I do not believe Blair's implication that European NATO members don't pull their weight. The Europeans carry a huge defense burden, we were the
frontline ffs (and it looks like we will be again).
Even when the US armed forces were at their peak in the mid 1980's, the European countries still provided 95% of the army divisions, 85% of the main
battle tanks, 80% of the frontline combat aircraft and 70% of the naval strength in the NATO operating area.
There have been many attempts to shore up European defenses. The British & French have bilateral agreements on submarine technology, naval mines &
countermeasures, air to air refuelling, military personnel transport, satellite communications, unmanned aerial vehicle developments, intelligence
sharing, terrorism preventions, joint facilities, common equipment & munitions, nuclear weapons development/maintenance.
But for all that commonality, there's still no European Army, Navy or Air Force. And it's mainly because the British don't really want that, because
the idea of a federal Europe with a common defense & foreign policy fills them with absolute horror, that plus the British see new European
institutions as being a rival to existing NATO structures.
It is the British who fear the US pulling out, not continental Europeans. It is the British who want the US anchored into the continent. And it is the
Europeans who consider the British the deadweight which is holding back the cause of European integration, on every level.
What did Blair do in office to aid European defenses ? Not much.
His & PM Brown's governments emasculated the Royal Navy destroyer & frigate fleets, same with their Navy Harrier airplanes & aircraft carriers, all
scrapped prematurely. The air force ? They lost their Nimrod maritime surveillance airplanes, fighter & strike plane numbers reduced, air bases
closed. The British Army has just about withdrawn from continental Europe, their numbers seriously diminished and many army generals complaining about
the cuts. Hell, you can buy almost brand new ex-British Army vehicles on ebay and various other disposal websites.
Blair's defense legacy is genuine & current capability gaps in the UK armed forces, gaps which the US and Europeans are having to plug. Don't believe
me ? The Russian Navy makes mockery of the British. The British Navy can't even defend it's own coastline let alone anywhere else.
That's Blair's contribution to European defenses, that's his legacy, he should just *shut* the hell up tbh.
TuesdayAmerica/Chicagob201407b22591212 by LeBombDiggity because: autocorrect shut not SH*T lol