Trump to Make Allies Pay More to Host US Bases

On 3/15/2019 at 3:29 PM, Tomasz said:

You should check some facts

This year Russia will spend about  45-50  bilions $ on military budget.

USA in 2019 alone something about 750 bilions.

European Union members of NATO about 250 bilions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_Russian_Federation

Soviet_and_Russian_military_expenditures

USA has 800 foreign military bases

Russia only 2 or 3.

Russia is of course a poor country in comparison with the West in nominal gdp but lets check not only gdp but also debt to gdp.

We have a situation where russian debt to gdp is today about 10% and in last year it has 2,7 % of gdp budget surplus in 70 $ oil environment that is rather sustainable in near future.

https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/government-budget

https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/government-debt-to-gdp   - at the end of 2017

In fact during last year according to Putin statements to Duma (parlament) thanks to sanctions Russian reserves of 480 bilions  $ became higher that public and private external debt = 450 bilions $.

https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/external-debt

https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/foreign-exchange-reserves

Last year it also has about 200 bilions trade surplus  alone and about 130 bilions of current account surplus.

https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/balance-of-trade

https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/current-account

Lets asume thats rather a rock solid financial situation.

Dont forget about Nord Stream II Turkish Stream Power of Syberia and that Russia has Bazhenov field biggest shale oil field in the world - you can expect quite higher money flow in a futute. Just  from Power of Syberia and second gas pipeline to China (western route) = 68 bilions meters of gas flowing to China = something like 20 bilions $ per year maybe more.

https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-shale-kemp/column-the-big-one-russias-bazhenov-shale-kemp-idUSL6N0PR1OP20140716

At the same time a lot of western states although of course much more wealthy has a debt about 80- 100 % of gdp or even more and still counting fast especially in US -  this year a deficit of 1 trillion $..

In a situation that we know from history that global war is a great moment to reset your national debt to foreign collectors if  you win this war. And thats  for sure not a good situation when you want to collect your receivables peacyfully.

So tell me and you can check all my facts in net who is more desperate to start global war.

History shows us that only good economies can defend themselves against stronger economies. Overspending on the military is a waste when it bankrupts your country. America needs to totally revise our military strategy with an eye on saving money and making each dollar have a meaningful benefit. We are playing with old tactics that do not apply to modern realities of unconventional warfare including cyber warfare. Our intelligence services and homeland security are working more on defending against American citizens than against our real enemies. Maybe a better word than enemies is adversaries. 

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29 minutes ago, mthebold said:

The current geopolitical/economic situation benefits some Americans immensely.  In particular, it benefits the elites and their foreign friends.  The rest of us are greatly harmed by it. 

The elites will hang onto the current system as long as they can for their own benefit - not because it's good for America. 

The elites are obviously elitists and are globalists who consort with globalists around the world. The workers of the world are their pawns. They want to gather as many pawns as possible to benefit them. They do not care what the nationality or religion of the pawns are. The pawns need to defeat the elitists and gain the upper hand through politics or whatever means necessary. This does not mean they should pursue socialism, however! The answer is to modify corporatism so that it benefits everyone. I do not know how it should be modified, but the way we pay executives should be changed IMHO. Europeans pay their executives less than Americans do. That should be examined. 

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On 3/15/2019 at 1:06 PM, TXPower said:

I’m saying the answer to that question is less clear today than it was during the first Cold War.

There are many variables to consider and lenses the problem should be viewed through before that question should be answered.  

 

Russia is mainly a problem that Europe needs to solve. We are not there and they have a massive army. We can no longer foot the bill for their defense. We can remain an ally supplying technology, military training, advice, etc. We have the means of destroying massive armies, but not in a conventional war. The same applies to China and its Asian neighbors. We need to develop better cooperation with India, South Korea, and Japan etc. 

We are in an economic and technological battle with China. If they choose to make us enemies rather than cooperate fairly we need to stop buying goods from them and buy from others. We also need to strengthen our relationship with all of our neighbors to the south of us. China is aggressively pursuing power all over the world and we are forced to match them in critical areas around the world. 

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3 hours ago, mthebold said:

I suspect this is where Trump's 150% figure comes from: allies could pay that much for our bases and still come out ahead.  Either that, or Trump figures 150% is what they'd have to pay to match the economic benefits we'd receive by keeping our troops at home.  Trump's approach is that it's just business, and I'd say that's the right approach.  If a person can't tie their actions to a concrete benefit - usually financial - they're blowing smoke for their own gain. Trump gets that. 

We could double it and it is still a pittance compared to what they would be paying if they had to shoulder the burden themselves, which they really can't. They would be driven bankrupt engaging in an arms race.

One other important factor that I forgot to mention is that we secure shipping lanes for basically the entire world. So not only are we guaranteeing Europe’s physical security we are guaranteeing their freedom of trade. China is a long way from Europe with many trouble spots and potential adversaries in between. This contribution to our alliance needs to be taken into account.

In theory Germany has the economy, population, and know-how to build a respectable military that could represent a deterrent to Russia.

But she is a land power. Always has been. This deterrent wouldn’t last long if she couldn’t secure her shipping lanes to import resources and export products.

American Presidents (including someone as weak as Obama) have been saying for years that Europe (excluding UK) needed to increase their defense spending. The problem for Europe is we elected a President who actually is holding Europe accountable and they don't like it.

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3 hours ago, ronwagn said:

I love Canada and Canadians but think that their current leadership is sorely lacking in common sense. I think that will change in coming elections but if it does not Canada will kill it's economy IMHO. At least it will be a far less successful country than it could be. 

I feel the same. They're going through their Obama phase.

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3 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Peace is a mental and spiritual concept. Cooperation is a better term to use for nations getting along with each other. Being nice is fine, but one can try to appear nice while getting ready to stab you. Cooperation is an ongoing process with mutual benefits.

Good point. It still requires a credible threat or cooperation quickly turns into extortion.

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On 3/15/2019 at 11:22 PM, thor said:

@TXPower 

What I was getting at, in short is this: The current geopolitical/economic set up of the world benefits the US immensely, more than any other country. Hence our military presence all over the world, to support that set up and our interests. We're not in Europe to support Europe's interests. We're in Europe to support our interests. If this wasn't the case we wouldn't be there.

Yes sir, I understand how we got there and how and why we have stayed in Europe.  I partly agree.  What I am suggesting is that we need to re-evaluate and calculate more carefully.

We have somewhere on the order of 800 bases of one size or another in 160 countries.  The cost of equipping maintaining and manning these is immense.  The estimates vary depending on who is asked but the low number is $156b annually.  It’s likely much higher.

Each of these bases allows us to project power, reassure the safety of our allies and frenemies, mobilize quickly to aggression; all while passively reminding our foes that we can quickly and effectively respond from their neighborhood.  Valuable all.

Moving tanks, APC’s, MRAP’s, material, munitions, equipment and personnel to a forward base in theatre before a problem arises makes it easier, cheaper and quicker to respond in the field when necessary to do so no doubt.  But the ongoing costs is huge.  Arguably we can deploy quickly and effectively from home when needed and the cost on an as needed basis would be considerably less than maintaining all of our current bases across the world.

During the Cold War the purpose and thought behind our bases in Europe was in case the Soviet Union engaged a conventional attack to move further into Europe and occupy.  That has changed somewhat.  The Ukraine example notwithstanding.

The advancement of military weapons has changed things.  Russia and China increasingly are building, modifying and perfecting guided missiles, cruise missiles, tactical nukes, hypersonic missiles, stealth and area denial technologies. They can effectively deliver them from air, land and sea.   Not to mention even more non conventional weapons which we suspect but have not independently confirmed their possession of yet such as tactical EMP’s that if successfully detonated above us would fry our vulnerable electric grid and unhardened electronics.  Effectively destroying those things we have come to absolutely depend on for life.  A real gamechanger.  The point is, forward bases in Europe no longer secure our home land from would be aggressors who in many ways have closed or are closing the gap on military technology and can bring to bear advanced weapons from a very long way away or just off-shore.

If Europe could and were willing to pay the real cost of our military bases, equipment and personnel there I would have no argument.  It would make perfect sense.  Because they cannot and likely would not.  I think at least as far as Europe is concerned, we need to consider a major reduction, realignment of cost sharing or departure. 

Europe can and likely should build their own militaries made up of their own personnel and equip them to be able to repel any aggressor.  We can still sell them advanced weaponry, unless they want to develop their own and we can advise and train with them periodically.  As pointed out by @mthebold we already guarantee the safety of European goods in the world shipping lanes because we are there guaranteeing the safety our own.  They wouldn’t need to develop blue water navy’s.  It wouldn’t make sense for some of them anyway for obvious reasons.  

Our bases in Asia is a different matter altogether.  China’s slow march toward a true blue water navy, their activities in the South China Sea, the Spratly’s and Paracels is disturbing and clearly designed to posture China in the worlds richest shipping lanes.  The emerging threat therein necessitates forward bases anywhere in the region we can manage to plant our offensive and defensive abilities.

I will refrain from discussing our bases in the mid-east except to say we seem to prop up some bad actors there who act in ways inconsistent with what we say we stand for and believe.  I don’t want to sound childish or oversimplify but damn......I guess that’s the cost of forward bases in that region and acces to cheaper oil with proven reserves.  I don’t like it.  If we ever do evolve to renewables to point that oil is obsolete, those countries are in for a rude awakening and likely will eat one another.

Moving forward, reducing the number of bases and personnel we have across the world would save us money.  Money we could use to continue development of defensive and offensive weapons systems necessary to protect America from all foes.  While also freeing up money for other needs here in the homeland.

 

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5 hours ago, TXPower said:

Yes sir, I understand how we got there and how and why we have stayed in Europe.  I partly agree.  What I am suggesting is that we need to re-evaluate and calculate more carefully.

Fair point. And honestly some part of Europe does need to wake up and smell the coffee. What is funny though is that the organization that could lead to stronger a Europe with better defense capabillities which would lower US costs for European military bases is routinely ridiculed on this forum... it is of course the EU. 

BTW I agree on the cost benefit analysis, but I believe that what @thor was getting at is that if America retreats to fortress America it would be the end of the dollar as world currency which would truly wreck havoc on the US economy. 

I think I am starting to understand (from friends) why Trump was elected. And if I try to look past the nutter tweeting and rhetoric I can see some issues that does need addressing. I just think Trump could truly MAGA if he would heed Theodore Roosevelt words : Speak softly .....  

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(edited)

6 hours ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

Fair point. And honestly some part of Europe does need to wake up and smell the coffee. What is funny though is that the organization that could lead to stronger a Europe with better defense capabillities which would lower US costs for European military bases is routinely ridiculed on this forum... it is of course the EU. 

BTW I agree on the cost benefit analysis, but I believe that what @thor was getting at is that if America retreats to fortress America it would be the end of the dollar as world currency which would truly wreck havoc on the US economy. 

I think I am starting to understand (from friends) why Trump was elected. And if I try to look past the nutter tweeting and rhetoric I can see some issues that does need addressing. I just think Trump could truly MAGA if he would heed Theodore Roosevelt words : Speak softly .....  

The EU is free to militarize.  They will need to begin to walk together before they can run.

As to being the end of the dollar.  I doubt it.  It would take the EU or any other would-be guarantor of safety many years and billions of dollars to develop a blue water navy alone capable of doing what I already pointed out we do, keep the shipping lanes open, safe and free.

Trump does say a lot on Twitter, much of it I don’t agree with.  Social Media is a free tool for a showman, which is one of the reasons why he won by spending significantly less than his competitors on campaigning.  

Lets be honest though, to coin another old phrase, “sticks and stones my brake my bones but words will never hurt me”.  It’s not words his detractors here and the rest of the world are truly worried with, it’s his actions.  MAGA necessarily means it will cost the rest of the world something.

I’m glad you bring up Teddy Roosevelt, his big stick diplomacy was and is a better way forward for us.  But remember it was Teddy who sent the naval fleet abroad to demonstrate our abilities and ensure the safety of our holdings in Guam, Philippines and the pacific in general, which we had acquired from the Spanish American War.  I submit we have continued to do the same ever since guaranteeing the safety of a whole lot of other countries interest at the same time.

Edited by TXPower

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All American allies should jump at this opportunity and let the American mercenaries go home. It is about time that these countries take care of their own security.

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(edited)

1 hour ago, TXPower said:

The EU is free to militarize.  They will need to begin to walk together before they can run.

As to being the end of the dollar.  I doubt it.  It would take the EU or any other would-be guarantor of safety many years and billions of dollars to develop a blue water navy alone capable of doing what I already pointed out we do, keep the shipping lanes open, safe and free.

 

I agree that building up a military force to match the American would not happen over nigth. And Honestly I don't think europeans will really wake up and smell the coffee untill there is some sort of withdrawal. 

Wrt the navy capabillities - I actually think that in terms of defensive capabillities that Europe is NOT completely incapable. Where they lack is offensive capabilllity (i.e. aircraft carriers). 

Wrt to the dollar - I don't think that the threat comes from Europe, but rather somewhere in Asia. 

Edited by Rasmus Jorgensen
added NOT

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33 minutes ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I agree that building up a military force to match the American would not happen over nigth. And Honestly I don't think europeans will really wake up and smell the coffee untill there is some sort of withdrawal. 

Wrt the navy capabillities - I actually think that in terms of defensive capabillities that Europe is completely incapable. Where they lack is offensive capabilllity (i.e. aircraft carriers). 

Wrt to the dollar - I don't think that the threat comes from Europe, but rather somewhere in Asia. 

Indeed, which is the basis of a little known MAGA tenant, tariffs on Chinese goods for being dumped in our market and manipulation of their currency.  As I said, for MAGA to be successful, it will necessarily cost other nations.  It already has. Chief among them China.      

For China to supplant the US Dollar is going to take a lot of work and convincing the rest of the world.  I don’t see many nations beyond Asia buying into the yuan as the major exchange currency and China as the ultimate securer of free trade for the world.  I freely admit I could be wrong.

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On 3/14/2019 at 12:39 PM, shadowkin said:

This is disingenuous. The Poles for one are rabidly anti-Russian.

As if on cue...this month the US recently declared fully operational a drone detachment based out of Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland. The US also this month has reached agreement with Poland to build a US Air Force base. Expected in 2-3 years. Poland will pay $2 billion to defer costs.

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18 hours ago, shadowkin said:

As if on cue...this month the US recently declared fully operational a drone detachment based out of Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland. The US also this month has reached agreement with Poland to build a US Air Force base. Expected in 2-3 years. Poland will pay $2 billion to defer costs.

The Poles feel threatened by Russia so they call the US for help.

Then, the Russians feel threatened by the new US bases built closer to the Russian borders and they will increase their own defenses....

I don't think this kind of escalation is leading us in the right direction....

 

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On 3/11/2019 at 12:47 AM, shadowkin said:

A good opportunity for who? Russia? Germany is the last country that wants to see the US military leave. Germany is a sovereign nation and if they asked us leave we would. Have they done so? No.

Reason? They would have no choice but to increase their defense spending by, at minimum, tens of billions of dollars annually and they would have to pay the price in blood of their own people.

So the days of standing behind the US defense umbrella that allowed them to happily pour the majority of their resources into products to export to the world would be gone.  Their social welfare system would take a hit as well.

Why isnt the US leaving if it's such a bad deal? Reason? Because they need their military bases to have wordwide influence. ( "US empire" )

 

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Welcome to the Warmonger Community,....

Which enemy should Europe fear? Russia? The Russian army is powerful, but lacks conventional modern weapon systems. Any other enemies... hmm... lets think about it... nope. The Nato in its current form and with this completely insane budget is not needed anymore.

Which enemies does the US fear, that they need such a high spending on military? What about reducing this amount and make America great again, by building schools, (cheap/free) universities, national healthcare, ... so much to it could be used better. But hey... lets build an army which has no real enemy.

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(edited)

4 hours ago, ActionXJackson said:

Why isnt the US leaving if it's such a bad deal? Reason? Because they need their military bases to have wordwide influence. ( "US empire" )

 

If you read the thread you’d have your answer. TLDR: there are vested interests on both sides that benefit from the status quo. I think if Trump could wave a wand he’d pull out of NATO and create a security architecture for this century and would include a core of European countries like the UK, Poland and some others.

I think it makes more sense to build a military city in the southern part of Saudi and relocate the lion’s share of our military assets in Europe there. Saudi is much closer to the hot spots most of which are in the ME. The Saudis would kick in more money to pay for it, we wouldn't have to worry about environmental regulations and a host of other things. With our presence there their security is guaranteed.

This would better position us to protect shipping through the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and their approaches. It would also better position us to close these shipping lanes from China to Europe, cut off her oil supply from the ME, and allow a closer approach to Chinese military assets in Sri Lanka from a second direction in the event of a conflict with her. There’s a reason China built a naval base in Djibouti. They know this is a threat. 

 

Edited by shadowkin

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(edited)

On 3/16/2019 at 3:35 AM, John Foote said:

 

And again it will be down to the Russians to save Europe and the rest of the world if the Germans have any military plans to take over the world. 

Edited by Romka
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1 hour ago, Romka said:

And again it will be down to the Russians to save Europe and the rest of the world if the Germans have any military plans to take over the world. 

Revisionist history of course. Russians (Soviets) conspired with Nazis to carve up Europe. Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ring a bell? BTW USSR could have never fought a war on 2 fronts like US did against 2 major powers with one being largely naval and won.

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On ‎3‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 7:02 PM, Tomasz said:

Russia is an aggressive imperial country and it has always been, which is why it has now 17 million square kilometers and started from very small territory in XIV century. It took her more than 500 years to collect all russian lands and its very well known process in global history.

The very green colour is the fatherland of Moscow empire in XIII century= quite small one

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duchy_of_Moscow#/media/File:Muscovy_1390_1525.png

 

It seems like many Russians like to leave out the fact that their history started with the Kievan Rus empire located in present day Kyiv, Ukraine in the 9th century. 

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On 3/18/2019 at 12:44 AM, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

What is funny though is that the organization that could lead to stronger a Europe with better defense capabillities which would lower US costs for European military bases is routinely ridiculed on this forum... it is of course the EU.

The reason the EU is ridiculed is because any EU army would be duplicating what NATO is doing, but on a smaller scale. Germany can’t even get enough Germans to join their military now so how could they support both NATO and an EU army? It’s a waste of manpower and money and in all likelihood would simply be a make work scheme for France and Germany.

It’s not a secret that the true motivation for an EU army is France wants to play superpower and for that they need Germany, and Germany wants to appease the French somewhat so they pay lip service to the idea. The French have a limited appetite for combat. The Germans virtually none. This does not make for a military with a credible deterrent when your adversaries know this beforehand.

On 3/18/2019 at 12:44 AM, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I just think Trump could truly MAGA if he would heed Theodore Roosevelt words : Speak softly .....

Speaking softly may work with Europeans. Perhaps he could be more diplomatic there or work behind the scenes. It does not work with middle eastern people. They understand violence and intimidation. Israel tried for decades to tell the Europeans this but they didn’t listen. Now they are learning the hard way.

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3 hours ago, shadowkin said:

It’s not a secret that the true motivation for an EU army is France wants to play superpower and for that they need Germany, and Germany wants to appease the French somewhat so they pay lip service to the idea. The French have a limited appetite for combat. The Germans virtually none. This does not make for a military with a credible deterrent when your adversaries know this beforehand.

I wish the entire world had little appetite for combat. 

My point was simply - Trump seems to be more about headlines than actually creating results. That does not mean that the underlying ideas are all bad. It doesn't even mean that there is a better alternative. I just call bullshit when I see it. We have politicians like that here too so this is no way an attack. Just an attempt to provide perspective to achieve moderation. 

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(edited)

7 hours ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I wish the entire world had little appetite for combat.

When has this ever been true?

7 hours ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

My point was simply - Trump seems to be more about headlines than actually creating results.

These are your feelings. 

On trade alone he's been successful. If you Europeans think a Democratic president will go easy on you, you're mistaken. Democrats are historically the party that like tariffs. Pelosi was actually criticizing Trump because his tariffs on China didn't go far enough! Trump has set a precedent. The Chinese are smart enough to know the trade wars are here to stay.

On defense too you will find no relief. Democrats want to cut defense spending. If they succeed Europe is very likely to bear the brunt. No Soviet Union and several wealthy countries who can pay for their own defense.

Edited by shadowkin

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3 minutes ago, shadowkin said:

When has this ever been true?

These are your feelings. 

On trade alone he's been successful. If you Europeans think a Democratic president will go easy on you, you're mistaken. Democrats are historically the party that like tariffs. Pelosi was actually criticizing Trump because his tariffs on China didn't go far enough! Trump has set a precedent. The Chinese are smart enough to know the trade wars are here to stay.

On defense too you will find no relief. Democrats want to cut defense spending. If they succeed Europe is very likely to bear the brunt. No Soviet Union and several wealthy countries who can pay for their own defense.

Let's end it here. I doubt we will agree. And I actually promised myself to avoid these discussions. Let's catch up in 10 years time and see who was rigth. 

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3 hours ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

Let's end it here. I doubt we will agree. And I actually promised myself to avoid these discussions. Let's catch up in 10 years time and see who was rigth. 

Wait 10 years? For? You've already been proven wrong. The EU's largest and most important economy, Germany, barely escaped falling into recession last year. Meanwhile the US grew at a 3% clip and we have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.

You probably thought Trump wouldn't get elected. You probably still think he'll be impeached and you probably think he won't win reelection. You Europeans are holding on for dear life. That's not a strategy.

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