Cut Europe Adrift.

A Washington Post opinion piece by George Will, “Libya and the Potemkin Alliance,” began as a criticism of the refusal of the Obama Administration to abide by the War Powers Resolution with regard to their action in Libya. He then went a lot further in criticizing, not only the war but the lack of judgment in the US policy of propping up Europe militarily when Europe seems to have little desire to accept responsibility itself for its own defense.

When, in March, Obama said, “building this international coalition has been so important,” he meant merely that a minority of the members of a 62-year-old alliance would seriously participate. Eight of NATO’s 28 members are attacking Gaddafi’s ground forces.

Obama, a novel kind of commander in chief, explained in passive syntax that, “it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions.” These “others” would rather finance their welfare states than their militaries, so they cannot wage war for 10 weeks without U.S. munitions and other assets.

Last month, this column noted that NATO was created in 1949 to protect Western Europe from the Soviet army; it could long ago have unfurled the “Mission Accomplished” banner; it has now become an instrument of mischief, and when the Libyan misadventure is finished, America should debate whether NATO also should be finished. …

… Hence Gates warned that “there will be dwindling appetite and patience in” America for expending “increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.” Already, U.S. officers in Afghanistan sometimes refer to the NATO command there — officially, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) — as “I Saw Americans Fighting.”

While there may be some legitimate reasons to have a strategic presence in various parts of the world to protect American interests or to assist allies, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the US is being left to look after the security of the entire free world. Europe is happy to leave it to stupid while they spend on welfare, bread and circuses rather than its own security.

The Libyan action is illogical in any case, even for Europe to be involved in. While the whole world was concerned about the real probability of a massacre by Guddafi’s forces, the intervention was launched when the Arab League called for it. This creates the ridiculous situation where the regional powers, some of which are among the wealthiest and best armed in the world, are able to be onlookers while someone else goes to the aid of their fellow Arabs.

In any case there is little benefit to be had by the US in supporting over a hundred thousand troops and masses of expensive equipment for the defense of Europeans, and this action appears to be counterproductive. Rather than use the US willingness to help hold back the threat of invasion by the USSR to rebuild their defensive capability, European countries have wound back their capability while using the resources thus freed to engage in an orgy of welfarism resulting in them being not worth the effort.

It is probably time for the US to give Europe a few years to get its act together, and then pull out.

10 thoughts on “Cut Europe Adrift.

  1. What’s this crap about giving them a few years? The US should withdrawn immediately from defending Europe. Policing the world does not make America safer. And military welfare does not make Europe strong.

  2. I have little sympathy for them either, but it would be fair to make a substantial reduction to let them know it is serious, followed by a gradual withdrawal allowing them too take up the slack.

    Other than allowing time, there is no reason to molly coddle these pricks any longer.

  3. When you consider the troubles of Europe financially, with Greece in a real mess, you have to consider that it might need at least 2 to 3 years to get its’ own house in order, if it can. Of course, the US also has financial troubles of it’s own. I wonder if that means they’ll all come here for cash, since we’re now being talked about as the wonder nation?

  4. Greece should be cut adrift. Let them sort out their own debt problems. Via default if need be.

  5. The whole premise of this post is incorrect. The action in Libya is not based on defence, but on protecting Libyan civilians from its military (with the subtext of continuing regime change in the Arab world). Thus whether or not the Europeans are pulling their weight cannot be judged on whether they are taking responsibility for their own defence.

    On that front, most of the western world is happy to let America provide their defence, including Australia. The US regularly criticises us and others for not pulling our weight. What we and many others do is assume America will come to our aid if attacked. New Zealand goes even further and leaves its defence to Australia first, and America second.

    You can definitely criticise what the Europeans (and Australians etc) do with the money they save, but it’s a bit unrealistic to criticise them for dodging military expenditure. Unless there’s a war, the ROI is zero.

    It’s also hypocritical to criticise America for accepting (reluctantly) its role as world peace-keeper (and occasional enforcer). If it didn’t do it, we’d have to spend three times as much on our military. I’m hoping America doesn’t screw up its economy too much, because we’re likely to need them when the Chinese start muscling up.

  6. If there is no war then it could be argued that defense has delivered a high ROI. Unless you assume that the absents of war is unrelated to the presence of a defense force.

  7. Yep, the primary purpose of a defense force is preventing there from being a war. It’s secondary purpose is dealing with the messes caused by screwing up the first.

    Of course David Leyonhyelm is right to point out that Australia is just as guilty of this as Europe. Both the European Union as a whole and Australia spend a bit over 1.5% of their GDP on the military, while the US spends about 4.5% of GDP. This would mean to bring us up to the US levels we’d have to get an extra $40-$50 billion from some-where.

    Of course we could try and set up a large militia (Israel for example spends about 3/4 of Australia’s Military budget, and has a military about 7 times larger, and has been in several successful wars; they also have a much larger air-force, many more tanks and artillery, though a smaller navy). I don’t think this is politically tenable though, but I do think it could work if we could get the political support. (Something as simple and as cheap as making it easy to own militarily useful weapons would probably net us a several hundred thousand strong militia within a few years)

  8. NATO was created because of a common enemy, the USSR. It has had no real purpose since it fell apart. Although, the way Putin is going, perhaps we shouldn’t speak too soon.

  9. Now you’ve done it, Dave!!! The Europeans have read your comments, and Greeks are rioting! It’s all your fault!!! I don’t know how you can live with yourself!

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