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Everything that Migeru outlined is true.
If I may however clarify re European Battlegroups (BGs): apart from the fact that a political decision was arrived at, i.e., to prevent duplicating NATO efforts, a recent report commissionned by the European Parliament asserts that a majority of the BGs are ill-equipped and ill-prepared to take on the wide range of missions for which they are
intended. This is the main reason why I think that for the time being Europe has no credible BGs along the lines of a simile NATO.
Anyway, it is unlikely that we will be having full-scale European Defence BGs for the reason Migeru advanced above -- just too much on the budget front for member nations.
All in all, must say I absolutely agree with Migeru: "It is not NATO that hinders the ability of Europeans to act indepedently, but the political determination of Europeans not to act independently."
Absolute rubbish that Europeans are military freeriders.
All defence acquisitions made by NATO or in defence research expenditures, EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF NATO has to put up defence money into the NATO kitty.
It is completely wrong to believe that the US on its own finances NATO military expenditures. Absolute rubbish! I repeat, every single member nation of NATO subsidizes every NATO project, militarily and politically!
If ever, I think US will need to raise its taxation policy just to beef up their war requirements particularly if Bush makes good his promise to do something about the Iran problem before he leaves office. Now, that will be seriously 'taxing!'
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