- Europe’s Future Is as China’s Enemy
Looking ahead, the United States is going to focus primarily on China. Washington will want Europe to take charge of its own defense so that the United States can devote more resources to Asia, but it will also want to make sure that Europe’s economic dealings with China do not help Beijing compete more effectively with the United States. In particular, the United States will want Europe to deny China access to sophisticated technologies with military applications and equipment (such as the diesel-electric engines that currently propel some Chinese submarines) that could be used by the Chinese armed forces. For their part, NATO’s European members will want the United States to remain part of the alliance.
Presto—there’s your new trans-Atlantic bargain. The United States agrees to remain a formal member of NATO, though its overall military contribution will gradually decline and a European commander will eventually assume the role of supreme allied commander in Europe. In exchange, NATO’s European members agree to restrict Chinese access to advanced technology and to refrain from selling them goods that might have direct military applications. In short, it means recreating something akin to the old CoCom system that limited technology transfers to the Soviet Union.
I’m by no means convinced this idea would work and not even sure it would be desirable. The Cold War CoCom system was a source of considerable trans-Atlantic friction, and the new bargain would require convincing NATO’s European members to forgo some lucrative economic opportunities. For these and other reasons, I’ve previously maintained that NATO’s European members would be reluctant to help the United States balance against China and that this issue would eventually become a further source of rancor between the United States and its European partners. After all, China is a long way from Europe, and Sino-American competition will mostly play out in Asia, where Europe has little reason to get involved.
- U.S. Commander: Russian Modernization Efforts ‘Threaten to Erode’ U.S. Military Advantage in Europe
The top U.S. commander in Europe on Tuesday declared that American and NATO troops could not yet mount a credible deterrence against Russian aggression, noting that the Kremlin’s efforts to modernize its armed forces are eroding the United Sates’s military advantage in Europe.
Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) head and NATO’s supreme allied commander, identified a lack of manpower, naval capability shortfalls, and inadequate intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capacity as reasons why American and NATO troops are unable to handle the credible deterrence against Russian aggression.
- U.S. Commander Warns: No F-35s if Turkey Buys Russian S-400 Missiles
The United States should refuse to sell its high-tech F-35 warplane and other weapons systems to NATO ally Turkey if Ankara moves forward with the purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the head of U.S. European Command (EUCOM), suggested this week.
During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Scaparrotti, who also serves as NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, urged Turkey to reconsider its plan to purchase the S-400 system from the Kremlin this year or “forfeit” future sales of American military aircraft and systems.
Echoing other American and NATO officials who have advised against the purchase of the Russian weapons, the top U.S. general cautioned that the surface-to-air missile defense system would be present a threat to the F-35, noting that it is not compatible with other allied systems and would ultimately threaten security.
- U.S. Commander: ‘Violent Extremists Present a Clear and Present Threat’ to Europe
The risk of Islamic terrorism in Europe “remains high” despite a dramatic drop in fatalities from terrorist attacks last year, the top American commander in the region warned on Tuesday while European leaders grapple with the wave of battle-hardened jihadis returning home to the continent as the so-called Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) territorial caliphate collapses.