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Saturday, August 21, 2004

What's behind the big US troop reshuffle

August 21, 2004
THE dispute surrounding President George W. Bush's decision to withdraw a relatively large number of American troops from Europe and Asia, unveiled in a speech this week, continues to reverberate.

Democratic Senator John Kerry, his presidential opponent, quickly denounced the move, and the usual array of armchair commentators has been wheeled out, some praising Mr Bush's choice as farsighted and others castigating it as unfortunate. Yet most of this is just electoral noise; regardless of who wins the White House this November, a realignment of the American military presence around the world remains inevitable.

The President's speech earlier this week was a surprise only to those who had not been following American military affairs too closely. It may be an unpleasant truth for Mr Kerry, but the re-evaluation of US bases was actually initiated by the administration of then president Bill Clinton, a fellow Democrat.

And for good reasons, because the US military posture harks back to the end of World War II and has little relevance to either the strategic priorities of today or the advances in defence technology. ... FR Reprint.


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