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View Full Version : War=Peace or Freedom Fries (lite), Act II


Wonderment
02-23-2010, 07:52 PM
NY TIMES:

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who has long called European contributions to NATO inadequate, said Tuesday that public and political opposition to the military had grown so great in Europe that it was directly affecting operations in Afghanistan and impeding the alliance’s broader security goals.

“The demilitarization of Europe — where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it — has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st,” he told NATO officers and officials in a speech at the National Defense University, the Defense Department-financed graduate school for military officers and diplomats.

bjkeefe
02-23-2010, 07:56 PM
NY TIMES:

I didn't see (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/world/europe/24nato.html) any mention of Poland. FIRE HIM.

However:

Mr. Gates did soften his message a bit, noting that, not counting United States forces, NATO troops in Afghanistan were to increase from 30,000 last year to 50,000 this year.

Increase the peace!

bjkeefe
02-23-2010, 08:33 PM
Related? (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/us/24guns.html)

Wonderment
02-23-2010, 09:28 PM
Related?

You mean because Obama has gone old school French on us in these times of economic crisis?

Exhibit A:


He [Obama] signed bills last year allowing guns to be carried in national parks and in luggage on Amtrak trains.

Exhibit B:

"It's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them... as a way to explain their frustrations." - Barack Obama

Exhibit C:

"Finally I recalled the last resort of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: "Let them eat guns." -- Jean Jacques Rousseau

bjkeefe
02-23-2010, 11:59 PM
You mean because Obama has gone old school French on us in these times of economic crisis?

Guess it's all in how (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/us/24guns.html) one sees things:

“The watchword for gun owners is stay ready,” said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. “We have had some successes, but we know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us.”

That Mr. Obama signed legislation allowing guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains should not be seen as respect for the Second Amendment, Mr. LaPierre said. The two measures had been attached as amendments to larger pieces of legislation — a bill cracking down on credit card companies and a transportation appropriations bill, respectively — that the president wanted passed, Mr. LaPierre said.

claymisher
02-24-2010, 12:04 AM
Well, there's always Nader 2012.

bjkeefe
02-24-2010, 02:32 AM
Related (http://mxrk.net/redphone/2010/2/23/58-stayin-alive.html):

http://mxrk.net/storage/redphone058.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1266987 987550

bjkeefe
02-24-2010, 04:28 AM
You might like: "Oops I killed you (http://thepoorman.net/2010/02/22/oops-i-killed-you/)," by The Editors at The PMI.

(Reminded by Thoreau (http://highclearing.com/index.php/archives/2010/02/23/10747))

Florian
02-24-2010, 05:16 AM
You mean because Obama has gone old school French on us in these times of economic crisis?

Errrr.... I puzzled over this for a few minutes but still have no idea of what you mean.

If American leaders expect Europe to tag along on US foreign adventures, they will have to do a better job of explaining their purpose. I have the impression that most Europeans believe that the era of American leadership is over.

PS. If Jean Jacques said, "let them eat guns," I will eat my hat.


For those who understand French, an interesting broadcast on Afghanistan. Click January 28.

http://sites.radiofrance.fr/chaines/france-culture2/emissions/enjeux_inter/archives.php

bjkeefe
02-24-2010, 05:52 AM
PS. If Jean Jacques said, "let them eat guns," I will eat my hat.

Bon appetit! (http://yfrog.com/emletthemeatgunsp)

http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/3423/letthemeatguns.png





Okay, not (http://promos.hayhouse.com/lipton/091509email/tools/pdf/spontaneousevolution_complete.pdf) really.

Florian
02-25-2010, 05:23 AM
Gates Wants Europe to Beggar Itself on War Expenditures the Way the US Has

S Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decries Europe for general antiwar sentiment, unwillingness to beggar itself with expenditures on war.


But as far as I can tell, Europe is the world's largest economy and got there without any recent substantial wars except those the US dragged it into. Moreover, the fastest-growing economy for the past nearly 30 years has been China, which spends a fraction on their military of what the US spends on its, and, aside from a skirmish with Vietnam in the early 1980s, has been at peace. Apparently massive war expenditures are unrelated to economic growth or prosperity.

In contrast, the US has been at war for 19 of the last 47 years (not counting US-backed insurgencies such as 1980s Afghanistan, on which we spent billions) but has not grown faster than the other two economically. Moreover, the increasingly unwieldy US national debt, deriving from the US government spending more than it took in in recent decades, would not exist if the US military budget had been the same as that of the European Union since 1980. The US overspent on its military because Washington mistakenly thought the Soviet economy was twice as big as it actually was, and vastly over-estimated Soviet military capabilities. The bloated military budgets continue now, apparently because of a couple thousand al-Qaeda operatives hiding out in caves in the Hadhramawt and Waziristan.

Some statistics to ponder:

US Military Budget 2009: $711 billion
European Union Military Budget 2009: $289 billion
China Military Budget 2009: $122 billion.

US GDP 2009: $14.4 trillion
European Union GDP 2009: $16.5 trillion (PPP)
China GDP 2009: $8.8 trillion (PPP)

US economic growth 2009: 0.2%
European Union economic growth 2009: -4%
China economic growth 2009: 8.7 %

The real military-related expenditures of the US are closer to $1 trillion. If the US cut those back to the level of the European Union and spent the money on promoting solar energy and making it inexpensive, America would have a chance of remaining a great power in the 21st century. If it goes on rampaging around the world bankrupting itself by invading and occupying other countries, the Chinese will laugh at us all the way to world dominance.

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute.

bjkeefe
02-25-2010, 12:05 PM
Gates Wants Europe to Beggar Itself on War Expenditures the Way the US Has [...]

I take a back seat to no one when it comes to thinking the US (1) spends entirely too much money on its military and (2) tries to solve too many problems using force. Still, it has to be said that one reason Europe has been able to keep its expenditures lower is because the US has provided a massive amount of security for them over the past sixty years.

Again, this is not the only factor, and I'm even willing to grant that not all of the security the US provided was desired by everyone in Europe, or elsewhere, but the notion of Pax Americana can't be written off entirely.

look
02-25-2010, 12:55 PM
Related? (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/us/24guns.html)
Finally, news I can use:

In Virginia, the General Assembly approved a bill last week that allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month.
Great thread, Wond, but I'm suffering from Brendian angst that it's posted in the wrong forum.

Florian
02-25-2010, 12:58 PM
I take a back seat to no one when it comes to thinking the US (1) spends entirely too much money on its military and (2) tries to solve too many problems using force. Still, it has to be said that one reason Europe has been able to keep its expenditures lower is because the US has provided a massive amount of security for them over the past sixty years.

Again, this is not the only factor, and I'm even willing to grant that not all of the security the US provided was desired by everyone in Europe, or elsewhere, but the notion of Pax Americana can't be written off entirely.

That's the mythology. In fact, the US has been the greatest fomentor of insecurity for the past 50 years.

The security provided by the US never fooled anyone in Europe during the Cold War. The US was willing to go to war--nuclear war---with the Soviet Union in order to "save" Europe in case of a Soviet invasion (which was never in the cards anyway). Some savior!

bjkeefe
02-25-2010, 01:22 PM
That's the mythology.

It could be. I have the feeling that my point of view here is similar to the one about the TARP preventing a global economic meltdown -- I have something that I can hold up, but ultimately, I have no way of proving that its existence prevented something that didn't happen from happening.

In fact, the US has been the greatest fomentor of insecurity for the past 50 years.

I don't agree with that at all. I'm not saying the US hasn't caused any problems with its domineering, even imperialistic, tendencies, but your statement is beyond hyperbole. Especially when you add in all of the non-military things the US has also done. Sure, we could have done a lot of things better, and not done a lot of the bad things we did do, and both of those still apply today, but given that the US is and has been unarguably the most powerful military nation the world has ever known, the very lack of large-scale wars over the past half-century, plus the world's overall economic growth and many examples of democracy growth and increase in quality of life for so many people, puts the lie to your assertion.

==========

[Added]

The security provided by the US never fooled anyone in Europe during the Cold War. The US was willing to go to war--nuclear war---with the Soviet Union in order to "save" Europe in case of a Soviet invasion (which was never in the cards anyway). Some savior!

But we never did have a nuclear war, did we? And the Soviet Union's indisputable urge to expand was stopped, wasn't it?

Again, I think I'm in the position here that I described in my first paragraph. But I'm as confident as I can be in such circumstances that the positive aspects of the US's military might cannot be set to zero.

Florian
02-25-2010, 01:30 PM
It could be. I have the feeling that my point of view here is similar to the one about the TARP preventing a global economic meltdown -- I have something that I can hold up, but ultimately, I have no way of proving that its existence prevented something that didn't happen from happening.



I don't agree with that at all. I'm not saying the US hasn't caused any problems with its domineering, even imperialistic, tendencies, but that statement is beyond hyperbole. Especially when you add in all of the non-military things the US has also done. We could have done a lot of things better, and not done a lot of the bad things we did do, and both of those still apply today, but given that the US is and has been unarguably the most powerful military nation the world has ever known, the very lack of large-scale wars over the past half-century, plus the world's overall economic growth and many examples of democracy growth and increase in quality of life for so many people, puts the lie to your assertion.

Since you posted I nuanced my original point. See above.

The lack of large scale war between the US and the Soviet Union during the period of the Cold War was the result of the nuclear stand-off. Neither side could start a war for fear of provoking a nuclear holocaust.

I don't see the record of conventional US military interventions abroad in the same light as you. So there is no point in discussing this.

bjkeefe
02-25-2010, 03:29 PM
Since you posted I nuanced my original point. See above.

I noticed right after posting my (previous (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=152235#post152235)) response, and updated my post to reflect it.

The lack of large scale war between the US and the Soviet Union during the period of the Cold War was the result of the nuclear stand-off. Neither side could start a war for fear of provoking a nuclear holocaust.

True, at least to some degree. But like most short answers about history, I suspect this is not the whole story.

I don't see the record of conventional US military interventions abroad in the same light as you. So there is no point in discussing this.

Okay. I would like to make clear for the record that (1) I largely share your dim view of most of the US's military actions as directed by US politicians, but (2) I did originally want to make the narrower point that the existence of the US's military clout for providing security and keeping the peace -- however many warts it also had -- cannot be sensibly dismissed as utterly worthless, by Europeans or anyone else.

But, as you say, we probably don't much agree on this, so I'll leave it at that.

Wonderment
02-25-2010, 03:47 PM
Great thread, Wond, but I'm suffering from Brendian angst that it's posted in the wrong forum

I know. I meant to put it in "Life, the universe...," but I screwed up. I apologize to and on behalf of the American people.

bjkeefe
02-25-2010, 03:55 PM
Great thread, Wond, but I'm suffering from Brendian angst that it's posted in the wrong forum.

Thanks for letting me know my efforts to improve the world have not been wholly in vain.

;)

look
02-25-2010, 09:31 PM
Thanks for letting me know my efforts to improve the world have not been wholly in vain.

;):)