Saturday, May 06, 2017

Its finally being said elsewhere...our allies military forces are in decline...

Even as NATO heads of state prepare to discuss Russia and global terror at their annual summit this month, a deeper issue is haunting America’s allies around the globe: their relative military and economic decline over the past two decades — and the increasingly sharp geopolitical challenges this poses for the United States.

To understand this problem, it helps to go back to the early post-Cold War era, when the strengths of Washington and its allies were at their peak. In the mid-1990s, America’s core treaty allies—the NATO countries, the members of Washington’s bilateral alliance system in the Asia-Pacific, and Taiwan—accounted for nearly half of global GDP and over 35 percent of global military spending. Close allies such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan constituted the largest economies in the world after the United States, and in many cases boasted impressive military and power-projection capabilities. America’s foremost adversaries and potential adversaries, meanwhile, were generally either weak or in precipitous decline. The Cold War left the United States not simply the world’s unipolar power, but the head of a “unipolar concert” of strong and vigorous democracies.

Times change, however, and so has the global distribution of economic and military power. America’s closest and most powerful allies have seen their shares of global GDP and military power fall since the mid-1990s, due to slow or stagnant growth and—in Europe especially—prolonged disinvestment in defense. More broadly, U.S. allies in both Europe and the Asia-Pacific have seen their economic and military power decline relative to Russia and China, America’s most prominent rivals. From 1994 to 2015, U.S. allies’ combined share of global GDP fell from 47 percent to 39 percent, and their share of global military spending from 35 percent to 25 percent. Meanwhile, China’s astounding economic and military ascent and Russia’s military buildup have propelled those countries’ combined share of world GDP from 5.5 percent to 14 percent and of military spending from 6 percent to 17 percent.

These are only rough measures of aggregate power and influence, of course, but they convey an essential truth of global politics: that the relative strengths of America’s allies are simply not what they used to be. The question of American decline is often debated today, but what this debate frequently misses is that the decline of U.S. allies has been much starker.
We've talked about it on these pages and the discussion became "interesting".  But the point I was trying to make (others too) is now being discussed in the wild.

American attitudes toward our allies is changing.  Many are questioning why we foot the bill both in terms of lives and treasure to defend nations that refuse to properly fund their own defense?

I've stated it simply with the phrase "Bring our troops home from the territories".  Trump was a bit more focused and vocal but the fact remains.  Except for Neo-Cons and the Establishment (on both sides), the unwashed masses on the left and right in the US want to see our allies do more to defend themselves.

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