US troop withdrawls from Europe and Korea

Regarding troop withdrawls from Europe what do dopers think about it ? What are the long term issues at stake ?

Many were quick to criticize and I just don’t get it. Except maybe for Korea… that could send the wrong signal to North Korea… but not much. 70k troops in Germany seem awfully unecessary to me… and I have no love for Bush… but I think its a good and cost effective move for the USA.

I would only disagree if the reason are pure politics or in order to free troops and allow for extensive occupation of new Middle Eastern countries post Iraq.

Naturally I still think Bush and Co. are wrong in assuming that terrorism is a military matter mostly.

Once the USSR collapsed, why would US troops be needed in Europe at all? I think this was long overdue. Ditto with troops in Japan, whatever are they there for? South Korea may be a different story. I thnk it makes sense to review the need for overseas bases and troop deployments and adjust accordingly.

I think this is nothing but good, even in Korea. SK doesn’t need troops, it needs the high-tech airforce and navy that we bring to bear. (And it is arguable that they don’t need those.) Germany doesn’t face too much of a threat from Poland, so they don’t need our troops, either. (Though they will keep some.) We’ll be pushing some bases closer to the ME (in Romania and Bulgaria, IIRC). Also, it looks like we are going to preposition equipment in Australia, and help them build a high-tech training facility, like we have in N.Mexico and Germany.

I have to say, it is more than a bit touching to read some of the German reactions to our redeployements. The very thought of our money, err, troops, leaving their soil seems to drive some to the verge of tears. It would give me no small pleasure to be able to say that the German redeployments are as a result of their smarminess as of late, but no such luck. We’ve been planning this for years; But go figure, the media is caught unawares.

Troops in Japan aren't scheduled for withdrawl... and neither should they. Asia is a hotspot now for the US. (Plus Japan is playing nice and doing Bush's bidding)

No reason for them to remain in Europe since the end of the Cold War, except maybe the guys in Bosnia. I’m not sure what the situation is like there now but presumably UN are still peacekeeping so why not? I’m sure the guys on the ground would like to be nearer to their families and countrymen anyhow.
I agree that withdrawing the troops from Korea is sending mixed signals, but are US forces remaining on standby around Taiwan? Didn’t see any movements reported.

Not all forces are being removed from Korea. One brigade and assorted support troops are going, which will leave us two brigades and assorted air and support assets.

Long overdue, but if you read the articles, be sure to note this is something like 5 - 10 years away before it actually happens. I have no problem selling technology to countries that need it, but let them use their own people to defend their own country. We Americans would go balistic if anyone even suggested keeping foreign troops in our country. If we need NATO bases overseas, that’s fine, and let’s make sure all the NATO partners participate equally.

From what I just read, it’s possible that the marines presence in Okinawa could be reduced.

Also, some thousands would be sent to Irak, but I assume it’s unrelated to this redeployment plan.

Concerning Europe, I understand also that the presence in Italy will be, at the contrary, reinforced.

I think it’s unreasonable to expect any president to completely vacate Europe of American troops. But it probably makes sense to rethink how many we have and where they are stationed.

I heard a lot of Democrats (polititicians, not average voters) saying this was a bad idea since terrorism is a global problem. These are probably some of the same guys who go around saying that the military is the wrong tool to use against terrorism.

It’s the elections season and both sides are going to try to use this for political gain. I’m sure Bush is hoping to get some boost from this announcement, even if it’s technically been in the works for a long time. The funny thing is that even if he is re-elected, much of this realignment won’t happen until after '08, when who knows who will be president…

This just in: Kerry is a moron.

Of course, US forces are staying in SK and Germany; Just not as many. And our new/expanded bases in eastern and southern Europe will (just look at a map) give us closer access to the Middle-East, Caucasus, and Africa. Way to go, Field Marshal Kerry.

Seems like a knee-jerk reaction by Kerry. If Bush is for it, he must be against it.

It was Wesley Clark not John Kerry who made those statements.

Kerry campaigner. Same difference. Even a bit worse, actually, since it could be indicitive of the sort of people he will be putting in the position of making these sorts of decisions.

I guess your taking the “With us or against us” to the next level !

Don’t quote wrongly please… or we will quote Bush with Chalabi’s words… on of his campaigners.

Show me where I quoted ‘wrongly’, and you may have a point.

I don’t think this issue is quite as cut and dried as you guys are making it out to be, and I also think Kerry’s position is defensible. On balance, wrong. But certainly not idiotic.

You have to think of the larger geopolitical value to having troops garrisoned around the world. Due to the military presence in Germany, something like 300,000 Americans live fairly integrated in German society. Some would argue that their presence there keeps us tied together somewhat - it’s a constant re-affirmation of allied cooperation. Move all the troops out, and you’ll cause some hostility as Germany is forced to accept a minor shock to its economy. And at a time when Germans are already feeling somewhat hostile to Americans, that might not be a good thing.

It may also put even more pressure on the EU to move away from the U.S. sphere of interest and start arming more heavily to replace the defensive force it got from having an American tripwire in Europe. These changes won’t be felt next year, or even much in a decade, I’d guess. But over the long haul, it could have substantial repercussions.

South Korea is a similar situation. Even though withdrawing troops may make sense from a purely strategic standpoint, we have to keep in mind the signals a troop drawdown may send to North Korea. One could be that the U.S. is overextended and occupied elsewhere, and that the time is ripe for an attack. Or more likely, they’ll just get more belligerant and demanding, and less likely to come to the negotiating table.

But having said that, I think that Rumsfeld’s vision of the military is the correct one. It doesn’t make strategic sense to tie up a good percentage of your forces defending a peaceful, integrated Europe from itself. Garrisoning troops around the world is SO 20th century. The U.S. military has gotten so good at rapid deployment that it’s feasible to keep them home until needed. And also, the universe of likely spots on the planet where U.S. troops may have to go is pretty diverse. It’s not hard to imagine the U.S. having to rapidly deploy forces to the Phillippines, or Venezuela, or Africa, or Taiwan, or Malaysia. When everyone knew where the front was, you could station troops along it. When the front can be anywhere on the planet, the only option is to become more agile and flexible.

And the Bush administration isn’t exactly running willy-nilly into this. They are talking about a ten year timeframe, which makes sense. Moving 300,000 people out of Germany in one shot would hurt the Germans. It should be done gradually.

Just how much more hostile is the Hun going to get? Something like a third of them think we staged 9/11. With allies like that, who needs enemies? Besides, we don’t have large troop contingents in Austria or Sweden, yet we manage to get along fine with them. The Germans will adapt. Clever people, those Germans…

The purpose of the US Armed Forces should not be to subsidize foreign economies. But the economic benifit of hosting thousands of US soldiers is a valuable diplomatic tool; Why not use it for our true allies in Poland or whatnot?

Don’t confuse fucking over ‘Germany’ with fucking over ‘Europe’. We will be building new facilities in Europe, just not in Germany. While Germany may be left quaking at the prospects of a Lichtensteinian invasion, the ‘new’ borders of Europe, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, etc, will see an increased US presence. Who knows, maybe someday Europe will unite sufficiently to play ‘Superpower’, but that is such a vague and distant prospect that it doesn’t merit much thought today. (Except as a GD topic every few weeks.)

Since our troops aren’t even on the DMZ anymore, I doubt NK will see this as any real change; It’s not like they can hope to push us back to Pusan anymore. And while we have less troops in SK, we have more assets in the Pacific; We are staging more strategic bombers out of Guam, and will preposition gear in Australia.

Flexibility is key, since it really does seem that we are the ‘world cop’, and will need to be able to respond to pretty much anywhere in the world. Who would have thought that we would have troops in Afghanistan 5 years ago?

Or, for those who prefer a little accuracy in their repetition of news items, 19% of Germans surveyed believed that the US government could have ordered the September 11 attacks.

But we mustn’t be too hard on the Germans. This belief may be completely off-the-wall, but at least it’s a minority belief. About two months after that survey was taken, this survey reportedly showed that 69% of Americans surveyed thought it was likely that Sadaam Hussein was personally involved in the attacks, despite the complete absence of any evidence to that effect. An equally off-the-wall belief, but expressed in stronger terms and shared by rather more people. With voters like that, who needs external enemies?


Quibble all you want; I sure as hell don’t want to subsidize people like that.

You sure you don’t mean a knee-jerk reaction from Brutus there? “If Kerry is against it, Brutus must support it”?