Europe’s Myopic Defense Cuts

All over Europe, defense expenditures are proving to be the easiest of targets as governments sim to slash their budget deficits. But if Europeans want their ambitions to be taken seriously - and not to alienate their US allies - they must accept that there are limits to how much military budgets can be cut.

COPENHAGEN – All over Europe, budgets are being pared as a new age of austerity takes hold. Defense expenditures are proving to be the easiest of targets. Even Britain under the Tory David Cameron has joined the rush to slash defense spending.

These cuts are coming at a time when European efforts to shoulder a fair share of the Western defense burden have been cast in doubt – not least in Afghanistan, where most European countries have limited their participation by insisting on a myriad of “caveats” that usually serve to keep their troops far from the most dangerous zones.

Defense cuts are also happening at a time when Europe, for the first time in modern history, has been overtaken by Asia in terms of total defense spending. Western Europe’s long-held position as the world’s most important concentration of military power after the United States and Russia appears to be over.

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