Wess Mitchell, director of research at The Center for European Policy Analysis, writes that the EU's largest states are more interested in avoiding a rupture with Moscow than in protecting the vital interests of the Union's eastern members. Therefore, the United States should announce its intention to transfer the entire Europe-based American military establishment to new locations in Central Europe. Read his Op-Ed for the Atlantic Community: "How America Should Respond to Resurgent Russia
One familiar commenter suggested:
We are in agreement about the need for the US to redeploy its forces in Europe. We are in disagreement as to the direction. You want them moved eastward and I want them to move west, as in to the United States. The US should withdraw from Europe until such time as the Europeans take their security seriously. They don't and have not for a long time. I am sure the members of the chocolate summit can devise a treaty which will make the Central European nations feel secure.
Here's part of Wess Mitchell's response:
I'm sympathetic to your view. However, I believe that if we were to withdraw our forces from Europe altogether, as for example Stephen Walt argues in a recent book, a future generation of U.S. leaders would have to send them right back. They can stay as a preventative or return as a corrective; either way, it is our fate to remain a European power.
That being the case, I'd rather stay. But if we're going to do that, let's use the forces we have there more wisely. As Ron Asmus points out in an oped in today's Wall Street Journal "NATO's Hour", we've resisted permanently redeploying U.S. military assets to the east in the period since the Cold War on the logic that this act of self-restraint would be seen as a confidence-building move in Moscow. As he points out, this logic no longer applies.
Is that still the case? Would US troops have to return to Europe as a corrective, if they do not stay as a preventative?
Endnote: Could someone please refresh my memory: Which US politician has famously declared that America is a "European Power"? I know that Richard Holbrooke wrote an essay with such a title in 1995, but he did not coin that term.
Related articles on this issue can be found in the sidebar feature "Tips from our Readers." For instance International Herald Tribune: "Poland's president criticized the way France and Germany have handled the crisis between Russia and Georgia, accusing them Saturday of being too soft on Moscow due to their commercial ties with Russia." Or The American Prospect: "The conflict between Georgia and Russia has reignited a long-standing debate over NATO expansion."