Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Updated May 25, 2004 at 12:30 pm.

Larry (www.archpundit.com) nicely posted, today, the partial transcript of my interview with Jack Ryan (See blog, entry, below), and he commented, “Now, of all the hot button issues, a serious issue is missing from most interviews with Ryan. During the primary he called for a withdrawal of troops from Europe. General Borling called him on that and asked him how Ryan would then reorganize the force structure to support forward deployments, as I understand it. I think this would be a great question for the ambitious Mr. Ryan if he wants to radically restructure American military forces. Any takers? Jeff?"

Well, I will be happy to ask Jack Ryan about this when I get another opportunity. There were a number of such items on my list that we just could not cover in a half hour interview. Certainly, I can't speak for Jack (or Barack), but I think Archpundit may be a bit off in how he characterized Jack Ryan's statements from the Primary, as indeed was General Borling, from time to time. I don't think Jack called for a withdrawal of troops from Europe, at least not a complete one.

As we know, Generals are often fighting the last war. And, I think Jack suggested, simply, that 60 years after WWII, and almost 15 after the fall of the Soviet Union and with the degradation of much of the threat of Russia to Europe, perhaps it is time to re-allocate U. S. troops-- placing them closer [in terms of military preparedness] to some areas where the danger has increased (say, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran) and further away from some areas, e.g., Europe, where the danger has decreased.

Also, for those of our troops that stay in Europe, etc., Jack suggested that some of those countries, including those in NATO, that are now stronger economically than they were circa 1945, could pick up some of the economic costs of our troops [a more equitable sharing of the costs of a mutual defense]. I don't know that any of that presents great problems for forward deployments, and once the general policy is worked out, I am sure the military could provide some options consistent with the above. I think I know both Jack Ryan and Barack Obama reasonably well, having heard quite a bit from both during and before their respective primaries, and I would think the above could be more common ground for Barack and Jack-- but I can speak with more certainty after I get to ask them some more questions.

Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of "Public Affairs," can be reached at JBCG@aol.com