Europeans have been made uneasy this week by another issue in the US-European security relationship - Washington's dropping of Gen. Bernard Rogers as commander of NATO's European forces. In his record eight years in office, General Rogers has won the hearts of the Europeans as no commander has done since Dwight Eisenhower. This former Oxford scholar and decorated war hero is valued for his commitment to the Atlantic alliance and his willingness to speak out when he sees dangers to alliance cohesion and performance.
The most conspicuous example came after the Reykjavik summit, when the sudden vision of eliminating all nuclear missiles profoundly shocked the West Europeans. Rogers publicly expressed concern about the impact any agreement to eliminate long-range Euromissiles would have by removing NATO's potential retaliatory threat and leaving the Soviets with superiority in shorter-range Euromissiles. He also has staunchly defended the value to the US of keeping US soldiers in Europe.
Instead of appointing Rogers to another term, Washington yesterday named Gen. John Galvin as his successor. The Europeans are unenthusiastic about having a man come to Europe from the Panama command that runs what many of them consider a counterproductive support program for contras in Nicaragua.