Why is it that at a time when America can barely keep her own economy afloat, we have officials who are continuing to make costly promises of a long-term international nature? I don’t see how or why it is our job to, “build a Europe” as Mrs. Clinton recently stated or why we should be looking towards spending more and more money on ‘important conflicts’ in every far-flung corner of the earth.
It will not matter what type of ‘global agenda’ we choose to ‘vigorously promote’ if we fail as a country and fall to an even lower level of financial recession or depression. Our leaders seem to be hell-bent on digging us into a (global) hole that we are going to end up burying ourselves in – and We The People seem content to just allow them to do it.
After reading the speeches given by Leon Panetta and Hilary Clinton at the Munich Security Conference, I couldn’t help but wonder how many more of our young men and women are they planning on sending off to die in the name of ‘common interest’ with our global allies? If our leaders really wanted to cut defense spending, not to mention save lives, would they really be using phrases like, “innovative rotational deployments”..?
February 04, 2012
Remarks by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
& Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
48th Munich Security Conference, Bayerischer Hof, Munich, Germany
Excerpts- Leon Panetta:
“There is still a war in Afghanistan. We confront the threat of terrorism, nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran, turmoil in the Middle East, rising powers, cyber attacks. We designed a strategy to deal with these threats.
Let me summarize the key elements of the new U.S. defense strategy. First, the United States military will be smaller and we will be leaner. That was something, frankly, that was going to happen under any circumstances by virtue of the drawdown that we were involved in. But what we wanted to stress was a force that would be agile, that would be flexible, that would be rapidly deployable, and that would be technologically advanced. It must be a cutting edge force for the future.
Second, we will enhance our presence in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, where we see the greatest challenges and the greatest opportunities in the 21st century. Third, we will maintain a robust presence in Europe and elsewhere in the world by investing in existing alliances, by helping to make them stronger, by developing new partnerships, and by developing new innovative rotational deployments that will give us the capability to have a presence not only in Europe, but in Africa and Latin America and elsewhere.
Fourth, we will ensure that we can quickly confront and defeat aggression from any adversary, any time, any place. It is essential that we have the capability to deal with more than one adversary at a time, and we believe we have shaped a force that will give us that capability.
And fifth, we will protect and prioritize key investments – key investments in technology and new capabilities from special operations forces to cyber and space and unmanned systems, as well as our capacity to surge, adapt and grow as needed…
…Let me lay out how we intend to strengthen transatlantic security cooperation by describing what European allies and partners can expect from the United States and our new defense strategy. First, we will focus on the most pressing security challenges by investing in ballistic missile defense capability for Europe in response to the emerging threats beyond Europe.
As part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach and NATO’s missile defense capability, we have established a radar system in Turkey. We will be stationing SM-3 missiles in Romania and Poland. And we will deploy four BMD – ballistic missile defense-capable ships, Aegis ships to Rota, Spain. President Obama has made clear that the United States is firmly committed to building a missile defense system in Europe. The new defense strategy and our budget priorities reflect that commitment.
Second, we will invest in shared capabilities that will ensure NATO remains the strongest and most capable military alliance on earth. To address intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance shortfalls, some of which the Libya operation exposed, NATO has agreed as of yesterday to fund the new Alliance Ground Surveillance system.
I want to thank the secretary general and all of my fellow defense ministers in NATO for having made that very important decision, that is in many ways the foundation of smart defense. For that reason, we in the United States have protected funding for AGS in our new defense budget.
Safeguarding critical capabilities was a core objective of our budget and strategy review of the United States, and it is important that we send a strong message that we remain committed to this system and bolstering NATO’s cutting edge capabilities…
…Today, I can announce that the United States will make a new commitment to the security of our NATO partners by reinvigorating our contribution to the NATO Response Force that we value so much. The NRF was designed to be an agile, rapidly deployable, multinational force that can respond to crises when and where necessary. The United States had endorsed the NRF but has not made a tangible contribution due to the demands of the wars – until now.
In the coming months, we will identify a U.S.-based brigade from which we will provide the United States land force contribution to the NATO Response Force, and we will rotate a battalion-sized task-force to Germany for exercises and training. Not only will this open up new opportunities for U.S. troops to train and exercise with our European counterparts, it will ensure NATO has the capability to conduct expeditionary operations in defense of our common interests…”
Second, what emerged from a series of meetings with my NATO counterparts this past week was a recommitment to finishing the job in Afghanistan. Our bottom line, as the foreign minister pointed out, is in together, out together. As an Alliance, we are fully committed to the Lisbon framework and transitioning to Afghan control by 2014.
Our discussions included considerations of how ISAF will move from the lead combat role to a support, advise and assist role as Afghan Security Forces move into the lead. We hope Afghan forces will be ready to take the combat lead in all of Afghanistan some time in 2013, as we complete the final tranches of areas that we transition to Afghan control. But, of course, ISAF will continue to be fully combat capable. And we will engage in combat alongside the Afghans as necessary thereafter.
And, a few chilling words delivered by Mrs. Clinton:
First, we have to finish the business our predecessors started, and build a Europe that is secure, united, and democratic. And we heard the ICI Report that sets forward some very specific steps we could take together. From day one of this Administration, we have worked closely together to transform strategic relations with Russia, while standing firmly behind both our principles and our friends. This approach has yielded results, but we need work to sustain it. And this is not the only place in our community where we need to overcome mistrust. As long as important conflicts remain unresolved in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Mediterranean, Europe remains incomplete and insecure. Even as we grapple with a wider global agenda, we cannot lose sight of the challenges closer to home.
And let me underscore the word “trust”. We heard it from Igor Ivanov, we heard it from Guido Westerwelle, and I think it deserves repeating. We have to do more together to build a sense of trust and to overcome mistrust among us. That will have to be one of our strategic imperatives, if we expect to address successfully the issues ahead.
Second, because the strength of our alliance depends on the health of our economies, security and prosperity are ultimately inseparable. That means we need a common agenda for economic recovery and growth that is every bit as compelling as our global security cooperation. We recognize that Europe’s most urgent economic priority is the ongoing financial crisis. As you probably know, we have been dealing with one of our own…
…Fourth, our shared values are the bedrock of our community. We need to vigorously promote these together around the world, especially in this time of transformational political change. In the Middle East we have a profound shared stake in promoting successful transitions to stable democracies. We are making the Deauville Partnership a priority during America’s G8 presidency this year. And to make good on its promise, we will be putting forward an ambitious agenda to promote political and economic reform, trade, investment, regional integration, and entrepreneurship to help people realize the better future they have risked so much to have…”
Here is an interesting follow-up to the highlights of the Panetta and Clinton speeches from the Irish Times:
And another interesting press release from Northrop-Grumman
Transatlantic Cooperation is NATO’s Top Acquisition Program of Record
Other Related articles
- Panetta Calls for DoD Spending on European Defense as US Cuts (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- NATO: Missile shield plans proceed despite Russia (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Letter from Europe: U.S. Sees Europe as Not Pulling Its Weight Militarily (nytimes.com)
- NATO Meeting: “Shared Defense” Means US to pay for NATO UAV’s/Afghan Army (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Clinton: US‚ Europe must do more against tyrants (thehimalayantimes.com)
- US seeks deeper co-operation to confront tyrants – CTV.ca (m.ctv.ca)
- US seeks global help to fund Afghan troops (alternet.org)