The USA is scheduled to close a number of minor bases in western Europe, according to an article in RT, including Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. And this provokes some high octane speculation:
Here are the portions that concern today's installment of "high octane speculation":
"The US military announced Friday it was closing down 21 military facilities in half a dozen countries across Europe, a move the Pentagon said would trim $60 million in fat annually.
"The closures, however, will not affect US troop strength on the continent because they are comprised mostly of recreational and housing facilities at American and NATO military bases across Europe.
"According to the Defense Department, the facilities heading for closure include 'a skeet shooting range, a hotel and a golf course,' as well as 'some munitions storage facilities.'
"'This is about making sure we have the right footprint, the right posture, and frankly that we're spending taxpayer dollars the right way in Europe,' Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said at a press briefing Friday.
"The shutdowns are scheduled to occur in Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece, the United Kingdom, and Belgium, Kirby said, adding that 'more would follow.'"(Emphases in the original)
Now, a mere $60,000,000 in a defense budget of $640,000,000,000 is mere pocket change:
"In 2013, the United States spent on its global military machine $640 billion, which surpasses that of the next eight military powers (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India)."
So why all the fuss over closures of minor bases?
What I suspect may be taking place is this: there is serious popular blowback in Europe not only against American heavy-handedness in the Ukraine, but against the EU itself. And given the fact that both France and the UK are thermonuclear powers (and probably Germany too, in a quiet covert sort of way, as I have indicated in previous blogs), there really is no real defense need for those US bases in those countries. But with US reassurances to the nations of Eastern Europe - Romania, the Baltic States, and Poland - and the effort to mount pressure against Russia, we may be looking at the first phases of an American "pivot" to Eastern Europe. Already Poland has requested the presence of American troops in that country, and the USA has complied. In other words, we may be looking at the reemergence of an American version of the post-Versailles cordon sanitaire in Eastern Europe, with the opening of actual American military bases in those countries.
To put it in a nutshell, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK, are perfectly capably of defending themselves. Watch for those bases to be gradually downgraded if not completely closed, while US military commitments to Eastern Europe increase.
See you on the flip side....