(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio)
12:00 AM, October 8, 2008
With the global financial crisis taking hold and governments on both sides of the Atlantic rushing to the aid of banks, analysts have forecast a potential long-term downsizing of military budgets in Europe and the US.>> The pressure that has been applied by the current crisis and uncertainty over whether the $700-billion US bailout scheme will in fact have a significantly remedying effect on the world's financial woes may make some military spending difficult to justify, the defense analysts, from London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Tuesday.>> "I can't see defense is going to escape any kind of austerity measures," said defense economist Mark Stoker from the London institute, as quoted by Reuters. "It would be very difficult for any government to justify cutting health and education in favour of, say, building two aircraft carriers and buying a load of planes to stick on them.">> Military spending budgets for Iraq and Afghanistan would likely escape any re-rationalization as a result of global financial strains, the analysts also said.>> "There wouldn't be an appetite to cut back on the pursuit of an important objective to the United States in the name of near-term economic gain," said Lieutenant-Colonel Nathan Freier of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, Reuters reported.>> Europe pushed into unity?>> And with hundreds of billions of euros being wielded by European states to prop up flailing financial institutions and with excess budgets a possible rarity in the short-term, EU countries may be pushed into tighter military union in an effort to avoid duplication of the 27-member bloc's limited resources.