The United States expressed concern over cuts to defense budgets (FT)in Britain and other European countries under plans to rein in massive budget deficits and revive private enterprise. UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to unveil a plan next week to downsize state spending, including defense cuts of roughly one billion pounds. A 10 to 15 percent defense spending cut in Britain--which has Europe's strongest military and is the staunchest U.S. ally--would shrink its army by 20 percent and limit combat aircraft (Bloomberg)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the cuts threatened the strength of NATO, which requires members to spend 2 percent of national income on defense. "As nations deal with their economic problems, we must guard against the hollowing out of alliance military capability by spending reductions that cut too far into muscle," Gates said. British Foreign Secretary William Hague dismissed the concerns, saying Britain will remain a dependable U.S. ally. The country's overall planned cuts--which could shave off more than six hundred thousand public-sector jobs by 2015--would make it the most aggressive deficit-reducer among major economies, a stark contrast to the United States, where politicians have been unable to strike a compromise on deficit reductions (WSJ).
On STRATFOR, Marko Papic says perceptions of the "threat environment" that unifies NATO have weakened in the post-Cold War era, marking the beginning of the end for the alliance.
In the International Herald Tribune, Anders Fogh Rasmussen says NATO leaders, who meet next month in Lisbon, should support building a missile defense for Europe. "At a time of budgetary constraint, this is a lot of defense at an affordable price," he says.
This Council Special Report examines the future of NATOand what it must do to maintain relevant in today's strategic environment.