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Scamp wrote:What have most of the European countries been doing, practicing surrender?

This is a very good question actually.

I am certain that military historians have approached this matter in the backdrop of the aftermath of WWII.

And of course it makes sense to grab it from there.

After WWII, western countries decommissioned the bulk of their militaries as they became outdated without however replenishing the ranks to maintain a similar level of readiness. The logic was that NATO or the US is sufficient and the US itself forced several European countries to take this view, so eventually political elites became accustomed to the privileges that the US umbrella provided. Namely the cost-factor, why pay for military units and upkeep when there is no need and especially so when that irks the US.

From this point of view, American demands for Europe to increase its military spending may sound somewhat hollow and hypocritical.

However, it does not sound very hollow if one considers the real dangers that have been threatening Europe and its periphery.

At least a decade has passed since the flare-up of several engagements across that periphery and most European countries have still been living in bliss and ignorance. But why such a massive reluctance to re-arm?

The answer lies at the obvious cost. A western soldier costs at least something like 50 times more money to arm and upkeep than their Russian counterpart and probably over 100 times more than their Chinese counterpart.

Fielding a 100-150k army, full complete has become a matter of multiple hundreds of billions, the only 3 countries in the EU that maintain such a complete army are France, Greece & Poland. France as a former great power to maintain its status, Greece due to the Turkish threat and Poland due to the Russian threat.

For everyone else maintaining such a cost & upkeep has no real benefit as they have nowhere to use it to justify that cost under the pretext of defense or with booty, resources or something else.

This paints a bleak picture for the future because for the military to justify its existence, these countries would either have to face existential threats or they would have to re-engage in neo-imperialism.

So where does that leave us?

In the EU there are now 2 main battlegroups, the Visegrad battle group led by Poland and the Balkan battlegroup led by Greece. These are currently small forces(2000-4000), but they are under the umbrella of the EU and they are collaborative exercises to establish interoperability among these militaries.

Personally, I do not see Portugal, Spain, Italy or Germany re-arming anytime soon and from this perspective, the only avenue for further European military integration and enhancement are essentially these 2 battlegroups. Something already recognized by Washington who is currently in the process of re-establishing its European NATO infrastructure. Coalescing units from Germany and western Europe to Poland and from Turkey and the M-E to Greece.

https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/11755 ... ndroupoli/
Great Post @noemon.

As an American, I don't get it. History shows that there are two kinds of countries. Those who prepare for war, and those who get conquered.
How long ago was WWII that Europe forgot what happened? Didn't they learn this lesson?
Do most Europeans think that the US will protect them if war comes to their country? Europe has to mostly buy US made weapons now days because they don't really even make many sophisticated modern deadly weapons. They leave that to us. ;)

While they have been acting like sheep, we have amassed a huge powerful military with deadly modern missiles and weapons.

As for fielding a 100-150k army... Shucks my state can pull that off with civilians. And we have our own rifles. 8)
The US cannot field a 150k army full complete abroad and have not fielded one since WWII, that is why you have retreated from all positions.

Even in Vietnam you were sending 40k max at any one time.

You have not mobilised a 150k army abroad for several decades.

Putin's 100k army is the largest army sighted on the field for several decades.

The US has been fielding 10-15k armies in the M-E and no more because it cannot afford anymore in active duty.

I think you misunderstood what I wrote above. All European countries have active reserves of about 1 million soldiers but they cannot field any more than 30-40k full complete in active duty.

The only countries that can field over 100k in active duty are a select few and the US has not been among them for a while.
Just for FYI.

US has about 1.3 Million active duty (not all trained for combat of course). About another 900k in reserve. Then you have the national guards of each state.

They typically say that during peace time, only about 1% of the military is combat ready at a moments notice (war time is around 10%).

0.01*1300000 = 13k. That's right in the middle of 10k-15k.

@noemon's assessment is about right. :eek:

That said, of the nations like Russia who can field 100k+ combat ready. The question also becomes how well trained and disciplined are they. Will Putin throw thousands upon thousands of soldier willy nilly at a dug in enemy like Stalin did?
Now days, The US is not interested in pouring infantry troops into a war until the enemy is subdued by our weapons. Strike them hard and send in the cleanup crew. 8)
As for my quote about each state being able to put up 100k troops, this is just the registered hunters who buy a hunting license to hunt deer, elk and all other game animals here. Our hunters aren't fighting in Europe.
They know basic geography. The invasion is at our southern border.
scamp wrote: History shows that there are two kinds of countries. Those who prepare for war, and those who get conquered.

This sort of banal observation is meaningless.

History shows there are two types of states. Those led by despotic kings and the republics conquered by them. :lol:

All historical trends are predictive until they're not.

There are plenty of states that buck the trend anyway. San Marino has never been a military power of any note or even capable to maintaining a strong military force. Hasn't been conquered, despite existing in a battlefield of empires for two thousand years. There simply is no existential military threat to countries like Belgium or Spain or Nicaragua or Oman that require these states to maintain expensive and useless militaries and one isn't going to spawn into existence overnight.

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