Both Foreign Affairs and CATO are writing on the issue of forward deployment of American military forces.
They are starting from the wrong place.
Deployment of military forces is driven by strategy, which is downstream of politics, serving a political goal.
Rather than discuss the best way, or where, to deploy forces, why not backup and discuss the goal? Once the goal is agreed upon, strategy follows.
What is the goal of deploying forces forward in Europe?
If it is to defend Europe, what are we asking those forces, and the American taxpayer to defend?
A) A continent that does not believe in its own future enough to populate it? Why?
B) A continent in which the only working-age people in 20 years will be illiterate muslims? Why?
C) A continent that has eschewed Western Civ – Free Speech, art, music, the Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, etc. Why?
NATO – forward deployment in Europe – also presupposes a specific opponent. Yet, if Putin falls, a resurgent islam will take over Russia from the south within a decade – at the outside. A Putin-led Russia is far better than the global chaos of a Putin-less Russia, yet our deployments are designed to thwart him from.. what? Colonizing europe before the illiterate muslims do? Why is that in our best interests?
And if we continue pushing on Russia, he may well decide that a new Sino-Russia entente is a good idea to deal with the continental problem of islam – and Russia could be driven into China’s lap to deal with the existential threat to civilization that is islam… So why would we deploy forward to support that?
If the West had political leaders, they’d sit and discuss the global threat that is islam and then define a strategy to oppose that, and THEN we could discuss deployment, forward and otherwise…
Or we could go with Ike’s MR strategy, use 1-2 tactical nukes appropriately, show the cost to those attacking Western Civ, probably resulting in fewer attacks immediately from opponents, making the world far safer, and DoD budgets far smaller… making a 5kt strike our “forward deployment” at far lower costs in men and materiel…
Discussion of deployment in absence of political goals is putting out the cart before the horse is even born.