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US Presidential Contest and NATO

Tim Brown comes back with a statement which indicates his presidential preference. The subject is so important that we have given it a lot of space:

"The potential for clashing interests between the Euroforce, the US-led NATO alliance, and the US other than NATO is being greatly overstated. The Euroforce is intended to be regional, Europe. NATO is still regional to include any non-Europe threat that impinges on NATO interests. US national forces have worldwide missions, with both Europe and NATO vital but less overarching than they were during the Cold War. These various zones of responsibility overlap primarily only in one theater of operations, Europe, where the Europeans suddenly realized as a result of the air war against Serbia just how qualitatively inferior their resources are compared to ours.

The Euroforce is thus a classic example of unintended consequences. In any case, possible cooperative efforts outside Europe or NATO's traditional zones of operations, such as in the Persian Gulf, will continue to be handled separately on a case by case basis.

As for Bush vs Gore, if our forces are to be ready to fight two wars in two separate theaters then they cannot simultaneously be committed to intensive engagement as an international humanitarian force without having their ability to fight two major wars being seriously attrited. The missions, their demands, their requirements are simply too different.

The USS Cole is an excellent example of how financing humanitarian efforts at the expense of war fighting capability has negative consequences. The Cole was refueling in Aden because the US navy no longer has the capability to refuel at sea. Until just a few years ago, the Cole would have been serviced by a Navy fleet tanker/oiler. Today not one fleet tanker/oiler remains in our Navy in that region, just as today we do not have even one submarine tender in the entire fleet, so that any submarine needing repairs, fuel, or machine shop service must either continue to operate in a less than acceptable condition, or leave its station and sail back to a US port. We almost lost the Cole. Despite reassuring public statements, according to senior officers on the scene, its hull and keel are so badly damaged, today it could not make it to the ultra large carrier that allegedly is to carry it back to Norfolk without sinking. Its main engine room is completely flooded, its mess deck is pushed up against the overhead, and so forth. Meanwhile we are surging the National Guard to replace regular Army units being worn out by constant deployment abroad and, as a consequence enlistments have plummeted with many Guard units now at less than 50% strength. The US armed forces are stretched to the limit, and there are two ways to reduce the severe problems this is causing, pull in our horns and become more selective as to their deployment [Bush], or continue to surge them in response to humanitarian challenges while praying that no wars happen to put their remaining strength to a serious military the test [Gore]."

Ronald Hilton - 10/25/00