Secretaries Panetta and Clinton are on a little fence-mending mission in Evropa:
The Obama administration sought to reassure anxious European allies Saturday that budget cuts won’t undercut the U.S.’s commitment to their security.
The Pentagon announced plans last month to cut the permanent U.S. force in Europe to two brigades, down from four, as part of efforts to trim its budget over the next 10 years and to refocus its attention on Asia and the Middle East.
“We made this decision only after ensuring that our force posture adjustments will not weaken our ability to meet our commitment to the security of Europe,” U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a security conference in Munich, Germany.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a rare joint appearance in Europe with Mr. Panetta, brushed aside “some of the doubts” expressed in European capitals about Washington’s continued commitment to the continent, saying the U.S. still sees Europe as its “partner of first resort.”
The population of core Europe, excluding Russia and Turkey, consists of over 730 million souls, almost twice that of the US. The EU has a GDP of nearly $18 trillion, three trillion dollars more than the US – it is the largest economy in the world. But the EU’s proportion of defense spending to GDP is 1.6%, nearly one third of that spent by the US. Each US citizen spends $2274 per year on national defense. The proportion spent across Europe is $410 per soul. If you exclude the peripheral European countries and focus only on the Eurozone, that contribution rises to – wait for it: $967. Maybe three months worth of car payments on a BMW or Mercedes. Used.
Most of Europe marched in the streets to protest the US going to war in defense of its own security in 2003.
Remind me again why we should be reassuring Europe of anything?