The Decline Of Europe’s Military

February 21, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

In an article that should encourage pacifists and discourage military hardliners Gideon Rachman writes that Europe’s military appears to increasingly follow the model suggested by a Danish politician: replace the armed forces with a recorded message saying “we surrender”. Highlights include:

  • Due to the era of austerity European countries have cut their defense budgets by large percentages over the past half-decade.
  • But this is just one part of a longer term trend. Britain’s army is scheduled to shrink to its smallest size since the Napoleonic wars and France has less than half the submarines it had in 1990.
  • Yet Britain and France are still the big spenders. Most other European countries spend far less, and when they do, the money is usually spent on pensions or pay instead of military equipment.
  • 75% of Belgian military spending is devoted to its troops. One analyst notes that the Belgian military is better thought of as “an unusually well-armed pension fund”.
  • The US may yet prod them into spending more. America was reluctant to get involved in Libya – a war that Europeans led the charge for – and asked to be paid for American military services in Mali.
  • But Europe may not. In an era where the threat of land invasion has fallen and recent wars have made clear that terrorism can’t be fought by a conventional military, military spending might not matter anyway.

Rachman’s article is full of fascinating and humorous sentences. It’s an easy read and you can find it here, where he also talks about his overall take on the situation, why Europe can no longer rely on the American military, and some threats that Europe could potentially face.

Source: Financial Times

Via: Marginal Revolution