is War, and the Only Way to Fight a War is With Firearms. If You Live in Europe, Get a Gun. – Tablet Magazine

Food for thought.

Let me say up front that I don’t think you end terrorism simply by arming your populace. Terrorist use a range of weapons and tactics, and a pistol – even a .45 – won’t stop them all.

But it is pitifully easy for a terrorist to acquire a gun, even in countries where private ownership of firearms is strictly circumscribed. All a terrorist need do to inflict dozens of casualties is to find someplace with no cops, release the safety, and open fire.

Let us, for the moment, ignore the author’s overt point and delve into his meta-message: in a war against an enemy able to bypass formal national and civil defenses to inflict casualties against the populace, government monopoly on the ownership of firearms is inadequate and perhaps indefensible.

At the very least, this opens the door for auxiliary and private security forces, with trained and licensed personnel, to carry firearms. Would the Copenhagen attacks have succeeded if Dan Uzan had been armed while standing watch outside the synagogue? What if the guards at the Bataclan had been packing, and had known what to do when trouble showed up toting AK-47s?

France, much less Europe, is not ready for an armed populace. They probably won’t be until we in America can find a better way to retain our firearms as a bulwark against tyranny while eliminating accidental deaths and curtailing gun homicides. Accidental gun deaths in the US last year claimed five times more lives than the terrorists did in Paris last weekend, and that alone inveighs against just selling a gun to every man-Jacques in the street.

But the asymmetrical threat of terror demands asymmetrical responses that, if nothing else, raises the difficulty and cost of terrorist acts. Armed protection in public gathering places is a good start.

But the real issue is that it is time for the leaders of Europe to stop relying upon time-honored tools forged to meet different threats. It is time to get creative and a little ruthless, to come up with ways to make terror too costly for ISIS to imagine. And the answer is not airstrikes. How many more innocents must die before Europe truly understands that armies, police, constraints on speech, and appeasement of Islamists do not constitute a defense against the most serious threat Europe faces today?

 

Do We Need More Carriers?

America’s Aircraft Carrier Challenge | The Diplomat.

Professor Robert Farley offers a balanced meditation on whether America really is suffering from a “carrier gap.” In so doing, he reminds os of the high cost in dollars and people that each carrier represents.

I am a navalist of long standing (“speak softly and deploy a big fleet”), and I have a soft spot for flat-tops, born perhaps of my long studies of the Second World War. Yet in the face of evolving military technology and doctrine, it is getting harder to see these incredible machines as anything other than large, very expensive targets.

The Navy needs to do some soul-searching about the carriers, and we as citizens need to get over our sentimental attachment to these beasts the same way we had to fall out of love with battleships 75 years ago. Only then do our political leaders have a hope of overcoming the politically powerful naval aviation community and the huge contractors who make a fortune building carriers, carrier systems, and carrier-based aricraft.

 

10 Truisms about our National Defense

The Five-Sided Foxhole

Defense needs to become an issue in the next election, but perhaps not in the way most people think.

Here are 11 truisms about our national defense to guide our thinking and that of the candidates:

1. We need to defend the United States and her possessions against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

2. We also have obligations to fulfill under a series of mutual-defense treaties with a handful of nations.

3. Doing both of the above does cost money, and we can reasonably expect to pay a bare minimum of 2% of GDP and as much as 4% of GDP on defense.

4. A ridiculous amount of money going into defense is being wasted.

5. Much of that waste can be eliminated, but only by dismantling much of the procurement bureaucracy created since WWII, while at the same time dismantling the effective chokehold that the top five defense contractors have built on the services.

6. There is a tremendous amount of Congressional pork built into the defense budget as well. This, too, must be eliminated.

7. The problems we face in fixing defense cannot be solved simply by slashing budgets, but with a realistic and sustainable defense posture.

8. All of this begins with a grand strategy promulgated from the top that provides the guidelines for the kind of military we must have.

9. This mess dates back to at least 1939, and it is unreasonable to expect it to go away in a period of less than two consecutive presidential terms. For that reason, the work cannot start too soon.

10. The first step is to elect a President who understands the above, and who places the well-being of the nation ahead of personal interest, and who has enough savvy and clout to compel a majority of Congress to lime up behind him/her.