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About MiddleOfTheRoad

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    Among the thinking people

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    57 year old, white, Catholic, male
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    Between the double yellow lines...
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  1. Visiting friends is easy, sitting down with an adversary takes a little more. As far as exporting and supporting terror, Iran is no small player either and we afforded them better technology and an unenforceable deal for precluding development of nuclear weapons. The human rights argument is nonsense. We have always supported human rights, but that comes at a cost. Solving the human rights equation requires that the harmful forces in the equation be mitigated. The problem is that all sides in the ME violate human rights whenever their side has the power to do so; life in the ME is cheap. And along that line, Sunni/Shia is a bilateral condition. Any interjection of any external force affects the bilateral equation in an gross equal manner.
  2. So subtle, it wasn't there. Trump went to the home of three of the great faiths, each of which faces a unique challenge for and from the west. There was nothing random in the visits.
  3. You're not being honest karlydee2. They agreed to the 2% figure in 2006. In 2014, having failed to meet the 2% figure since 2006, they agreed at Wales to work toward the 2% number by 2024. I'm sure they really meant it in 2014.🙄
  4. Yeah, it couldn't possibly be that a sufficient number of folks did hear her and simply said "no thanks".
  5. If only she could have done that when it counted...
  6. There is no need to rethink my statement at all. That they joined in the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq is what expected of nations that seek to protect their own. I've often posted I would rather have the Brits on one side and the Aussies and Canadians when I go to war, but fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq is what is expected. You very confused. I posted that if we do not have to help defend Europe, if the European NATO members are so convinced of the calm conditions in Europe that they feel they don't have to meet their agreed upon levels of spending, then we should consider removing our troops and using them to secure against the rising threat in the South China Sea, (you know, where the Chinese built a military island over the last several years). By doing so, we do not have to increase military spending to meet defense obligations in both theaters; we would simply reassign current forces. Your MIC comment is a good bumper sticker but it's a simple minded argument and lends nothing to a real discussion. I agree with you that NATO spends its resources on social programs and infrastructure. As I explained above, and as you seem to agree, their funding priority is not their military. Great. We should do the same. We can do so by reducing our military commitments... Your last paragraph is indicative of your confusion. If they believe that they can and should spend their funding on social programs and infrastructure before they spend it on defense, that is a perfectly valid and supportable decision. I applaud them for it and I mean that; they are taking national advantage of other non-costed resources to meet thier internal needs. Again, a valid decision. That is telling me that they convinced there is no threat; they are closer to the Russian threat than are we and if they are comfortable, why would we not be comfortable in reducing our presence and our contribution as well. Based on their actions, one could reasonably conclude that the NATO of the COld War is no longer necessary and that perhaps revisiting that charter is appropriate. We are no more at risk as a result of being in NATO than we would be were we to magically leave NATO en masse tomorrow morning. Europe is more at risk certainly but they seem pretty confident that they will be fine. And Russia's ICBM capability poses an existential threat to the US whether we are in Europe or not in Europe. There is more of a conventional risk to us being in Europe than there is not being there, so even in a conventional scenario, we should leave.
  7. No requirement for compatible systems?? Do you want to enter today's battlefield with systems that don't communicate and electronically deconflict? I sure as hell don't.
  8. And spending 2% on defense without contributing to NATO would be fine, so long as they bought compatible systems. You know that compatibility of system is what lends the full range of capability to each system. A European system that can't "talk" to NATO systems will not be very effective.
  9. The 4,000 mile buffer zone exists whether or not NATO exists. The European states have their own interest in protecting themselves from aggression and that adds to the strength of the buffer zone, from the US perspective - but it is there regardless of whether NATO is active or not. What we learned in 1944 is that it is easier to assist the Europeans if we are already there, rather than have to sail that 3,000 miles to help then out. They can charge rent all they want; we just leave.
  10. Really? Now you're getting into defense by semantics. Come on, that's beneath you.
  11. and why is Aegis Ashore there....? I'll need to so some research on the weapon systems. Not sure I agree with your opinion on Apache v Tomahawk, but I will need to do some homework.
  12. Yes, you quoted the Wales Agreement - but for some reason you want to deny that the 2% requirement was in place 8 years before that and the NATO members did not live up to it. Not sure why you want to deny the sourcing document.
  13. I'm not sure where you get this stuff, but I would appreciate the source. Yes, the US commitment to NATO is performed in support of US interests - one of which is the defense of Europe. Our units are stationed in Poland as a direct result of that commitment. Your opinion on weapon systems would be an interesting discussion. Do you have some specific systems in mind?
  14. First, I think you misinterpret the 2014 Conference statement. NATO agreed in 2006 http://time.com/4680885/nato-defense-spending-budget-trump/ to spend 2% of GDP on defense; the 2014 announcement was in response to a US question about why they had not met that level of spending. They said, in 2014, essentially, that we promise to meet our 2006 commitment in another 10 years...18 years after the original promise. The Economist article, was statistically close to accurate, is also misinterpretation. Europe benefits from OUR blue water Navy in terms of access, trade and defense, not to mention the presence of the 6th Fleet. Europe benefits from our nuclear deterrent. Indeed, were that deterrent not present, the European stockpiles in the UK and France would be larger - and more expensive. Why should the anti-terrorism non-military LEO count toward defense? Should we count ours that way as well? If so, we can stop paying anything toward European defense. Should we count humanitarian aid as well, since the NATO partners do? If so, we are truly done spending a dime in Europe. The agreement was clear - 2% of GDP to defense. If they want to change that, there are mechanisms for doing so and they should take advantage of it, as should we.