Originally posted by Pelayo
The European Union will be a military superpower for sure.
Britain is the only country in Europe with a decent and strong military.
France, Germany and the rest are falling behind the US and the UK militarily.
It's now becoming more and more obvious that "European Armies" are just the extension of their socialist agenda. Statistics show that most
European nations, notably, France and Germany, spend more money on their personnel rather than vital military equipment. Thus the Army has just turned
into another socialist employment scheme of people, who are otherwise unemployable. Neither France nor Germany or for that matter any European nation,
except Great Britain, has the capacity to defend itself when attacked.
France and Germany should really stop pretending they are world powers. Bruce Bartlett 2003.
capmag.com . . .
When it came down to it, two of America's closest Cold War allies -- France and Germany -- were unwilling to bear the responsibility of major powers
when it came to Iraq. They weren't there when we -- and the world -- needed them. Instead, they carped, complained, delayed and even sabotaged
efforts by the United States to make the fight in Iraq a united front. Rather than prevent war, they made it impossible to avoid. Had France and
Germany joined a united Europe and United States in confronting Saddam Hussein, it is very likely that the crisis in Iraq would have been resolved
American opinion is divided on whether France and Germany's failure of will is the result of cowardice or just fecklessness. I am inclined toward the
latter. I think the truth is that neither country has the means any longer to wage a serious military campaign and were too proud to admit it. Rather
than exhibit their weakness for the entire world to see, they pretended that their objection to military action in Iraq was based on some ill-defined
principle. But I don't think they could have done much of anything militarily in Iraq even if they had stood with us shoulder-to-shoulder.
The sad truth is that France, which once conquered most of Europe under Napoleon, and Germany, whose military prowess in World War II was monumental,
have become military weaklings. Neither could fight their way out of a paper bag today.
The reason is that the welfare state has severely weakened both France and Germany to the point where their armed forces are just extensions of it.
Their armies, navies and air forces exist not to fight, but to provide jobs with lifetime security for the otherwise unemployable. Moreover, the
welfare state -- and the high taxes that go with it -- have so weakened them economically and technologically that they couldn't afford a 21st
century military even if it were a matter of national survival.
According to a recent report from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, last year the United States spent 3.3 percent of its gross domestic product
on national defense, while France spent 2.5 percent and Germany spent just 1.5 percent. At first glance, the difference may not seem that great, but
the United States spends much more of its defense budget on weaponry and equipment, while France and Germany spend most of theirs on personnel.
According to NATO, France and Germany spend over 60 percent of their defense budgets on pay and benefits, while the United States spends only 34.7
percent. The United States also spends 24.9 percent of its defense budget on equipment, while France and Germany spend just 19.6 percent and 12.2
Composition of Defense Outlays, 2002 (percent) How European nations lag behind US and UK
Country Personnel Equipment
Italy .......71.9.......... 13.3
Belgium .....70.7...... 8.1
Spain .....65.0 ..........13.7
France 60.3............. 19.6
Germany 60.2.......... 12.2
Canada 43.5............ 13.3
U.K. 39.3................ 24.2
U.S. 34.7................ 24.9
According to a February 13 Wall Street Journal report, no nation in Europe has a military that can be depended upon in time of war. "Europe's
military muscle has grown soft," it states. Its troops are poorly equipped and poorly trained. Europe's technology is old and obsolete, and there is
no money to upgrade it because its troops are too highly paid and enjoy lavish benefits. Indeed, many are unionized and routinely go on strike for
such things as increased vacations. Like most workers in Europe, soldiers cannot be fired for incompetence and essentially have jobs for life.
According to a March 18 report in The New York Times, Germany's once powerful army has become a "basket case." It is "one of the worst military
laggards" in NATO, it says. Germany's budget for equipment is so small that it had to lease old planes from Ukraine [!!!] just to send a few troops
to Afghanistan to help out with peacekeeping last year.
It spends $1 billion per year on maintaining its aging fleet of trucks, but spends just
$40 million buying new ones.
The same is true throughout Europe. Indeed, a spokesman for Belgium's defense ministry even admitted that its armed forces are a joke. "I'm not
sure that the mission of the Belgian military is to fight," he said. Not surprisingly, Belgium strongly supported France's efforts to block military
action in Iraq.
While Europe's military has grown soft and weak since the collapse of communism, the United States has continued to upgrade and modernize its forces.
We have the best-trained, best-equipped and best-led military on earth. Our military is so strong and so powerful it is frightening. I think that is a
key reason why the Germans and French opposed us. They cannot compete, and they know it.
If France and Germany want to be fat and lazy welfare states, that is their choice. But if so, they should have the decency to resign from the world
stage and not pretend to be major powers any longer.
About the Author: Bruce Bartlett is a Senior Fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) studying the Anglo-American relationship.
[edit on 29-7-2005 by AdamB]
[edit on 29-7-2005 by AdamB]