Here's the way this read in today's Washington Post:Agreed--twice."The Americans have the numbers of planes, and the Americans have the right equipment," said Francois Heisbourg, a military specialist at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris.Here's the way this should have read in today's Washington Post:"The Americans have the numbers of planes [because the European states neglected to buy them], and the Americans have the right equipment [because the Americans actually designed and then manufactured the right equipment]," said Francois Heisbourg, a military specialist at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris.The NATO coalition over Libya appears to be paying the price for the way in which the United States has subsidized European defense budgets since the end of the Second World War and especially since the end of the Cold War. The problem with being a free rider is that if you ever decide to you need to drive someplace yourself, you realize quickly that you no longer have the means to do so. Hopefully this intervention in Libya will convince European leaders to either stop talking so tough regarding military interventions or to re-invest in truly independent military capabilities.
P.S. The United States should be happy to continue to subsidize European defense spending, of course, as long as the European states in turn subsidize U.S. health care and education.
P.P.S. That A-10 that proved so useful? It was developed in the early 1970s, Europe. So you've had almost four decades to buy a few of them for yourself.
(via reader Warren)