When Congress complains about inadequate allied sharing of the burdens of the common defense, it often turns out that Congress is part of the problem. Let me cite two classic examples of how not to get more burden-sharing from our allies.
After three years of hard negotiating, Germany generously agreed that it would assign 93,000 German reservists to wartime support by the host nation of U.S. forces in Europe -- a major breakthrough as far as sharing the burden is concerned. Bonn would pay and train these soldiers and it would requisition for them in an emergency such civilian equipment as is available in Germany. The United States would pay for equipment not available from these German resources.
All in all, the Germans would pay roughly half the total five-year cost and the United States the other half. The Defense Department estimates that to provide the same capability with U.S. reserve or active forces would cost from 10 to 40 times as much. If this isn't equitable burden-sharing, I don't know what is.
But the Senate Appropriations Committee, in its wisdom, has cut out the $39 million requested for the first U.S. contribution, in part ostensibly because the specifics weren't firmed up but in reality because of the complaint that our allies are not contributing enough to NATO.
How's that for tortured reasoning? When the Defense Department does finally negotiate an agreement by which our most important NATO ally provides more to NATO, and for the first time in NATO history offers soldiers to support U.S. forces, Congress throws it out the window.
Moreover, Germany is one country that even Sen. Ted Stevens, chairman of the defense Approriations subcommittee, admits is pulling its own weight in NATO. Since Germany drafts its soldiers, it gets more men for the deutschmark than we do for the dollar. it also provides free of charge enormous real estate and facilities for our forces. In wartime, it would even provide the battlefields.
Unfortunately, those in Congress who beef about inadequate burden-sharing usually don't know the facts. If they want to target a country that doesn't pull its own weight by any measure, why not pick on Japan instead of Germany? Japan is the quintessential example of a country that selfishly under-contributes to the common defense. Its nine-tenths of 1 percent of GNP for defense is less than that of even Denmark or Canada.
Yet the Defense Department in its wisdom has just proposed to deploy a new wing of F16 fighter bombers to northern Japan. We will send some 3,500 more men as well.
No doubt there are sound military reasons for doing so, but I cannot think of anything less likely to encourage Japan to spend more on its own defense. Indeed, when I was in the Pentagon, I argued long and hard for a reduction in the U.S. commitment precisely to put the bee on Tokyo to do more.
Why not a Japanese F16 wing? Sen. Stevens should certainly look into this matter. At the least, he should ask the Japanese to fund the entire multi-billion dollar equipment as well as stationing costs of U.S. forces deployed forward for their own defense.