[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com]
Lightning paced thriller writer
of International Intrigue
National Bestselling Author

The Germans Are Upset
by Allan Topol, [IMAGE]2004


Photo Courtesy: Julie Zitin
[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com] Last week when President Bush announced the worldwide realignment of American troops, it was greeted with anguished outcries in one place. Not in the Pentagon, where officials were involved in drafting the plans. Not in the American press, although the anti-Bush writers took shots at some of the details, particularly the Korea shifts. But in Germany.

Both the German national government and local communities rose up with a single voice in opposition. They’re not concerned that they’ll be exposed to a military threat without the American shield. Rather their concern is economic.

Two United States Army divisions are and have been stationed near or along the old border between East and West Germany. They were the first line of defense against a western movement by the Soviet Union. Along with dependents and support personnel, the United States currently has a huge infrastructure in Germany.

This American presence, and particularly the bases with their personnel and dependents, pump badly needed money into the German economy, permitting local areas to thrive. Once tens of thousands of American troops leave, these communities may resemble American rust belt communities where manufacturing plants have closed.

Please forgive me for not shedding any tears for Germany. Our country and economy are already hard pressed economically with plenty of communities in the United States needing assistance. Why shouldn’t troops with their accompanying costs be removed from Germany as long as the Pentagon is convinced our military preparedness will even improve?

Some Germans have said their nation is being punished for not supporting the American war in Iraq. The facts are that this redeployment was on the drawing board at the Pentagon before the acrimonious debate between the United States and Britain on one side, and Germany and France on the other, which preceded the war in Iraq.

That said, why should President Bush have overrode Pentagon recommendations to help a nation which, along with France, has been a constant thorn in our side about Iraq. Their opposition to the war was in part economic. The Germans, along with the French, had done lots of business with Saddam’s government. They have outstanding debts which will never be collected. Isn’t that too bad.

Allies help and support each other. That’s what the word means.

Once we move past the German economic issue, the redeployment in Europe makes perfect sense. President Bush inherited a structure created by General Eisenhower that existed since the end of the Second World War to confront a Soviet enemy, which is no longer there. The plain fact is that the Cold War has ended. Even the Soviet Union has vanished.

With our military resources strained to the limit in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other Middle Eastern hot spots, we can’t afford the luxury of an expensive cultural exchange program. Moreover, military technology has radically changed in the last sixty years. Rapid deployment to different points in the world when trouble erupts is now state of the art. Precision guided munitions, which can be swiftly moved, not large armies in place, proved to be effective in the Iraqi war and are the way of the future—at least in the near term.

Even though North Korea still poses a threat to South Korea, the South Koreans have been less publicly vocal in expressing opposition to the United States’ troop deployment. South Korea has become a powerful industrialized nation in the last fifty years. It has a well equipped and trained army, which is now able to assume responsibility for its defense.

Moreover, there are new and different threats in the region which must be contemplated. For example, the risk that China may attempt to retake Taiwan militarily.

Whether the United States would respond militarily to China is an open question. However, one thing is clear: a huge American army hunkered down in South Korea is not the most effective way to deal with the threat. Rather the contemplated movement of heavy bombers to Guam and redeployment of an aircraft carrier from the Atlantic to the Pacific makes sense.

Then there is the terrorist threat to the United States in a post 9/11 world. Our own country is now at risk of being under attack. We must have increased military capability at home.

The world has changed a great deal in the last fifty to sixty years. It’s about time the President and the Pentagon recognized that fact.