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Defense budget: US spends too much and Europe spends too little?

Photograph by Sebastian Zwez For almost four decades the Munich Conference on Security Policy has been a unique informal forum for military issues with high-ranking representatives from many very different countries. This year Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld listed the many terrorist attacks before and after 9/11, compared the "war on terrorism" with the "Cold War" and appreciated that Chancellor Merkel labeled terrorism "the greatest challenge to our security in the 21st century."
Like most US politicians in recent years, Secretary Rumsfeld urged the continental European NATO members to contribute more ressources to defense:
It may be easier for all of us to use our scarce tax dollars to meet urgent needs we all have at home. But unless we invest in our defense and security, our homelands will be at risk. Today 3.7 percent of every American tax dollar goes toward our national defense and the defense of our friends and allies. Six of our 25 NATO allies spend 2 percent or more of their GDP on defense, but 19 Allies - 19 - do not even spend 2 percent.
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"America is addicted to oil"

At his State of the Union Address, President Bush promised "to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025", because "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world." Most experts and the NYT are skeptical:
President Richard M. Nixon promised in 1971 to make the United States self-sufficient in energy by 1980. President Jimmy Carter promised in 1979 that the nation would "never again use more foreign oil than we did in 1977." And Mr. Bush has called in each of his past four State of the Union addresses for a reduction in the dependence on foreign oil. Despite those promises in the past 35 years, United States dependence on oil imports is at a record level.
The good news is that OPEC got concerned by the president's speech. The US imports most of its oil from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. The European Union, however, is much more dependent on Middle East oil than the US is. A longer piece on energy dependence will be published in the Atlantic Review in the next few weeks. (Help is appreciated.)
President Bush also warned against the "false comfort of isolationism" and stressed his commitment to Iraq. Edit Copy has excellent press coverage of the State of the Union Address.

American soccer fans are most welcome for world cup

Millions of soccer fans scramble to secure accommodation for the world cup in June. Staying with friends was launched to provide affordable private accommodation. The German embassy in Washingon reports:
Germans are ready to roll out the red carpet for American soccer fans during this summer's World Cup, according to a new poll. Only soccer fans from Germany's southern neighbor Switzerland proved more popular guests in the survey, which asked Germans whom they would most like to rent a spare room to during the 32-team tournament.