‘Time to Pull Our Troops from Europe,’ Ohio Wesleyan Expert States

Sean Kay, Ph.D., Publishes New Commentary in Foreign Policy
Sean Kay

Sean Kay

DELAWARE, Ohio – “It is time for the United States to make clear to its European friends that it is their moment to assume lead responsibility for their security – and that the United States will help them,” foreign policy expert Sean Kay, Ph.D., writes in a new commentary published by Foreign Policy. “If there is any place in the world where the United States can hand over lead responsibility for security matters, it is in Europe – and the time is now.” 

In the June 18 commentary, “Time to Pull Our Troops from Europe,” Kay also offers four steps for President Barack Obama to take to strengthen Europe and help solve the Eurozone crisis.

“America’s European allies, collectively, have substantial capabilities; the problem is not how much they spend, but rather how they coordinate,” states Kay, a politics and government professor at Ohio Wesleyan University and author of “Global Security in the Twenty-First Century: The Quest for Power and the Search for Peace (second edition).”

“President Obama should change the incentives for America’s NATO allies to produce mutual gains across the Atlantic and strengthen the ties that bind America and Europe,” Kay continues. To accomplish this, he states, the president should:

  • Limit America’s NATO role to Article V collective defense.
  • Announce further reductions in America’s troop presence in Europe, especially U.S. Army forces. “By 2015, land forces will be about 30,000 troops – but these should drop close to zero.”
  • State clearly that the United States will help the allies build and sustain the capacity to fight a Libya-style war and a Balkans-style peace operation without American involvement.
  • Relocate U.S. European Command, EUCOM, to the United States. 

The Foreign Policy commentary is Kay’s second this month for the publication. On June 14, the outlet published online a commentary titled “Can Obama be a realist … even if he wanted to?

In the piece, Kay writes: “Even if he wants to shift the sails and embrace a new era of realist restraint, Obama might find this very difficult to do. He would be reversing 20 years of American foreign-policy priorities embraced by both political parties and now deeply entrenched in America’s national security establishment and budgets. It would, however, be in the national interest to lead the nation into a discussion of new national security priorities and embrace what most polling shows Americans already get – that there are limits to American power overseas and it is time to realign foreign-policy priorities.”

Kay also serves as director of international studies at Ohio Wesleyan, as a Mershon Associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University, and as a fellow in foreign policy and national security at the Eisenhower Institute in Washington, D.C. He is quoted frequently on international issues in outlets including The New York Times, Bloomberg News, CNN Fortune, The Atlantic, and RTE.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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