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A U.S. 'Exit Strategy' for Europe

Thursday, August 26, 2004; Page A22

Ronald D. Asmus of the German Marshall Fund of the United States criticized President Bush's decision to reduce U.S. troop levels in, among other places, Germany [op-ed, Aug. 18]. It would have been helpful to note that the German Marshall Fund is funded by the German government. His objections are hardly surprising given that Germany will take a major economic hit if the United States brings some of its troops home.

If, as Mr. Asmus said, our withdrawal of troops and resources "could lead to the demise of the United States' key alliances," they were never alliances in the first place. They were business arrangements.

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DAVID A. RIDENOUR

Vice President

National Center for Public Policy Research

Washington

Ronald D. Asmus blasted the administration for deciding to implement plans for reconfiguring deployment of U.S. forces overseas -- plans the Pentagon has been contemplating through three administrations. These are highly capable forces that are basically idle in Europe.

The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact no longer exist. In fact, Warsaw Pact nations have joined NATO. Britain, France, the Netherlands and Germany have reduced their defense spending and are planning more cuts. Do they know something we don't? Are we really supposed to continue subsidizing European security while they bank this peace dividend?

American forces have stood watch on Western Europe's parapets for half a century. What is our "exit strategy" anyway?

FRANK MYERS

Palmyra, Va.


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