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De Maizière urges more military might in Europe

The Local · 4 Feb 2012, 14:47

Published: 04 Feb 2012 14:47 GMT+01:00

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"We have to be able to do more, and we have to be able to do more together," he said.

With a view to the withdrawal of US troops from Germany and Europe, de Maizière said the continent must assume military responsibility for its own security and for the broader region.

But in comments made ahead of the conference, the defence minister downplayed expectations that Germany could assume a leading role on that front. "Some years ago, simply debating that would have been breaching a taboo," de Maizière told German daily Die Welt.

The United States stressed trans-Atlantic ties during the conference on Saturday, saying Europe remains Washington's security "partner of first resort" despite a US strategic pivot to Asia, but urged Europe to pull its weight.

In a twin effort to reassure Europe about the historic US commitment to the continent, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta delivered carefully calibrated messages of support.

Hot foreign policy issues such as Iran, Afghanistan and Syria also loomed large over the Munich Security Conference, a gathering of world leaders, ministers and top brass.

In a speech at a roundtable talk with Panetta, Clinton pledged cooperative efforts for a united and secure Europe, mutual economic recovery, an "agile" security alliance, and a democratic Middle East along the Mediterranean.

The chief US diplomat also urged her European partners in the southern German city of Munich to work together in meeting "the opportunities that lie ahead" in the Asia-Pacific region.

"I've heard all the talk about where Europe fits into America's global outlook. I've heard some of the doubts expressed. But the reality couldn't be clearer: Europe is America's partner of first resort," she stressed.

Story continues below…

Forced to make tough choices in tight budgetary times, the United States is shifting its military priorities to Asia and the Middle East – even if it has pulled its troops out of Iraq and begins a drawdown in Afghanistan.

Reducing its military presence in Europe while tailoring it to future threats, Washington sees the looming strategic challenge in the Asia-Pacific as a newly powerful and assertive China rattles US allies in the region.

AFP/DPA/The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:43 February 4, 2012 by Celeon
Its not a a taboo anymore, but instead it is plainly rediculous to even debate that at the moment Mr. DeMaiziere. The money is better spent elsewhere.
02:26 February 5, 2012 by Barnel
Europe must build its military power so US has a strong ally now that Russia and China are flexing muscles

See articles on www.ariespost.com
10:32 February 5, 2012 by storymann
The forms of Government that EU and North America, Australia, New Zealand and other democratic nations offer is something that needs to be protected from Totalitarian type nation,. economically and militarily. The oceans need to be freely open for commerce.

The USA is no longer in a position to do that for every democratic nation. All nations that enjoy freedom's and basic human rights all have to pull their own weight.

By doing this they all have a bigger say in how this is accomplished.

It is time the USA relinquishes this role and shares it with it's democratic counterparts around the globe.
15:14 February 5, 2012 by Englishted
Sorry to disappoint you storymann but the E.U. is loosing it democracy at a alarming rate.

But I am thankful to all that the U.S.A. has done in defending liberty even if in resent times these not always been so black and white as it was in the past.

Where would Europe have been without the yanks in WW2 .
15:44 February 5, 2012 by storymann
Hopefully Englished ,this trend does not continue in Europe or America, we are at a point where unity amongst has never been more important since the 2nd world war.
16:46 February 5, 2012 by raandy
I like those shades the defense minister is wearing.

I agree that Europe needs to beef up it's defenses and speak as one continent. I think the USA will always defend Europe and vise versa but the Europeans have to come to grips with the fact the USA can no longer do it with out help. The Arab spring has not brought democracy to the region. The industrial nations are going to squabble over mineral rights and energy supplies all over the globe, leading to disagreements and possible military saber rattling. The Arctic is one such region.

The Chinese have and are presently spending billions to modernize their military to be in a position to argue from a point of strength and intimidation over the South China Sea.It¦#39;s clear, that China is making every effort to keep the South China Sea off limits for their nuclear strategy while constructing an underwater submarine base on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Concerns from seafaring nations such as the United States, Japan, Australia, and India over their interpretation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which they consider an arbitrary manner and they will not accept military activities by foreign vessels and overflights in these waters. This is the major reason for a military shift by the US to Asia.
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