The looming threat of sequestration is presenting the American national security community with a dilemma. Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has laid out what some of the consequences will be if Congress and the president cannot agree on a plan to rescind the automatic spending cuts that are set to go into effect next month: One of the two U.S. aircraft carrier groups deployed to the Persian Gulf region will be withdrawn; deployments to Latin America will be canceled; and the U.S. presence in Europe will be reduced. Panetta even warned that a diminished U.S. military presence overseas would, over time, run the risk of relegating the United States to second-class power status.
These arguments are primarily intended for domestic legislators, but they cannot help but have an impact on other governments as well. And how those governments choose to regard the possibility of American defense cuts could have serious implications for future U.S. grand strategy. ...
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