For those of us who are dreaming of peace, the US future looks bright: Due to America’s new energy independence, we will no longer have to rely on the Middle East for our power needs, meaning we will no longer be starting–or fighting–new wars, with their inevitable tragic consequences.

And as our troops are getting ready to leave Iraq and Afghanistan, our European allies are realizing that they need to shoulder more of the Western defense burden (and this will certainly help our budget woes, as well). About $500 billion has been cut from planned US defense spending over the next 10 years.

One of the things that European countries are doing is combining forces in order to produce military airplanes that they can use in their own military arsenals, and perhaps eventually sell to the Pentagon as well, which will bring them needed jobs (while reducing US employment).

In the September 14th edition of the Financial Times, Alexander Nicoll writes, "Never an easy market for outsiders to penetrate, the US will become more competitive as budgets decline. American defense companies have been feeling the effects: over the past two years, Lockheed Martin has cut 26% of its executive-level personnel. A new wave of merger activity seems likely. All the more reason, then, for (European aircraft companies) to combine their efforts."

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