The letter from Verhofstadt to Chirac and Blair...

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by GrandAdmiralPelleaon, Aug 22, 2002.

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  1. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
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    The Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt sent a letter to Chirac (France) and Blair (U.K.) urging them to work on the European Defence Army as too become less dependt on the U.S. Military forces. Chirac and Blair did not go into this suggestion, or in other words, ignored him. Even though I think this letter was pure hypocracy from Verhofstadt (seeing as he let's our own army fall behind so much it isn't funny. They only thing we can do internationally now is transport, compared to France and the U.K. we are far behind already, not too mention the USA.) I still think he has a point. Europe should invest more in it's defence forces. Right now most of the world doesn't take Europe seriously, even though they have good points they do not have the means too make it stick.

    I hope Verhofstadt thinks about investing in our army too instead of soley urging others to invest in theirs. And I'd like to remind him that our B-fast troops are not enough by a long shot.

    Your opinion?
  2. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    I agree with you.

    I'm always complaining that our army is insufficient to defend ourself.

    The reason that Chirac and Blair ignored Verhofstadt letter, which is not a smart thing to do they could at least reply saying several arguments why they shouldn't increase the army, but instead the relationships between France + UK and Belgium deteriote a little...

    As I said before the real reason is with the people . West-Europeans live in a time of peace (longest in Europe history if I'm not mistaken) and thus the people don't see a reason for a large army...

    The leaders know this. As long as we're not war crazy like most Americans. The military budget and our military force will simply not increase.



    There are other ways of course, making Military service compulsory for both male and female citiszens could help a lot.

    So when, not a matter of if but when, we go to war the only thing they have to do is give use a weapon because we're already have the basic training.

    Well that was my ?0,02 :p
  3. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    I agree as well. I do think it would be good if Western Europeans increase their defense spending, to better interact with the world.

    However, I do not see them ever becoming a legitimate counterbalence to the US in terms of military power. But, as an American, I would feel more that it was good our allies were stronger than it was bad America's power differential had shrunk.
  4. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Red, it does not say, "counterbalance" it says "less dependent". What does that mean? That we should be able to handle our own buisness. e.g. Bosnia, the fact that the USA can threaten to pull it's troops out to blackmail us. That shows how weak we've become. We do not need to be as strong as the USA. (IMO, the USA spends too much on the military, more then can be justified.) But we need to be strong enough to defend ourselfs and solve our own problems without having to run to America for military aid.
  5. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    I'd also like to see Europe increase their military spending as well as long as one nation beefing themselves up doesn't create mistrust and a minor arms race amongst other nations. Although I don't think the current mentality in Europe would make this be warmly recieved by the majority of the population. Still you should be able to defend yourself, if for no other reason than the US cannot be everywhere at once if for some unknown reason hostilities broke out everywhere. Far fetched but nothings impossible. Also as you say there's alot of problems in the regions, and the US can and will only commit to so many peace keeping operations and often the ones closest to you hit hardest to home.
  6. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    GAP, Bosnia is an excellent example. Good points.

    I'm sorry for assuming you were taking the 'counterbalence' angle, as the few (non-brit) Europeans I've heard strongly encourage military development have cited that reason. And, quite frankly, it is impossible.

    However, solid investing in defense can have good results. The ability to police and peacekeep in Europe, without dependence on an increasingly disconnected American foreign policy. Better resources for peacekeeping abroad, giving Europe more of a voice in how some issues are resolved; possibly even working in some areas Europe may feel America ignores.

    However, the caveat is that there is a LONG way to go before Europe would be able to project power outside of their continent, and an increase in the short term is unlikely to change this fact. The United States, for better or worse, is going to remain the only Western (or world) Power capable of bringing force to bear where it wants or is compelled.
  7. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Guys I just checked the figures of each European Union country total army personnel.

    (I assume with Europe we mean EU )

    I was shocked to see that Belgium cut almost 50% (perhaps it is 50%) off it's total army personnel

    I also calculated the total of the EU army personnel, so basicly I added each EU country's army personnel together in a total, countries like Sweden and Finland had a reserve force and/or an homeguard I did not add those to the total and I did not had any figures of Ireland.

    Now the total number is 1.196.450, the total US army personnel is 1.367.700

    Those numbers are quite close.

    So not only should we increase our military budget.
    Most EU countries should grow a backbone and send troops when needed and I'm not talking about countries like UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France (not sure about the last 2)

    I'm talking about the rest. If they had send troops during a conflict (Bosnia for example) then perhaps EU did not need the help of US

    Note: The total numbers were from 2001 figures meaning that the numbers are off...

    Again this is my ?0,02
  8. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    A more telling number is annual defense expenditures.

    The EU as a whole spends roughly 150 Billion Dollars a year on defense.

    The US spends roughly 300 Billion. This number is likely to increase in upcoming years.


    So, while manpower may be equivilent, there is a shortage of funds for EU nations for training, new weapons systems, R&D, etc. The disparity is quite large, and looking at manpower is inadaquate to measure this.
  9. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    If manpower showed how strong you were then China would probably be the most powerfull country in the world. And yes, we cut off too much of our Army Omega. That's why I think Verhofstadt is being a hypocrite. Belgium has invested almost soley in transport and medical units. While I applaud investing in these units, I also think we need a solid backbone, so we can also make a fist when needed. I doubt the enemy is going to run away at the sight of our C-130's and Seakings.
  10. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    You can waffle them back into the stone age with your C-130's ;)
  11. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    As long as we're not war crazy like most Americans

    Most Americans are not war crazy, DarthOmega, we just happen to have an administration at the moment that is.

    A greater than 50% majority voted for the other guy in the last presidential election, but because of the way our system is set up (not to mention a Supreme Court decision that was legally dubious in the EXTREME), Bush is now the leader.

    In a recent poll, american support for a strike against Iraq has dropped from 76% post 9/11 to about 53% today, and continues to fall. Many prominent figures in the administration have come out in opposition to such an action, especially in the face of worldwide animosity towards an Iraqi war.

    I should also point out that Bush has just authorized the largest increase in US defense spending since Reagan took office in 1981. I personally disagree with this decision, but until the next election, there isn't much I can do about it.

    Unfortunately...

    Peace,

    V-03
  12. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Red-Seven that funds is that the total EU gives to EU countries to pay for the military or is it the total of all the funds of each EU country together?

    If manpower showed how strong you were then China would probably be the most powerfull country in the world

    Well if the chines goverment forced all chinese male into service.
    I would guess that they could muster an army up what? 200 million men? (I know it sounds unrealistic, but it is around that number)
    So basicly they can be the most powerfull nation and you can win a war while not being advanced...
    Overwhelming your enemy with such high forces can be very effective.

    And yes, we cut off too much of our Army Omega.

    Don't need to be angry, I was just shocked to read it...

    C-130's and Seakings. Actually every EU country still uses C-130's, although I dunno what a seaking is...

    And basicly if I'm not mistaken US also still use the C-130 for refueling in air, I dunno if it's true could someone confirm on this?

    Note: I said the following thing

    so not only should we increase our military budget.

    The numbers I gave you were for my other argument about the backbone thing. So I'm for budget increase and EU countries should get a backbone.

    EDIT: I'm sorry Vaderize03 I will watch what I'm typing next one. (Basicly it's stereotype we have here of Americans)
    To be honest I'm glad that support for a strike is dropping
  13. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6

    Don't need to be angry, I was just shocked to read it...

    Did I come over angry? I was just agreeing with you. No anger there. Sorry if I gave that impression.

    C-130's and Seakings. Actually every EU country still uses C-130's, although I dunno what a seaking is...

    No, I mean our army specialises in that. Every major operation we contribute our C-130's for transport. Seakings are large helicopters, like this one.

    [image=http://users.skynet.be/sky38711/allfiles/workima/wk1.jpg]

    Search & Rescue.

    And basicly if I'm not mistaken US also still use the C-130 for refueling in air, I dunno if it's true could someone confirm on this?

    Jah, they still use them, I don't mean that they're outdated, but they are not war planes. They're transport planes. How many enemy soldiers are going to run away at the sight of a transport plane. "oh no! they might just bomb us with food!"

  14. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    The monetary figures I provided are the sum total of ALL national budgets within the EU.

    It would be unrealistic to expect that it is even possible for EU nations to spend the same % of their national budgets on defense as America. However, if all that is done is to preserve the status quo, the disparity will grow to enormous levels in the following decades.



    As for the rest of the post...no, manpower is too simplistic a measure of power. Power IS related to technology, though that is the least of the flaws in the analysis of China. A Sea King is a Helicoptor. C-130s are widely used in the USAF for a variety of roles, including a refueling varient, a gunship, but mostly transport. Stereotypes are dumb, and Vaderize's partisan allowance of yours was wrong. However, that's too in-depth and off-topic for this thread, anyway.

  15. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    "oh no! they might just bomb us with food!"

    lol, well, you never know ;)

    just an offshoot question what is the Belgium sign you see on air and naval vehicles.

    You know US has the star, Germany that cross (Kaizer cross dunno? )
  16. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    The picture I posted above is a Belgian Seaking. look at the sign on that one.

    Black dot Yellow circle, Red Circle. Colors of the Belgian flag.
  17. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    you know if we "war crazy people" listened to sterotypes we'd think all europeans are dirty hairy drunks with bad teeth. Something to ponder on.
  18. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    You're thinking of the British tenor, not the Europeans.

    French are frogs, Germans are Workaholics, Dutch are stoned. Belgians are something inbetween, and people in switzerland only eat fondue, wear shorts and jodel.
  19. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    ahha thanks I thought it was the french sign...

    Is there a site somewhere that shows those signs?

    Stereotypes are dumb, and Vaderize's partisan allowance of yours was wrong.

    Why was I wrong maybe because I don't want to start another flame war...

    Oh year about stereotypes are dumb but if you look at the figures I WAS right about it!

    you know if we "war crazy people" listened to sterotypes

    Actually some of you do listen to it. A month ago an American asked if Europeans used toilet paper [face_plain]

    So I think Americans listen to Europeans sterotypes more than Europeans to the Americans (and our sterotype of Americans has some fact in it)

  20. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    This is the French sign,

    [image=http://www.french-airforce-sig.org.uk/pix/mirage2000/01-167-2000D.jpg]

    I don't know if there's one site but just type in "French* Airforce" and you're bound to find a site with a few pictures.

    *if you're looking for the british sign type British instead of French. (I hope you figured that one out by yourself already ;) .)
  21. Lieutenant Tschel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 1999
    star 2
  22. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
  23. Obi Wan Bergkamp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 1998
    star 3
    In the British SAS & SBS Europe have the best fighting forces in the world (sorry marines and SEALS, but you know it's true).

    Take the Falklands conflict as an example. How much bigger than the UK is the US? During the conflict the US official policy was "If it comes to a choice we would have to intercede on behalf of the Argentinians" - the British response to this, in vernacular terms, was "come and have a go if you think you are hard enough" - and the US stayed out of it. That says it all really.
  24. Yodave27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2001
    star 4
    I hope the EU does build up it's military might. Any help that you can provide us is greatly appreciated. I'm still grateful for the patrolling your planes did over our country after 9-11.

    As for the US military, right before 9-11 it was probably at it's lowest point in years. The army that took down Iraq in a month is all but gone, thanks to Bill Clinton. Our troops were poorly paid and under-trained. Our equiptment was also getting quite outdated. This is one of the reasons why there is such a wait for our attack on Iraq.(For good or bad)

    EDIT: Wow, I'm surprised I missed the fact that Chirac ignored this letter. Maybe the French want to continue their long-standing policy of waiting for the last minute, then relying on Britain and the USA for help when their army fails. ;)
  25. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Red-Seven

    I wasn't trying to 'partisan-allow' anything, I was just making the point that not everybody in the US unilaterally supports Bush, and they don't.

    Arguing that we do does help perpetuate the stereotype of 'warmongering', because that's how Bush is coming across to a lot of nations outside our own at the moment.

    This is not politics, it is a fact of life. I'm not trying to flame, I just wanted to explain where I was coming from.

    Darth Omega-

    It's all good :D....by the way, does your name come from the Doctor Who character Omega?

    Peace,

    V-03
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