February 16, 2011

Budget question

Everybody is talking about cutting the budget.

So, why does the U.S. have 57,080 troops in Germany? What is their mission, anyway? 

The only explanation I've ever heard was at a conference in 1999, where General William Odom explained that we kept garrisons in Germany and Britain to prevent war from breaking out between France, Germany, and/or Britain. I thought that was ... interesting, but I've never heard anybody else say it. But then I've never heard anybody else say any other reason why we still have all these bases guarding the Fulda Gap.

I mean, we only have 32,803 troops garrisoning Japan. Why not cut the number of U.S. troops in Germany to the same number as in Japan?

Okay, I know, that's just crazy talk. Forget I ever brought it up.

72 comments:

gwern said...

Germany is conveniently close to the Middle East and is a compliant Western country. (Have you ever noticed how everyone leaving Iraq seems to make a stop in Germany?)

There aren't a whole lot of other places to stick gigantic bases for the long-term. Nowhere in the Middle East is great, northwards is Russia & its tributaries, India is right out, Africa's not much better, and we'd rather not be entangled with the Balkans or the Greece vs Turkey thing. Italy might work, but they have no reason to let us in for a century or two.

Rum said...

Steve, don't you understand the severity of the situation?????

If our troops left, Turkish gasterbeiter would stage a military coup in Berlin and bring about an Islamic government. They will then use the amazing military might of the Germany to conquer France, England, Spain, and Italy. Of course, their invasion of all these countries will be furthered by mass scale Muslim rebellions that will depose their respective leaders. Meanwhile, the USSR will form up again and form a pact with the Muslim government of Europe.

Then the Islamic government of Europe will join voices with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-lead Caliphate. Al-Qaeda will then be given leadership control of the new caliphate and mount a speedboat invasion of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. From there, they will send submarines full of operatives to US soil, who will infiltrate the Obama administration (which, truthfully speaking, probably has already been infiltrated) and bring upon a new Shariah government in Washington DC.

U.S. troops therefore must remain in Germany forever. I'm sorry, but that's just how it is. Really, if anything, I'd send more troops to Germany. I'd also send troops to occupy France, Britain, Egypt, Syria, and maybe a few other countries.

I like some of your posts Steve, but sometimes you act like a raving maniac.

Anonymous said...

What does a soldier do all day, while posted abroad in the time of peace? He can't train all week can he?

Dave said...

Odom was right. The U.S. military does a lousy job of fighting small wars, but it has done an excellent job of helping to prevent major wars in Europe and Northeast Asia in the last half century or so. I'd guess the reason we have more troops in Germany than Japan is that Germany is where we ship our wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. So that requires more hospital personnel, more airlift personnel, more support personnel for the airlift and medical, etc.

Descartes said...

Welcome to the world of the Military Industrial Complex, where pointless military ventures and forays aren't so pointless when one looks at the benefactors.

Chiefly weapons industries, generals and the military and most fundamentally politicians.

RKU said...

Okay, so we pull all those tens of thousands of troops out of Europe and bring them back here. Except unemployment in America is *already* awfully high, something close to 20% in real figures I think. So none of them can find jobs, and they get "disgruntled" and maybe overthrow the government and shoot all the politicians in DC. Perhaps that's why the politicians don't like that suggestion...

The same thing happened during the collapse of the Soviet Empire, with all Kremlin not being able to figure out what to do with the Soviet troops garrisoning Eastern Europe if they came home. But didn't the West Germans pay the Soviets some huge some of money---maybe hundreds of billions of D-Marks---to buy back the Eastern half of their country? Maybe we can do the same thing, and sell Japan or Germany or Britain to China or something like that...

Anonymous said...

Okay, so we pull all those tens of thousands of troops out of Europe and bring them back here. Except unemployment in America is *already* awfully high, something close to 20% in real figures I think. So none of them can find jobs, and they get "disgruntled" and maybe overthrow the government and shoot all the politicians in DC. Perhaps that's why the politicians don't like that suggestion...

Or perhaps we could deploy a division or two along our southern border. I know you would like to keep the border wide open, but after all defending the nation's borders is really what the military is for.

wmhde said...

Ratios:
if The British have 23,000 and the French 4,000 then we are well understrength at a mere 58,000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Forces_Germany

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3461625,00.html

wmhde said...

Logistical question:
all our bases, bar one, are in the South of Germany--how do we get our heavy tanks out to Iraq where they can help heal and repair the world?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Army_installations_in_Germany

I wonder if we ever attend memorial services for the Hamburg bombings--or do the Germans merit reconciliation?

jack strocchi said...

They are there because they are there because they are there.

Never underestimate the conservative power of inertia.

Anonymous said...

The notion that the American army in Germany is there to stop war breaking out between Germany, France and Britain is pure nonsense - as anyone with half a brain can tell.
It has everything to do with the backwash of the cold war.The Russians agreed to withdraw all their forces from Europe - in return for similar concessions from the USA.The Americans never kept their side of the bargain, and for the umpteenth time conned that dumb klutz Gorbachev.
Why did the American establishment decide to keep a standing, occupying army in Germany?
Classic neo-con power play politics.

nooffensebut said...

One reason that the military likes to keep bases in Germany is as a perk of military service or an incentive to take a difficult tour of duty in peacetime. Rumsfeld was a military reformer who wanted to cut the presence in Germany. By the way, I definitely part company with paleo-conservatives, Ron Paul cultists, and race realists who despise Rumsfeld and Bush’s foreign policy. Even the idea that the surge corrected the failed Rumsfeld Iraq war strategy is logically suspect. Is it also true that the Vietnam War Domino Theory was wrong simply because it did not happen after the “loss”? If the Iraq war had started as a surge, would the war effort have continued long enough to succeed before falling public support forced withdrawal? Some patriotic Americans feel that they have a patriotic duty to bet against America’s military and do their best to win the bet.

Simon in London said...

World Empire.

Anonymous said...

Their mission is to drink beer and get laid.

What does a soldier do all day, while posted abroad in the time of peace? He can't train all week can he?

Busy work. Lots and lots of busy work, like painting rocks white and using them to line footpaths (I kid you not).

eh said...

Withdrawal would have a significant economic impact on the areas e.g. in Germany where troops are stationed. So the locals, including politicians, often ones quite high up, often lobby heavily against reductions and base closures for that reason.

BC said...

Some of the most enjoyable years of my life were spent stationed in Germany, but I was an officer and German speaker. I'm sure the typical soldier enjoys it, depending on their job and location, but many are not there by choice.

In addition to those 57,000 troops, there are many thousands of well-paid civilian employees who do not have to rotate to Iraqistan or back to the states like the troops do. And the many US and non-US contractors, also well paid. They are often both established within the local community, and taking advantage of various DOD benefits/subsidies. And there's the boondoggle vacations for DC politicians and high ranking bureaucrats.

Makes for an interested interest group.

Anonymous said...

At least for the first few decades, yes, American troops were in Germany to prevent a European war, and also to reassure the non-German Europeans we would stop the Germans if they acted up (some of my continental relatives are still concerned about Germany to this day).

"Never underestimate the conservative power of inertia." I think this explains part of why they're still there.

Mr. Anon said...

"... While Portland companies have a great pool of talent to draw on, it's not a diverse pool. Portland is still about 80 percent white."

The horror! The iniquity!

These young urban whites are amusing. They would recoil at the idea that they've moved somewhere to get away from diversity, even though that explains a lot of thier motivation. They don't act any different than those middle-class white southerners who left Memphis and environs for the white exurbs.

Mr. Anon said...

Steve,

Sorry, my last comment is in the wrong thread. It should be in reply to your post on Portland.

Difference Maker said...

Some patriotic Americans feel that they have a patriotic duty to bet against America’s military and do their best to win the bet

You have admirable obedience.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

World Empire.

Correct and the end result is always the same: broke, socialist and populated by your enemies.

Polistra said...

I've always tended toward Odom's opinion. The official line was that the soldiers were preventing a Russian invasion of West Germany, but that doesn't seem historically likely.

Russia took over Eastern Europe in 1945 partly by Western collusion, partly by countries voluntarily choosing the perceived lesser evil. (Several of those countries HATED England because of its constant meddling and trade games.)

Germany, OTOH, had just finished trying (twice!) to take over all of Europe by raw force, so it's more likely that our soldiers were meant to prevent a third resurgence.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Germany for a while. Those bases are small bastions of America. Americans schools, American good, so on and so forth. The troops have no relationship with the German populace.

Pat Shuff said...

What is their mission, anyway?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mission creep.

NATO (cold war) IMF (gold standard) wool subsidies (for fighting on the frozen steppes)
Energy Dept/Carter (energy independence)..etc. and so on ad infinitum. The nearest thing to eternal life on earth. Once institutionalized...program, policy, agency....immortality regardless of original purpose or success. Why? The colonization of the instituted by the colonists (sic.) Mission creeps. Sort of a ratchet mechanism, it only leverages one way and just spins the other so the nuts are ever tighter and can never be removed.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

It may not explain everything, but wouldn't the chance to spend time in Japan, Germany, and Italy serve as a draw to smarter men considering careers as officers or enlistees?

From a logisticasl perspective, Germany is closer to places of interest in the Middle East than any American territory, and I doubt that the cost of keeping troops in Germany is much greater than keeping them in the US.

Whether all of these military adventures are worth the cost or do any good are entirely separate matters.

Edward said...

Steve, it's obvious that you don't love your country. The Young Americans for Freedom just kicked Ron Paul off their board for asking why the US has so many troops abroad and spends so much money on its military (almost half of all the world's military expenditures come from the US). The YAF suggested that Paul was bordering on "treason" for even raising the issue. So there.

This is the same stuff that the Left uses to try to discredit its opponents - anyone who disagrees with them is a "Racist!" So if you want to cut the military you're a "traitor," at least according to the YAF.

Most of the other major nations spend 2-3% of their GDP's on the military. Japan spends less than 1%. But the US spends around 4.6%. Why? Indeed, why do we need any troops abroad at all? Why do we borrow money from Japan and China to defend Japan against China. The major threats we face are economic collapse due to government deficits and illegal immigration across the southern border. So why not reduce expenditures and bring the remaining troops home and deploy them along the border? Seems logical to me. But maybe I'm a traitor.

Anonymous said...

Forget about Germany.

What about Iraq and Afghanistan? How much money has been flushed away in those latrines?

But Heaven forfend we might call into question our dubious belief in the powers of our military to effect change that we should care about while in the hot pursuit of our dubious belief that cutting the deficit right now -- right now!! - is going to have a positive effect on an economy already suffering from a lack of demand.

Anonymous said...

Remember that Parkinson was inspired to craft his famous law when he noticed that Britain had only dismantled the Coast Watch that was charged with looking for Napoleon when they had to build the coastal radar stations to look for Nazis.

For those who have forgotten their law, Parkinson's Law says roughly -Bureaucracy expands to fill all available space.

Albertosaurus

Chicago said...

We're overextended and it would be sensible to pare it all down little by little to make it an easier, softer process. But they won't do that; there's a mental block preventing politicians from facing this reality and going about it in a rational way, not to mention all the various groups who benefit from this military gravy train and sabotage all efforts to address it. Refusing to deal with the inevitable only makes things worse in the end, resulting in crisis and some form of collapse. Lots of people thought the USSR would be around forever and look what happened.

peter A said...

gwern is correct (the first post). It's all about global power projection, not preserving peace in Western Europe. Troops in Germany can get to Africa or the Middle East a lot faster than troops in the US can. Likewise troops in Japan can be in Taiwan in a few hours if they needed to be, or the Philippines, or Korea or where ever the Empire feels threatened.

Anonymous said...

Does America pay for its military presence in Germany? I know that Japanese pay for our military presence over there, so our bases in Japan doesn't cost us anything. More likely, we're gypping the Japanese for more than we are worth.

My guess as to why we are still in Germany.

1. If US departs, Germany will naturally have to rearm. It will again become the premier power in Europe, something UK, France, Italy, Poland(and most of Central European nations), and even Russia don't want. Though Russia wants US out of nations that were formerly of the Russian empire, Russians don't want US out of Germany. Germany, with its strong economy, can develop into the third or fourth strongest military power in a matter of 10 yrs if US were gone. Though Russians kinda fear the US, US is far away. Germany is very close.
Now, all these nations know that Germany today isn't what it was in the 30s and 40s. Germans are democratic and peaceful. Even so, historical perceptions die hard. Just like blacks still howl about the KKK and the Jews still see Nazis everywhere--even in Rick Sanchez and Helen Thomas--, many Europeans still see a latent-monster in Germans. I had a French Film professor who, in the early 90s, warned of the reunification of Germany in a "I'm telling you so" manner. And I know a Polish friend whose mother cannot watch any WWII movies because the horrors she experienced under the Germans: she was a slave laborer. Given the great changes in Europe since the end of WWII, these fears are clearly irrational, unfounded, and contrary to today's facts. But humans are as irrational as rational. My Polish friend, though young and liberal(and without ill-will toward Germans)says most Poles still think Germans 'too frighteningly' efficient and orderly, and we know the connotations of those sentiments. And given that the German economy is surging while rest of European economy is either sagging or stagnant, there may yet be even more fears of Germany.

Also, re-militarization may lead to greater national pride among Germans. A good thing in my opinion, but for neighboring nations which suffered horrendously from resurgent German nationalism in the 30s and 40s, perspectives may differ.

Also, since the end of WWII, though Germany has has the biggest economy in Europe, UK and especially France was the big political player on the continent. And this was possible because Germany was essentially a military/political colony of the US. If US goes and Germany develops its own military, Germany will not only be the premier economic but political/military power in Europe. France will not want that. Russia has the potential of developing an economy bigger than that of Germany, but most Russians lack work ethic. Russians only work hard when forced to, as under Stalin.

2. Germans themselves don't want the US to depart since they've come to fear and loathe themselves. Germans feel sick even when they sing their own national anthem. Most prominent German intellectuals and leaders are fearful of the German soul. They believe that something intrinsic in the German soul/culture/history led to WWI and WWII and the Holocaust. Germans don't trust themselves. Germans feel that they are addicted to the Will to Power like alcoholics are addicted to drink. For Germany to remain good, it has to be treated as a mental patient by a bigger power like the US.
And since Germans themselves don't wanna re-arm(lest they act like Nazis again), they need to be defended from neighboring nations, especially resurgent Russia.

3. Jews run the US, and the fact that Germany is a bitch to the US means it is a bitch to Jewish power. If US leaves and Germany re-arms, the moral/historical/political implication will be that the Holocaust is finally an event of the past, and it's time for Germany to move on and be guilt-free. Given that Holocaustianity is the new religion and requires Germans to atone forever, this is something Jews don't want.

Bob said...

Germany and Japan pay an annual amount to the US military in return for the US troops being stationed there.

Japan's share is $2 billion:

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/02/ap_military_japan_020710/

JW Ogden said...

Amen.
IMO it is because it will hurt the local economy around the bases and it costs the politicians nothing personally to leave them there.

Anonymous said...

We keep troops in Germany and Britain for the same reason we sent them to Yugoslavia: to guarantee Muslim claims to European territory wherever they manage to breed or illegally immigrate themselves into a majority.

dearieme said...

"if The British have 23,000 ..": not for much longer -
http://www.thelocal.de/national/20101019-30615.html

Baloo said...

If we pulled the troops out, the Germans might stop sending money to Israel.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Logistical question:
all our bases, bar one, are in the South of Germany--how do we get our heavy tanks out to Iraq where they can help heal and repair the world?


IIRC, most of our heavy armor was prepositioned on ships in the Indian Ocean. When the prep work for Iraq II started up it was moved to KSA and Turkey. Turkey then balked at us launching an attack from their soil due to Wolfowitz's hubris.

You can move our heavy armor by air, but it's slow and time consuming.

(Take this with a grain of salt. I'm going off of what I remember from reading about it a few years ago.)

I am Lugash.

Anonymous said...

Those troops are there, not to "protect" Germany, but to ensure American political hegemony and leadership over the European continent. Washington likes having an empire.

L said...

One provision of Bretton Woods was that US markets would be wide open to German/Japanese products without requiring their markets to be open to the US'. In return, the US got basing rights. Maybe Germany and Japan want to keep things that way.

Has to be said...

"Japan's share is $2 billion."

And US taxpayers' share is $4 billion. Does this count as military aid?

Anonymous said...

I saw an American military base in southern Germany. It was like a country club. There were tennis courts, a golf course, swimming pools, gymnasium, a theatre, and even a small shopping mall complex. If it hadn't been for seeing so many uniformed soldiers, it might have been taken for a club med facility. There was a ski resort not too far from there that the servicemen used to frequent. But the troops had little interaction with the local German people, most of whom, I sensed, quietly resented them.

Anonymous said...

Polistra,
You are wrong.The Yalta conference of 1944 agreed that Europe be divided up into 'spheres of influence', in other words Britain and the USA 'gifted' eastern Europe to the USSR.A contentious case was Greece, in which a putative communist revolution failed as the Russians thought of it as in the 'British' sphere.

dearieme said...

"in other words Britain and the USA 'gifted' eastern Europe to the USSR." And I suppose the USSR gifted Western Europe to the US and UK?

"A contentious case was Greece, in which a putative communist revolution failed as the Russians thought of it as in the 'British' sphere." Nothing to do with the British troops sent there, then?

EvilPaulista said...

Steve, it's obvious that you don't love your country. The Young Americans for Freedom just kicked Ron Paul off their board for asking why the US has so many troops abroad and spends so much money on its military (almost half of all the world's military expenditures come from the US). The YAF suggested that Paul was bordering on "treason" for even raising the issue. So there.

Ron Paul sends neocons like YAF, HalfSigma and OneSTDV into fits just like Palin does to leftists. HalfSigma paints any Paul supporters as antisemitic and both selectively censor comments.

Incredibly, OneSTDV claims he dislikes Paul because Paul doesn't love America.

Apparently, being the only national politicians to attack the root decay in America (fiscal policy, illegal immigration, foreign misadventures and over-extension) is not as important as neocon armchair hand-waving patriotism driving us into pointless wars and bankruptcy.

Paul's appeal to the Constitution and rule of law to find a legal basis to objectively reign in excesses is just the type of sordid "legal reductionism" dreaded liberals use according to this post. What scoundrel would appeal to written law?

Finally, Paul is accused of being a kook Libertarian with no loyalty to American citizens - the type that don't believe in national boarders like our current Republicrat leadership.

Strange given Paul was the only candidate to take a strong stance against illegal immigration.

Ron Paul’s six point plan puts a stop to illegal immigration:

1. Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.
2. Enforce visa rules. Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law. This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.
3. No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.
4. No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.
5. End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.
6. Pass true immigration reform. The current system is incoherent and unfair. But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation. This is insanity. Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.

Anonymous said...

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/stuck-in-traffic-woman-gives-birth-in-lincoln-tunnel/?ref=nyregion

^ an illegal giving birth to a citizen?

what is your take on this and how it affects our budget.

Whiskey said...

Inertia and bureaucracy explain most of this. Although as noted by others above, Germany is handy for force projection in the Middle East. If you like driving your car, instead of being on the bus filled with South Central's finest, or riding the Blue Line, you better have the ability for the US to reach out and touch someone in the Middle East.

That being said, the real drivers of the budget are health and welfare and educational costs for illegal aliens. The Paulnuts propose to deal with this by ... disarming America. "Because if we are just nice to other people they'll be nice to us!" Utopian, one-worldist, post-Quakerism. Everyone here knows that does not work with NAMS in the barrio/ghetto, but believes it will with Muslims in the Middle East (and the price of oil to run our cars, which are a requirement to avoid living cheek-by-jowl with NAMs in ghettos and barrios).

America could save a few hundred million here and there by closing down foreign bases (and lose the ability to project force at a moment's notice -- the cost is "an option" to project force in places we might need to). But it would not seriously affect the budget.

The way to balance the budget is deporting illegals. Who contribute little in taxes and consume extremely high amounts of social spending on welfare, health care, and education. For which we get nothing -- poverty levels, low educational achievement, and illegitamacy as well as crime rates remain at appalling levels generation after generation. If anything, they tend to get worse.

America needs income growth, which can only come by kicking out high cost/low output illegals and a policy of a closed, Chinese-style economy with employment based here.

Mike Courtman said...

Didn't Hadrian keep the Roman Empire alive for another century of so by doing an inventory of the Empire and conducting some rational downsizing?

Perhaps the US could do with another Hadrian.

Doug1 said...

Germany is conveniently close to the Middle East and is a compliant Western country. (Have you ever noticed how everyone leaving Iraq seems to make a stop in Germany?)

There aren't a whole lot of other places to stick gigantic bases for the long-term.


The bases in Germany are built. We shouldn't dismantle them. But we could deploy 1/2 or 1/4 the troops we have there. Leave our tanks, artillery, helos jets etc. forward deployed there.

But if we don't slim the military by that amount, we might not save much money.

I think one reason for the size of the german base deployment is that it's a pretty good posting. Comparable and in maybe some soldier's eyes preferable to a US base. Soldiers often or usually seem to bring their families over to a German posting. There are US schools there. Chance to see europe on leave without paying transcontinental airfare.

Anonymous said...

Facts are that Britain played both ends (France/Russia) against the middle (Germany) twice (WWI, WWII) and since the torch has been passed in the Anglo-American relationship it is up to the Americans to prevent from happening what Halford MacKinder so correctly pointed out.... That any kind of alliance or unification between the natural German Reich with all it's technological advantage and the Russian Motherland with her manpower and resource advantage will lead to the end of the Anglo advantage on the planet. This is called the Heartland Theory. More info here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartland_Theory

Ex-Chancellor of Germany Shroeder works for Gazprom for a reason, and most of you are busy playing 'go fish' while the rest of the world plays 'go'.

James said...

My guess is the troops are there to intimidate Russia, at least originally. Protect western Europe. Governments are always slow to change pace when needed.

Now of course, what do costs matter when you can print as much $$$ as you want and push the inevitable collapse into the future to fall on some other US leader's shoulders?

What good would the troops do here? Protect/police our borders? Who wants that? Certainly not the Obamanation in the office now. Or any other recent presidents.

Dane said...

I seem to remember Keynes saying it doesn't matter what you spend money on, you could pay guys to dig a hole and bury money and dig it up, as long as you spend it, you stimulate the economy for your benefit. Well, the US has been pursuing Keynesian economics faithfully for a while now. Hmmm how well has that worked out for us?

Anonymous said...

That any kind of alliance or unification between the natural German Reich with all it's technological advantage and the Russian Motherland with her manpower and resource advantage will lead to the end of the Anglo advantage on the planet.

These days its pretty hard to see what the Anglo advantage is anymore.

Anonymous said...

We keep troops in Germany and Britain for the same reason we sent them to Yugoslavia: to guarantee Muslim claims to European territory wherever they manage to breed or illegally immigrate themselves into a majority.

Maybe but I should point out pedantically that US troops ie US Army personnel in significant numbers have been absent from the UK for many years, since the 1960s I think.

There are some US airbases in the UK, very large and significant ones like Lakenheath and Mildenhall but no real 'boots on the ground'. Some USN presence also.

Also the US forces in Germany have been whittled away for years,

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"If you like driving your car...you better have the ability for the US to reach out and touch someone in the Middle East."

Really? What the hell else are they gunna sell us if not their oil? Ever buy anything that was made in the Middle East? I can think of only two such items in my entire home - some underwear made in Jordan, and some towels made in Turkey. And that's it.

Once upon a time the oil-rich countries in the Middle East might've been able to hold back the oil. Now their populations have grown so large and (in Saudi Arabia's case) their royal families so large, as well, that they can't afford not to sell it to us.

And if things really do get bad we still have a dozen aircraft carriers to put to use.

Still I'd wager that the ability to "see the world" is a big draw for quality recruits. Eliminate overseas bases and the quality of your officer's corps would probably decline. So if you're going to have an active duty army of X number of divisions anyway (10 at present, I believe) why not garrison some in Germany and Japan?

Besides, it's unlikely that any war the US fights will be fought on our own soil - other than the one being fought on our southern border, that is.

Anonymous said...

Dearime,
The USA and the UK did 'gift' eastern Europe to the USSR at the Yalta conference, no other word really suffices for the reality of that situation.All the eastern European states really wanted was national sovereignty and independence - the UK and the USA did absolutely nothing to help them in this regard.
In fact the UK was treaty-bound to guarantee Polish independence - it ignored this responsibility, a fact that rankled Poles for generations.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the paleocons are finally turning their attention to these questions. As much bitching as goes on about a few billion dollars to Israel each year (mostly used to purchase US weapons systems), at least that's only money and Israel fights its own wars. How much do you think it costs to garrison Germany, Japan and Korea, not to mention the fact that if the shooting starts, it'll be Americans dying there?

W Baker said...

Come home to what jobs?

(The military is one of the largest jobs programs for blacks, hispanics, browns of all hues, and feckless whites. The ruling elites are having a hard enough time keeping the underbelly semi-employed and/or partially on the dole. They sure as hell don't want 60,000 more added to the unemployment line.)

Anonymous said...

You cons really need to give up on the whole "Yalta betrayal" bullshit. There was this little thing called the Soviet army sitting in Eastern Europe. They weren't going anywhere without a major fight. If you were willing to spend a million or two American, British, and French lives to ensure that Eastern Europe didn't have to drive shitty cars and have petty bureaucrats tapping their phones for 40 years, then good for you. But I think things worked out about the best that could have been hoped for.

neil craig said...

There is a story of a Tsar, just before the revolution, noting that a soldier was always posted in a particular spot in his garden & asking why. After a vast amount of searching through the files it turned out that Catherine the Great had planted a bush there & ordered that it be guarded as it grew. The bush had long since died but the bureaucracy hadn't.

Government bureaucracies don't give up doing things just because they are useless.

bleach said...

"We keep troops in Germany and Britain for the same reason we sent them to Yugoslavia: to guarantee Muslim claims to European territory wherever they manage to breed or illegally immigrate themselves into a majority."

Jewdar clamoring... the Yugoslav Muslims are European converts, they have a right to be there... the Albanians in particular were likely in Europe way before the Slavs


ps. social cohesion is always first and foremost a matter of race not religion regardless what our ancient friends in the MSM tell us so frequently. the Christian Mexicans and Africans in the U.S. are vastly dumber and more violent than even Turks

airtommy said...

Since the torch has been passed in the Anglo-American relationship it is up to the Americans to prevent from happening what Halford MacKinder so correctly pointed out.

The "Anglo-American relationship" has been an unmitigated disaster for America.

Eric said...

A large portion of the troops the US has in Germany are there because Germany is the European hub for US military logistics. I'd be willing to bet most every bullet and MRE in Afghanistan made its way through Germany at one point or another.

Mil-Tech Bard said...

Steve Sailer,

There are three interrelated reasons why we do.

1) Logistics

2) Budget

3) Policy

First, Germany is a closer base for projecting power into and from Europe.
We stopped the Bosnian Genocide with airpower and ground troops based in Germany.

Germany provides host nation support that makes the basing of troops there Cheaper than here in the USA. True that is at the cost of not having the tax dollars spent on the salaries of those troops in the American economy, but the benefit of that is not in the DoD bottom line budget.

Third, Our troops in Germany means Germany does not "go nuclear" in terms of warheads and delivery systems. The same applies with Japan.

Laban said...

"the UK was treaty-bound to guarantee Polish independence - it ignored this responsibility, a fact that rankled Poles for generations"

Churchill and Roosevelt did a deal with Stalin at Yalta - and, to be fair, Churchill would have liked that deal to be much tougher on Stalin (pointed out that the UK "could never be content with any solution that did not leave Poland a free and independent state"). Roosevelt was too optimistic about Soviet intentions, Churchill more realistic.

Given that the US was arming the UK, what exactly was Churchill to do - break the treaties, attack an ally, and invade the Soviet Zone in the hope of pushing the Red Army back to the 1939 borders?

He was in no position to do so, especially as Eisenhower had declared Berlin to be 'militarily unimportant'. While Stalin's troops were racing for the prize, US forces which could have got there first were static.

Brett Stevens said...

We keep troops in Germany because if Russia attacks, that's where she will attack. Russia, as an unstable third world country for over a millennium, is most likely to attack when domestic problems become overpowering -- as they do without much warning. If we keep troops in Germany, we can respond; if in the course of response we ship troops to Germany, the Russians will respond to that as if attacked.

Mr. Anon said...

"Budget question

Everybody is talking about cutting the budget.

So, why does the U.S. have 57,080 troops in Germany? What is their mission, anyway?"

The same mission as this guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroo_Onoda

We do things this way because we have always done them this way.

neil craig said...

Russia wouldfind it easier to attack countries with which she has borders. Belarus & Poland are both between Russia & Germany. Like keeping troops in Nevada because you expect Pearl Harbour to be attacked.

Anonymous said...

"I lived in Germany for a while. Those bases are small bastions of America. Americans schools, American good, so on and so forth. The troops have no relationship with the German populace"

Interesting, the British Army Of the Rhine (hence BAOR) although a distinct entity within Germany with it's own schools and shops was more closely integrated, at least in the sense that many soldiers had German wives.

"If US departs, Germany will naturally have to rearm."

The West Germans had a very big army during the Cold War. I am pretty sure it's still of a good size.

"We keep troops in Germany and Britain for the same reason we sent them to Yugoslavia: to guarantee Muslim claims to European territory wherever they manage to breed or illegally immigrate themselves into a majority."

An airbase is not troops. The American airbases in Britain could be easilly overrun by local forces (who provide the security anyway) and since they are mostly in Suffolk they are also a long way away (by English standards) from any notable Moslem population.

"Some USN presence also."

Albeit office workers in London, most of whom have left since the late nineties.

"The bases in Germany are built. We shouldn't dismantle them. But we could deploy 1/2 or 1/4 the troops we have there. Leave our tanks, artillery, helos jets etc. forward deployed there."

Don't you already? The troops who make up British Forces Germany (BFG) are deployable. Units based in Germany deploy on operations all the time.

Bourbon said...

The Nazis could come back any moment, Steve.

Our number one enemy is Germany.

Well, it fluctuates between Germany and Iran.

Ash said...

To answer non-sarcastically: you're right.

At maximum, I can see a reason to have one air base in Germany. One air base.

*Maybe* also a small contingent of the army (like 1000 guys) to train with Europeans, on the off chance that we need to fight alongside them sometime. But that's optional.

Other than that, if I had my way, we'd move the rest to Arizona, and dissolve NATO. It's time for Europe to grow up.

Laura Chennel said...

Because the Germans cant be trusted. duh.

Eric said...

OTOH, what is the longest period of peace in Western Europe since 1000 A.D. ? What is the trade value of that peace vs. our expenditures?