I have to look at all the years we spent defending Europe since 1945, and reflect in light of Brexit, we have got relatively little out of that investment. Meanwhile the French who did as little as they could to defend Europe when it seemingly mattered, are now the cornerstone of European politics. There is a lesson there I think.
In spite of de Gaulle's posturing, France was still a NATO member. There was a large and well equipped army and air force essentially on the German border ready to join in if needed, a strong navy, and a decent nuclear deterrent. IIRC, French defence spending was not far off the UK's.
Of curse, they were all cheese-eating surrender monkeys as they were in 1792-1815, 1870, 1914-18 and 1939-45 unlike those ever victorious Germans who won one out of three major wars they fought.
It was still a NATO member, and it still trained with West Germany alone on West German territory. However, it might had a large Army, but it was not to my mind better equipped than BAOR. Compared AMX30 to Chieftain and you see my point. Its force structure was all wrong, there was an obsession with having Divisions which amounted when you looked at it as little more than Brigades.
This is poor value compared to what NATO was getting out the UK at the time, which wasnt just a Corp headquarters and units in West Germany, we had 2 brigades assigned to operations on NATO's flanks, and up to 1981, we still provided a chunk of SACEUR's TNF capability with V bombers in the UK. Until the 1970's, we even had them within strike range of Crimea, based in Cyprus. What we got for all that, politically, has been distinctly second rate, compared to what the French got for little more than a lick and a promise. The French by contrast were doing everything we werent doing, investing in big carriers, spending time on out of area operations outside NATO. When we proposed doing that, the West Germans shit a brick.
Weighing it up, considering the foreign policy problems we have had in the 1970's and the 1980's, we would have got far more out of a well equipped navy with 2 or more large carriers, than we would basing all that in Europe. Alright, thats retrospective reasoning based on there NOT being a Third World War. But looking back on it, BAOR was a poor investment we never saw a return on. Never will now. And still the argument is, lets invest more in basing in Europe, lets put Europe first. Why? We did that since 1945, and I see absolutely no return or respect for any that we did.
Im all for working with NATO, but lets do it on the flanks, with seapower. Its far more to our capablities, and God Knows MOD is never going to fund more than a token Armoured Force now. We may as well take what we have and max it out, and be a little more French.