World

May 6, 2013

NATO secretary general warns Europe on defense cuts

– NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned May 6 that further cuts in defense spending by European nations risk reducing the continent’s defense and security to “hot air,” turning the alliance into what he called a “global spectator” rather than a real force on the world stage.

“The only way to avoid this is by holding the line on defense spending and to start reinvesting in security as soon as our economies recover,” he told a meeting in Brussels of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Rasmussen said European nations should not become absorbed by their own domestic issues, including sluggish economies that have contributed to defense cuts, and instead develop a “truly global perspective” to respond to crises further away from home.

“Having the right capabilities is important, but it is not enough,” he said. “We must also have the political will to use them, to deal with security challenges on Europe’s doorstep, to help manage crises further away that might affect us here at home, and to better share the security burden with our North American allies.”

Meanwhile, he said, European nations need to make better use of what they have – “to do more together as Europeans – within the European Union and within NATO – to deliver the critical defense capabilities that are too expensive for any individual country to deliver alone.”

It was the latest in a series of warnings over the past several years by Rasmussen that further cuts by European governments in defense spending could put NATO’s viability at risk. In 2011, Rasmussen said the trend suggested the continent was headed toward getting out of the security business entirely, pointing out that European nations had cut their defense budgets by $45 billion – the equivalent of Germany’s entire annual defense budget – while U.S contributions to NATO had increased from about half of total alliance spending to close to 75 percent.

Those comments were followed by a blunt warning from then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said NATO risked “irrelevance” and a “dismal future” if alliance members were not seen as “serious and capable partners in their own defense.”

Today, Rasmussen said soft power alone really is no power at all.

“Without hard capabilities to back up its diplomacy, Europe will lack credibility and influence,” he added. “It will risk being a global spectator, rather than the powerful global actor that it can be and should be.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

F-16 crashes in Bavaria

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, crashed Aug. 11 at approximately 9:38 a.m. near Engelmannreuth in the county of Bayreuth, Germany. The incident happened during a training flight at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria in Grafenwoehr, Bavaria, Germany. The pilot safely ejected. U.S. military...
 
 

Japan annual defense paper shows heightened worry over China

Japan emphasized China as a threat in escalating regional tensions in this year’s annual defense report as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government tries to convince the public of the need to pass legislation to give Japan’s military a greater role. The report, approved July 21 by the Cabinet, was delayed for more than a week...
 
 

Constitutional questions grow over Japan PM’s military plans

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to the U.S. to increase Japan’s military contribution internationally is facing more questions about potential conflicts with the nation’s pacifist Constitution. Opposition lawmakers demanded answers from key Cabinet members at a hearing June 10, after three prominent constitution experts–including one chosen by Abe’s rul...
 

 

Japan, Philippines to talk about transfer of military goods

Japan and the Philippines agreed June 4 to start talks on transferring Japanese military hardware and technology to the Southeast Asian country trying to upgrade its defenses. Tokyo eased restrictions on exports of military equipment and technology last year as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to expand Japan’s military role abroad. Under a...
 
 

U.S., India move forward on joint military research projects

After several years of bureaucratic delays, the U.S. and India are moving ahead with two joint research projects for the military that officials hope will set the stage for greater defense cooperation in the years ahead. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar signed a defense agreement June 4, as part of...
 
 

Saudi Arabia becomes world’s biggest defense importer

Saudi Arabia has passed India to become the world’s biggest arms importer last year as concerns about Iran’s ambitions increase tensions in the Middle East. Saudi spending rose 54 percent to $6.5 billion last year, while India imported $5.8 billion, according to data released Sunday by IHS, a leading analyst of the global arms trade....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>