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Thread: Trump, NATO, German military, etc

  1. #1
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    Trump, NATO, German military, etc

    If You Care About NATO You Should Care About German Military Readiness

    By DAVID FRENCH
    July 11, 2018


    I strongly disagree with Donald Trump’s oft-expressed view that NATO is obsolete. I strongly disagree with his trade war, and I think it’s repugnant that he often seems eager to publicly dress down friends even while he flatters foreign tyrants. It’s ridiculous how often he gets his facts wildly wrong, and it’s even worse that he seems indifferent to his own ignorance. The strength and preservation of the NATO alliance is in America’s vital national interest, and to the extent that Trump undermines that view in the GOP electorate, he’s doing the Republican Party (and, far more importantly, the nation) a great disservice.


    But, with all that said, he is absolutely, positively right to be upset at the state of the German military. It’s indefensibly weak and unprepared. NATO isn’t a social club. It’s a military alliance, and even if one posits that Germany shouldn’t reach its full potential military strength (for obvious historical reasons), can’t we at least ask that it not be a pale shadow of its recent, West German past?


    There was a time, not too long ago, when the Bundeswehr fielded half a million men (along with immense reserve forces). NATO documents described it as “the backbone of NATO’s conventional defence in Central Europe.” It was indisputably one of the best armies in the world. Without West German strength, it’s an open question whether NATO could have maintained conventional military deterrence in Western Europe.


    So what about now? In September, 2015, a story in the National Interest asked, “Is Germany’s Military Dying?” It painted a terrible picture of decline, outlining a lack of readiness in the air and on the ground. For a dose of perspective, consider the loss of Germany’s armored firepower. During the Cold War, it procured 2,125 Leopard II main battle tanks. By 2015, just 225 remained. Readiness reports showed that only a fraction of its fighter force was operational.


    Has readiness improved? An April 2018 Business Insider story contains some disturbing paragraphs:

    Germany’s Tornado fighter jets may not be able to join NATO missions due to technological deficiencies, according to an army report seen by German magazine Spiegel at the end of March.
    The confidential report, prepared by Germany’s Bundeswehr, said 93 Tornados need immediate, extensive upgrades, as “the readiness to operate with the increasing age of the weapon system is clearly risky,” according to Spiegel.


    And:
    As of February, only five of Germany’s 16 A400M transport planes were ready for use. An early 2016 report found that German jets fighting ISIS couldn’t operate at night because their cockpit lights were too bright for pilots. A report in early 2015, when Germany was preparing to send jets to Syria, said only 66 of 93 commissioned fighters were operational — and just 29 were combat-ready.


    And:
    Since the end of the Cold War, Germany’s military and defense budget have shrunk. Troop numbers have fallen from almost 500,000 in 1990 to 180,000 now— some 21,000 officer positions are vacant, adding to readiness woes.




    I can link reports like this all day. Some are extraordinarily embarrassing. Consider this January report in the Washington Post:

    Three years ago, Germany’s military made headlines when it used broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise because of a shortage of equipment. The lack of real weapons in the European Union’s most populous nation was seen as symptomatic of how underfunded its military has long been.

    One Russian annexation later, if anything, the state of affairs has only gotten worse, according to the parliamentary commissioner for the country’s armed forces.

    He has now reached the conclusion that the German military is virtually “not deployable for collective defense.” Independent commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels also indicated in an interview that Germany was unprepared for the possibility of a larger conflict even though smaller operations abroad may still be possible.
    In October, reports emerged that not a single German military submarine was operational — at a time when Russian submarine operations in the Baltic Sea were raising new concerns. Bundeswehr pilots are using choppers owned by a private automobile club to practice because so many of their own helicopters are in need of repair. And about half of all Leopard 2s — the tank which is most common in the Bundeswehr — were out of order as recently as November, which left the country with only 95 tanks of that type. By comparison, Russia is believed to have over 20,000 combat tanks, even though it is not known how many of them are operational.


    Trump’s rhetoric is harmful to NATO. But the American military remains its most potent force. Germany’s verbal support for the alliance is helpful, but you know what’s more helpful? A powerful, functioning military in the heart of Central Europe. Donald Trump — or any American president — has an obligation to be angry about Germany’s decline. There are better and more productive ways to express that anger, but the underlying feeling is amply justified.


    And yes I know that Germany is increasing its defense spending, but not fast enough and not effectively enough. American deployments in Europe are at a fraction of their Cold War levels, and the former “backbone” of NATO’s defense has turned to tissue paper. If you care about NATO, then you must care about Germany’s profound and indefensible military weakness.
    Our NATO allies are uninterested in defending themselves, and expect us to defend them on our dime. And this is not acceptable.
    "For a small moment have I forsaken you, and with great mercy will I gather you.With a little wrath did I hide My countenance for a moment from you, and with everlasting kindness will I have compassion on you," said your Redeemer, the Lord."..."For the mountains shall depart and the hills totter, but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace totter," says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.

    Isaiah 54

  2. #2
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    Re: Trump, NATO, German military, etc

    No it is not acceptable. Look what happened in Bosnia. They sat on their thumbs during an ethnic cleansing campaign in their own back yard and WE had to stop it. Unacceptable.


    When I served in NATO in the late 1970's when the Soviet threat was at its highest, and the US and our Brit allies were virtually alone in defending West Germany along with a token German force.

    And France didn't want anything to do with it at all back then, so they shouldn't even be given respect for their position.
    Those who seek God with all their heart will find Him and be given sight. Those who seek their own agenda will remain blind.

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    Re: Trump, NATO, German military, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by keck553 View Post
    No it is not acceptable. Look what happened in Bosnia. They sat on their thumbs during an ethnic cleansing campaign in their own back yard and WE had to stop it. Unacceptable.
    Agree. Trump is right in this regard. Also Turkey is not a friend right now.


    When I served in NATO in the late 1970's
    Thank you for your service.
    "For a small moment have I forsaken you, and with great mercy will I gather you.With a little wrath did I hide My countenance for a moment from you, and with everlasting kindness will I have compassion on you," said your Redeemer, the Lord."..."For the mountains shall depart and the hills totter, but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace totter," says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.

    Isaiah 54

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    Re: Trump, NATO, German military, etc

    It has been since Reagan that we have had a leader like President Trump. He continues to surprise me. Best president we have had in a long, long time. He leads and he leads where the country needs to go. He's not perfect in character or policy but way better in policy than anyone we have had in over 30 years.

    So far, the only thing that he hasn't corrected, that I disagree with him about is the whole trade thing. But my suspicion is that by the time he is done, we will all be grateful for that too. He is a good negotiator and he actually cares about America. It feels so good to know we have a president that actually has the citizens of this country in mind when he is speaking with foreign governments rather than the other way around.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  5. #5

    Re: Trump, NATO, German military, etc

    I strongly disagree with Donald Trump’s oft-expressed view that NATO is obsolete. I strongly disagree with his trade war, and I think it’s repugnant that he often seems eager to publicly dress down friends even while he flatters foreign tyrants. It’s ridiculous how often he gets his facts wildly wrong, and it’s even worse that he seems indifferent to his own ignorance. The strength and preservation of the NATO alliance is in America’s vital national interest, and to the extent that Trump undermines that view in the GOP electorate, he’s doing the Republican Party (and, far more importantly, the nation) a great disservice.


    But, with all that said, he is absolutely, positively right to be upset at the state of the German military. It’s indefensibly weak and unprepared. NATO isn’t a social club. It’s a military alliance, and even if one posits that Germany shouldn’t reach its full potential military strength (for obvious historical reasons), can’t we at least ask that it not be a pale shadow of its recent, West German past?
    nailed it! NATO has def taken us for granted for a long time. It has and hopefully will be an extraordinarily useful alliance again. It can do nothing but help making known the sheer insanity of the state of the German military, because it is absolutely indefensible.
    "The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right."


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    Re: Trump, NATO, German military, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    Agree. Trump is right in this regard. Also Turkey is not a friend right now.
    He is historically right also.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    Thank you for your service.
    I'm a second generation American with shallow roots. My service was in thankfulness to this country and to the preservation of what makes this country worthy to defend - the Constitution.

    My wife's ancestors have been buried in this land since 1625. They were there when the Declaration of Independence was written and when the Constitution was signed and implemented. They fought in the American Revolution, the war of 1812, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

    To me that is service. If not for the brave men and women under our feet who preceded us, we would not have the privilege to honor their sacrifices with ouor own service and breath life into their legacy.
    Those who seek God with all their heart will find Him and be given sight. Those who seek their own agenda will remain blind.

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