July 23, 2012
The Obama administration’s policy of cutting back military spending is hurting America’s military presence in Europe and around the world.
According to a recent report from The Heritage Foundation’s Luke Coffey, the decision to downsize American bases in Europe abandons our commitment to transatlantic security and only emboldens our adversaries in the Euro-Atlantic region.
These cuts weaken America’s European military footprint by:
- Shrinking America’s European bases. In January, the Pentagon announced more reductions of U.S military forces in Europe.
- Impairing America’s policy aims. According to critics, U.S. troops in Europe became obsolete when the Cold War ended, but the truth is that American bases are just as important today. The United States has 80,000 military personnel in Europe. They help achieve American aims not just in Europe but also in Asia and the Middle East. Europe is a crossroads of the world, and a strong military foothold there is essential for our foreign defense strategy.
- Deserting America’s interests. Ensuring European security helps advance economic viability in the region and the world. The 27 member states of the European Union combine with the U.S. to account for half of the global economy. America also needs to keep strong ties with NATO, ensuring our allies can share the burden during challenging missions.
- Limiting America’s defense options. The Obama administration’s decision to reduce the U.S. military’s presence in Europe is based on perceived financial savings, not a strategic view of our force requirements.
Now is the Time for American Leadership
Instead of cutting defense spending and disregarding America’s foreign defense strategies, the White House should put national security first. The administration needs to demonstrate that the United States is committed to NATO and Euro-Atlantic security, while remaining honest and open with our European allies before we cut troops. Instead of cutting bases, we should consider establishing new bases along the periphery of Europe, rewarding our key allies with closer defense cooperation.
Do you feel secure without a strong American military foothold in Europe?