A reported leak from the Israeli Defense Department’s political wings in the Knesset was very damning of Europe. The claims were that virtually none of the European nations were capable of fielding any credible defense of the nation and even worse none were prepared to even attempt such as their government foreign policies ignored such considerations. As reported in the video below from ILTV ISRAEL DAILY, the entirety of Europe is undefended except for the presence of military forces from the United States and the individual governments as well as the European Union as a whole are woefully unprepared to perform even the most rudimentary defense of the continent. The only humor in the report was the European fears that incoming President Donald Trump would weaken the American military. Apparently in their mad rush to worship largely at the feet of unsuccessful Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, they missed the repeated firm commitment by President elect Trump to rebuild an American military which had suffered woeful neglect resulting in its downgrading through negligence and intentional disregard for the needs and demands for upkeep required by the military under President Barack Hussein Obama. Despite this ill treatment, the United States military remains the greatest and most advanced fighting force on the planet today and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.
The question here is not the readiness or capability of the United States military but the reasons and reasoning which led to this deplorable state of European military strength. Oddly enough the blame lies both with the European nations, European Union, NATO and largely with the United States. Following World War II the United States set certain demands before Europe backed by a fateful promise, a promise which inevitably will not be capable of being honored. The demands by the United States in their establishment of NATO was for the Europeans to cut severely the levels of troops and military strength with the most harsh demand made for Britain to scuttle much of her Navy, the strength of Britain and England for centuries past. There were separate defense levels with a minimal percentage of NATO troops serving in Europe demanded of each nation. One prime example was France who when they found their budgets no longer were capable of supporting their minimal demands under NATO had the decency to remove themselves from the military arm of NATO which implied their surrendering the right to demand for NATO troops to defend France from any invasion. For France the likelihood of an invasion is slight, even moderately ridiculous at the highest threat levels, as her neighboring nations are not about to attack and for any force to attempt an attack on France would more than even odds need to attack through at least one of these neighboring nations all of which are protected by NATO. Whether France reapplied and was accepted back into the Military Alliance is of little regard as they would be defended with or without membership and at the current level of European defensive abilities, the French are simply another cog in the bigger problem.
The United States made their demands for Europe to discard a sizeable percentage of their military might in order to prevent beyond any reason the possibility for another World War beginning on the European continent. The minimal troop requirements were met initially by all nations within NATO and the decline which produced the current sad state began once the big, bad, obvious menace of the Soviet Union disappeared with the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the end of the Soviet Union. Russia was not viewed as a threat and is mostly ignored or not viewed still as a threat despite the lack of defensive ability to prevent such in Europe today. The further reason for the state of European military might or lack thereof results from the United States promise to defend Europe should the need arise again. This promise was open-ended and has no use-by-date. Because of this and there being no necessity to renew or even review the situation, the Europeans continued to rob from the Military to pay their social spending experiments. Many a European nation does not even have sufficient rifles for their training soldiers to train with actual weapons. Instead, and this is actually true, they provide the soldiers with wooden replicas and they shout, “Bang” when firing their weapons at a target (see here, here, here). How they figure hit or miss is not discussed.
Where the problem arises is the lag time from actual invasion or problem requiring a military response and any reinforcements arriving from around Europe theater or especially from the United States could range from days to a couple of weeks. The Europeans will be basically on their own at the initial point of attack and if their troops are ill-prepared, their defense will be poorly executed. Further, what if the United States military had been ignored for longer than the decade since President George W. Bush began the decommissioning of forces anticipating the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan? The United States currently is not capable of fighting a war on the ground in two disparate locations. Should there be need of a sizeable United States presence in the Middle East then placing another major land force in Europe could become problematic very quickly. Fortunately for the United States, but not necessarily those attacked, is the United States can provide air superiority virtually anywhere on the face of this earth in almost as many spots as require such for a minimum of six weeks. This includes virtually any numbers of locations requiring air superiority. The only air powers which could challenge American air power in their theater include a small and exclusive club of less than half a dozen nations including but not limited to China, Russia, Israel and soon adding Iran to this list. Only one of the listed could be regarded as an ally who would never fire first on American forces no matter the situation, defend themselves from an actual United States forces attack, not even this would initially bring an actual armed response until some verification of intent was known. United States air power is supreme even in the most challenging theaters imaginable and their possession of one aircraft, though they have a mere one-hundred-eighty-three in total consisting of a total of one-hundred-seventy-eight operational aircraft, and that aircraft is the F-22 Raptor. Interestingly, Congressional House subcommittee asked the U.S. Air Force to investigate what it would cost to put the tactical fighter back into production. This may provide a real game-changer should the United States Air Force choose to use the Raptor as their primary aircraft over the F-35 JSF or even replacing the F-16s while retaining the larger F-15 aircraft. The United States Navy is all in on the F-35 JSF as the F-22 is not carrier capable to the best of our knowledge. But besides air power, the United States could at best support two war fronts providing their allies could give the necessary, and as far as NATO the required, assistance to shore up any areas of weakness. This knowledge may also be behind the Japanese considering strengthening their military capabilities and even altering their Constitution which forbid Japan a larger military beyond civil defense and shore patrol capabilities. Japan reacted rather severely after their losses in World War II and they had figured the best way to avoid a repeat of such devastation was to have minimal military strength and dependence upon the promises made by the United States. The actions and lacking actions of the past eight years have spooked the Japanese which may prove to provide a good response which will better serve Japan. Japan would be amongst the nations we would count as highly unlikely to initiate a conflict.
Meanwhile Europe has been laid open and found deficient and completely incapable of defending her own borders. That includes both national borders between the nations and the continental borders from outside attacks, plus additional threats from radical Islam, their refugee hordes inundating their cities and more than tripling crime rates, especially rape and other sexual depravations as well as assaults and murders. These increased figures do not even take into consideration the deaths, permanent injuries crippling people for life, the other physical injuries and the mentally scarring of victims of terrorist acts. The threats and challenges facing Europe will demand the ability to defend one’s nation from internal threats as well as external challenges. The probability for internal strife possibly requiring a greater presence on the streets than simple police patrolling is not immediately likely but may come sooner rather than later. What is surprising is that the European Union may actually be a contributing factor to this military weakness as they figure defense of Europe with what appears to be a scaling of one general threat concerning a limited number of nations along its eastern front and had nations accounting for the forces for just such a simplified scenario. This allows for each individual nation to play off their weakness and disregard for national defense onto other nations. The strongest two nations are Germany and Britain. With Brexit the European Union got suddenly less viable and far less well defended. Britain accounted for close to thirty-five percent of the European Union navy and approaching one-quarter of the land and air military forces. Germany came in a close second largely due to their smaller navy. That means without Britain the European Union just became indefensible.
The final signal that Europe as a whole and as individual nations has a grave dearth of military preparedness has been the British reaction after BREXIT. The British government stated that they have initiated an upswing in military spending over the next five years in last November’s strategic defense and security review. Cuts to Britain’s defense in upcoming budget considerations may come up against the controversy over the Britain meeting NATO’s two percent spending target, a commitment the current Chancellor George Osborne signed up to in last year’s spending review. Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London, stated, “The UK should consider rethinking the focus of its military activities more strongly towards the security of Europe itself.” Needless to point out but all things will pivot on the results of the upcoming elections and who becomes the Prime Minister and the coalition party makeup. Apparently the British will continue looking towards honoring any European commitments they may have, will attempt to stay within the NATO agreements and not consider themselves returning to the status of a world power. What is odd is by meeting their NATO requirements and should they go that couple of steps further, Britain would once again be considered a world power, though that keeps growing less and less of a challenge as the criteria has needfully been reduced year after year. When politicians start mentioning that Iran may potentially become considered to be a world power within a decade or two at the most while Israel has not been considered to be a world power in any sense of the terminology, it should be obvious to even the most casual of observers that something is amiss and trouble is in the air. Perhaps with these revelations about Europe and the European Union the world should take a long look at who will be holding the power by the time we reach one third the way into the century and should the results be distressing, then plan on altering the route the world is on and change that future. Something tells us that the leaders of the Western and Developed world are as frightened as little children left alone in a strange house during a horrific thunderstorm with all the old boards and doors in the house groaning and the shutters flapping loose in the winds. Hopefully somebody somewhere will win an election and boastfully demand that everybody man-up and prepare to get the job done. Just wondering, does anybody have an idea where we might find such a lunatic?
Beyond the Cusp