The United States, which had assured Iceland's defence for decades, stunned the country in March when it announced that it would be closing its bases on the island, withdrawing its F-15 fighters and thousands of servicemen in the space of just six months...It seems that the US military serves two purposes in Europe: a mercenary force and a syringe for the injection of American currency into local economies. Often the complaints of the Euros about American 'Empire' are only drowned by the wails of agony when we decide it's time to leave.
But Iceland was not likely to build its own army, (Prime Minister) Haarde argued.
"We have no military tradition, and I think it would be very difficult politically to get the public here interested in developing that kind of capability, and spending the required resources on it."
Mr Haarde remains focused on salvaging the best defence deal possible with the US.
However, it's fairly hard to make an argument that 6 decades after we defeated Germany we still need a garrison there, or in Iceland, where we never went to war but just moved in one happy morning in 1940.
Of course, the removal of Iceland's free defense ride probably should have been handled better by us: when we change a policy this significant to the interests of our allies, we probably ought to manage a little more than a phone call from some faceless State Department bureaucrat and a letter from the Ambassador - in that respect we've certainly earned our caddish reputation. On the other hand, it doesn't seem as though the Icelanders consider the service very valuable, since they have very little interest in doing it themselves. If the Icelanders don't care about defending themselves, why should that job fall to the American taxpayer?