The shift of U. S. troops from Europe to the Persian Gulf, 70,000 so far, is speeding the post-cold war drawdown of American NATO forces in Europe. NATO observers say the war is providing an emergency context for making the cutbacks with little debate. Otherwise, prolonged controversy over NATO's future had been expected to accompany more gradual U. S. withdrawals in coming years. Before the gulf crisis, the U. S. had 325,000 troops in Europe. But few of those sent to the gulf are likely to return.
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