Given that engaging any foe out there with Limp Larry is rather worthless. Stuart Koehl has more:
one of the most common complaints made against the Bush administration's war policies is it's alleged "unilateralism," an unwillingness to bring in our allies or fight as a coalition. This view overlooks the participation of many countries alongside U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Granted, these are often small countries, with proportionally small contingents, but they are there, they share the risk, and sometimes they spill their blood as well.And repeat and repeat and repeat they will. Most of it comes from Europe for this simple reason: outside of the UK and France, they hardly have any forces with whom to express some magical non-unilateralism.
How can this be, when Western Europe has an economy as large as that of the United States, and a combined military establishment of more than 1.7 million troops? Well, as shown in British defense analyst Julian Lindley-French's highly perceptive study for the Bertelsmann Foundation, this impressive force is largely hollow: "There are 1.7 million Europeans in uniform, but only 170,000 soldiers, of which 40-50,000 could be used for robust combat operations at any one time." Lindley-French notes that a large proportion of those 40-50,000 combat-ready troops are either incapable of overseas deployment or already committed to various missions (and thus unavailable for deployment elsewhere). The net deployable combat-effective force generated by Europe may be as low as 25-30,000 men, the majority of which are resident in the British and French military.It seems to having nothing to do with an air of ‘pacisfism’ at all. The cause is neglect and ineptitude.
Today, all of Europe (excluding Russia) has a GDP of $16.17 trillion and spends only about $314 billion on defense--1.93 percent of combined GDP. In contrast, the United States has a GDP of $13.16 trillion, and spends $534 billon--4.06 percent--on defense. The global average for defense spending is 2.0 percent of GDP. Clearly, Europe has not been spending as much as it should on defense, being in effect a "free rider" benefiting from the security provided by the U.S. forces whose activities it regularly criticizes.AKA “Peacekeeping,” the one thing they seem to be able to fawn and blubber over, publicly admire, and would like to think “sets Europe apart” from the 5,6 billion mere plebeians that make up the rest of humanity.
Bad as this is, the situation is worse than it appears, because of the fragmentation and duplication of European defense spending. While in the United States it is considered scandalous that the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines have duplicative research and development (R&D), procurement, and logistic systems, in Europe every country has its own national defense policy supporting redundant R&D, procurement, command, administrative, and logistic establishments. Thus, for example, though Europe spends only about half of what the U.S. does on procurement, and only about a quarter as much on R&D, each European dollar spent buys a lot less capability, as a result of which, the pace of force modernization is much slower than it should be.
This is not helped by Europe maintaining a large and aging force structure intended to fight the Warsaw Pact on the North German Plain. Germany, France, Italy--all have hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery pieces of very limited utility in an age of low-intensity expeditionary warfare.
Nonetheless, in they begged America not to ‘go it alone’
For many critics of U.S. "unilateralism," there is an implicit assumption that the lack of allied participation in ongoing military efforts is due mainly to U.S. policies and the unfavorable European response to them. This begs the question of whether our European allies would be able to do much more than they are doing now, let alone respond to any unforeseen contingencies in the future, even if they were inclined to do so. The answer, to those who have examined the present state of the European defense establishment, increasingly seems to be "no": European armed forces are neither structured, nor equipped, nor trained to play a meaningful role in the scenarios most likely to challenge the security of the civilized world in the coming decades.So they will stick to doing what they do best when they aren’t twiddling their thumbs as massacres in Rwanda, Sudan, the former Yugoslavia, and countless other places in their neighborhood were going on: being critics.