by John Hawkins | October 18, 2002 9:53 pm
Jonah Goldberg On ‘Why Europeans Don’t Want A Foreign Policy’: Jonah Goldberg popped off another great column today about what happens to nations that let their militaries atrophy. Here are a few excerpts from the column…
…”The point here is that the Europeans, the Japanese, and – to a somewhat lesser extent – the South Koreans argue for talking through their problems because, like a thick wad of food stamps burning a hole in their pockets, talk is pretty much the only currency they have to spend. For nearly five decades, Europe and Japan have been, in effect, living off the military credit card we gave them. We subsidized their defense and, money being fungible, they took their savings and poured it into bloated welfare states. This policy was certainly in America’s interests during the Cold War, and I’m not suggesting our system of alliances is totally obsolete. But there are huge negative consequences to it.
“Much of Europe has developed a political culture that tends to see talk as the answer to every problem, because talking is the only option readily available to them. A threat of force from Belgium, for instance, conjures the image of a pasty bureaucrat reaching for an empty holster.
Second, because the Europeans must rely on talk, diplomacy, negotiation, engagement – different words for the same tool – to solve their problems, they are more willing to promise things they otherwise wouldn’t. Psychologically, it’s much easier to think you are making a reasonable accommodation to a bully if, in reality, you have little choice in the matter. Thus, many European nations have encouraged or accommodated all sorts of nasty players in the spirit of “enlightened diplomacy,” in large part because they had no choice. “
Not only does this approach result in the U.S. receiving a disproportionate share of grief from the rest of the world, and not only does this represent a level of ingratitude that literally stuns the conscience – but it also represents a terrible strategic choice for our allies, in the long run. “Irresponsibility, resentment, and self-hatred are the inevitable consequences of excessive dependence on others,” wrote Melvyn Krauss in How NATO Weakens the West.”
Read the whole column, it’s definitely worth a look.
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