Sunday, July 08, 2018

Defending the West

I respect Applebaum, but what is she talking about?

For the first time since 1945, Europe is grappling with an American president who has a fundamentally different view of America’s international role. Trump no longer wants the United States to be the West’s central organizing force. He no longer cares about the benefits that role has brought, if he even understands them.

She appears to rely on Trump's abandonment of NATO; his conviction that the European Union's purpose is to take advantage of America; and a third worry that America will exploit German (and others') worries about Russia.

Oh good grief. Get. a. grip.

Trump is actually trying to get NATO states to spend more even as American military power returns to Europe in the east and as America leads efforts to make sure reinforcements from North America can rapidly reach Europe. Is that the action of a president "abandoning" NATO?

I admit that the EU's purpose isn't, as Trump apparently said (for the sake of argument, I'll not quibble), to take advantage of America. That's just a byproduct of its imperial ambitions that run counter to longstanding American interest in preventing a hostile power from controlling Europe. I firmly believe it is in America's--and Europe's if it wants to be free--to kill the EU before the proto-imperial state goes full empire. Brussels is no friend of America or of freedom. The EU should revert to the EEC to be the free trade area it started out as.

Further, and I shouldn't have to point out the obvious, America is a central organizing force in NATO and not at all in the EU. So a stronger EU that weakens NATO, reduces America's central role in defending the continent.

And the last worry is funny if it wasn't so wrong.

If Germany worries about Russia, why is Germany handing Russia the power to cut the juice to Ukraine and make other Europeans more reliant on Russian energy--all while bolstering Russia's ability to pay for the military threat that Germany supposedly worries about so much.

If Germany worries about Russia, why does Germany spend so little on defense and get so little from what they do spend?

Trump is not exploiting German worries about Russia--he's trying to get them to act on any worry at all to share the burden of defending the West.

And given that it is clear that American dominance is being diluted by the rise of other states, America can't finance the defense of the West as it could after 1991 when the Soviet threat vanished and before China rose and before international jihadis picked up the slack in mayhem. The American "unipolar" moment was nice. But it is gone.

So yeah, the West needs all of its members pulling their weight. And while I don't expect our allies in Europe to help much in Asia, they can damn well do more in Europe so our efforts can be focused on the region stretching from CENTCOM to Alaska through the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Applebaum knows better. Her argument is nonsense.

UPDATE: About those German "worries" about Russia.