How Free-Riding French, Germans Risk Nuclear Anarchy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Judge Smales, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. By Stuart Taylor Jr., National Journal
    © National Journal Group Inc.
    Monday, March 3, 2003

    Imagine President Bush responding as follows to the latest rebuffs from
    France, Germany, South Korea and others and to the stunning surge of
    anti-Americanism around the world:

    Some of our allies act like spoiled teenagers who badmouth their parents
    while they're living off of them.

    "Enough. The American people are weary of holding the world's rogue regimes
    and barbarians at bay in the face of sneers and obstructionism from
    faithless 'allies' such as France, Germany and South Korea, who owe their
    freedom to America. So I have decided, with a heavy heart, to acquiesce in
    the profoundly misguided but implacable demands of world opinion and to end
    our efforts to disarm Iraq and liberate its oppressed people. From this
    point forward, my policy will be to defend the United States and our true
    friends. We will pull our troops out of Germany, the Persian Gulf, and South
    Korea. We will disengage from NATO and the United Nations. I will urge
    Congress to invest the savings in airtight border controls and missile
    defense. And I will begin a crash program to end U.S. reliance on Persian
    Gulf oil.

    "We will leave our critics to deal as best they can with nuclear-armed North
    Korea; with soon-to-be-nuclear-armed Iraq, Iran, and maybe Libya, Syria, and
    Indonesia; and with the nascent black market in doomsday weapons for
    terrorists. It has become clear that the United States and our friends
    cannot long prevent the spread of such weapons while nations such as France
    and Germany undermine our efforts and trade with our enemies."

    How would the French, Germans, Arabs, South Koreans, Chinese and other
    America-bashers like that? It would be only a matter of time until Iraq or
    Iran, or both, took over the entire Persian Gulf region. That would send oil
    prices to unprecedented levels and drag European, Arab, African and Asian
    economies into recession or depression -- and it would mean the bloody
    subjugation of the region's Arab peoples. Islamist terrorists, bent on
    destroying Western civilization, would find it far easier to attack targets
    in Europe than in the newly fortified United States. With North Korea's
    million-man army poised to sweep through Seoul and beyond, South Korea would
    face blackmail to unite on terms dictated by the North's Stalinist regime.
    China would soon find itself facing two nearby nuclear threats, as Japan
    would rapidly go nuclear to defend itself against North Korea.

    The point of this exercise is not to suggest that the time for such a lurch
    into isolationism has arrived. Not yet, at least. Pique is not a policy. And
    an unpoliced, anarchic world would be an economic and national security
    disaster for the United States as well as others. The point is to underscore
    how the Europeans, South Koreans and others who have become so anti-American
    depend on American power -- unthinkingly, ungratefully, and completely --
    for their well-being. Abdicating their own responsibilities to help maintain
    world order, they are free riding, as my colleague Clive Crook noted last
    week, on the same U.S. polices that they publicly denounce. Like a spoiled
    teenager who expects her parents to support her even though she refuses to
    do any work around the house and constantly mouths off to them, these
    nations enjoy the benefits of U.S. global policing while refusing to share
    in the costs and trashing the policeman.

    Take the views of many anti-war Europeans that Iraq should not be invaded
    but "contained." By whom? France? Germany? Belgium? They could not contain
    the two-bit Serbian tyrant, Slobodan Milosevic. And they have been no
    help -- indeed, they have been a great hindrance -- in containing Iraq. They
    want the U.S. to do it, through a costly, draining, long-term commitment of
    American forces. At the same time, they bash the U.S. for the military
    pressure and economic sanctions -- "starving Iraqi babies" -- that undergird

    The ignorance and hypocrisy of the European free-riders is perhaps best
    illustrated by their clamoring that Bush is bent on a greed-driven "war for
    oil." But Bush could get a lot more cheap oil, a lot sooner, by joining the
    long-standing French-Russian push to lift the sanctions on Iraqi exports
    than by spending vast sums and betting his presidency on an invasion and
    occupation of Iraq. No American leader would dream of invading but for
    Saddam's persistence in seeking weapons of mass destruction. If Bush's goal
    were to grab an oil-rich colony for his corporate buddies, Venezuela would
    be a much easier target.

    It's true that the vast oil reserves in and near Iraq help drive U.S.
    policy -- but not in a way that justifies European or Arab sneers. It is oil
    that brings Saddam enough money to buy and build weapons of mass
    destruction. And the regional hegemony he seeks would enable him to raise
    prices to extortionate levels. Every other nation in the world has at least
    as strong an interest as the United States does in denying Saddam such a
    stranglehold on the global economy.

    The tidal wave of anti-Americanism has multiple wellsprings, of course.
    Critics are understandably resentful of the Bush administration's arrogant
    demeanor; its disdain for international institutions, agreements, and
    diplomatic niceties; and its unqualified support of Israel's Ariel Sharon
    and his expansionist settlement polices. And they're understandably attached
    to a U.N.-centered vision of international law that has worked well enough
    in Western Europe -- ever since America liberated and rebuilt the place --
    but is useless against terrorists and rogue regimes with weapons of mass
    destruction. Mix in German pacifism; Russian insecurity; French ego and
    cynicism; Arab self-pity, paranoia, and envy; and near-universal resentment
    of the world's only superpower.

    But underlying them all is the implicit calculation that the safest course
    for European nations (and others) is to obstruct American policies while
    free riding on American power. This calculation rests on two assumptions
    that may prove to be catastrophically wrong. The first is that as long as
    Paris and Berlin appease the Arab world and Europe's own militant Muslims,
    it will be New York and Washington -- not Paris or Berlin -- that are
    targeted for destruction by any weapons of mass destruction that jihadists
    obtain from Iraq or other rogue regimes. The second is that Europe need not
    share in the costs and risks of keeping rogue regimes in check, because
    Uncle Sam will do it for them.

    Similarly, most South Koreans have lulled themselves into assuming that the
    North will not attack them and that its nuclear buildup is America's
    problem. They seem to have forgotten that the main reason they are not under
    the boot of the Stalinist North already is that the United States rescued
    them 50 years ago and still protects them with 37,000 troops and the nuclear
    umbrella. Or perhaps they assume the U.S. will protect them no matter how
    much they spit on us.

    This assumption may be correct in the short run. Viscerally satisfying as it
    might be for the United States to offer North Korea a trade -- you abandon
    nukes, we abandon South Korea -- the North would no doubt sign the deal, do
    its best to take over South Korea and then resume its nuclear buildup.

    All of this is somewhat analogous to the American public's isolationism
    while Hitler's armies were marching through Europe. Not our problem,
    Americans thought. Let England and the Soviet Union fight Germany. That
    seemed the best way to stay out of the war. But only in the short term. As
    President Franklin Roosevelt understood long before Pearl Harbor, German
    (and Japanese) aggression would eventually threaten America too. So FDR did
    all he could to change public opinion and help Britain fight the war.

    European or South Korean leaders with a long view would likewise see their
    own nations' interest in standing with America against the rogue states and
    barbarians. The reason is that even the American "hyperpower" probably lacks
    the will or the strength to carry the burden of world security for much
    longer, with little help from anyone but Britain, and in the face of
    increasingly widespread anti-Americanism. And unless someone stops the
    spread of doomsday weapons, anti-Western jihadists are probably within five
    to 15 years of obtaining enough of them -- from Iraq, North Korea, or
    elsewhere -- to endanger civilization as we know it. Jacques Chirac and
    Gerhard Schroeder should ask themselves: After New York and Washington and
    London have been destroyed or depopulated, how long before Paris and Berlin
    meet similar fates?

    It may be too much to expect the European and Arab publics, who are fed
    grotesque caricatures of Bush and America by their media and intelligentsia,
    to grasp their own interests in helping the United States defang Iraq. But
    wise leadership is about seeing one's national interest in the long term,
    and educating public opinion instead of pandering to it. The superficially
    clever Chirac and Schroeder are not wise leaders. They are fools. And they
    are helping to bring the world closer to a dark era of nuclear anarchy.

    Stuart Taylor Jr. is a senior writer for National Journal magazine, where
    "Opening Argument" appears.
  2. This is the key sentence of an excellent essay.

    As much as it would be extremely gratifying to let the ungrateful world fend for itself, our economy and national security is globally linked.
  3. "France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes." --Mark Twain

    "I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." --General George S. Patton

    "Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion." --Norman Schwartzkopf

    "We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it." --Marge Simpson

    "As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure." --Jacques Chirac, President of France

    "As far as France is concerned, you're right." --Rush Limbaugh

    "The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee." --Regis Philbin

    "The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know." --P. J. O'Rourke

    "You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it." --John McCain

    "You know why the French don't want to bomb Saddam Hussein? Because he hates America, he loves mistresses and wears a beret. He is French, people." --Conan O'Brien

    "I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get the Germans out of France!" --Jay Leno

    "The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag." --David Letterman


  4. Agreed. The unfortunate consequence of letting the rest of the world fend for itself would be unprecedented global casualties.

    I think a point the essay touches on which is underreported in the press is how the Bosnian muslims feel about the US. It is approximately 800 miles from Paris to Sarajevo, 600 from Berlin. Tens of thousands of muslims were slaughtered there. The UN were useless.

    Where was the outrage on the part of Islamic fundamentalists at the French and Germans? Where was the praise for the US for saving their muslim brethren?

    They hide behind the shield of religion when it suits them, however, their true motivation stems not from religion, in fact quite to the contrary. They do not operate from a position of moral authority on virtually every issue.

    That the French are truly concerned about the reaction of Islamic fundamentalists to a war in Iraq tells you a lot about the French moral authority.
  5. skeptic123

    skeptic123 Guest

    This maybe true in some cases, we are indeed very dependent on situation in Middle East, but it should not be the case in most of other hot spots.

    We should not be involved in North Korea, our national security and economy is not dependent on that region that much. It made sense during the Cold War, but the region does not have any significance now. China and Russia deliberately stall the discussion of N.Korea issue in security councel to which it was referred by UN Nuclear committee. S. Koreans are insulting us and protesting against US troops there. What is there for us to protect - Samsungs and Hyundays?. (the protests suddenly stopped there lately as N. Korea restarted their nuclear program - hypocritical bastards)

    We should not have been involved in Kosovo. For the record, the russian people hate as for our involvement in Yugoslavia. And they are not likely to forgive and forget anytime soon. Somehow they do not hate the French, the Belgian, the Swiss in whose backyard it was happenning and who benefited from our military participation, they hate America.

    We should not have been involved in Somalia either. Obviously not our sphere of interest. Lots of other examples.

    We should learn from our mistakes, help and protect our true friends but let the rest of the world fend for itself more often than we have so far. After a few lessons I think we'll be better liked and our initiatives will have a more favorable reception.
  6. firstly, i'm not sure which region our national security "is dependant on" at all, let alone "that much". (what i mean, is i don't understand what you were tyring to say)

    secondly, that region is insignificant? i beg to differ. perhaps you could check out all the literature on the "asian century" for an idea of just how significant it is expected to be.

    that was a tricky one. i can't really comment objectively, since i can't stand those terrorist KLA scum. (the russian problem could have been eased so much by giving the russians a sector of kosovo to police, though)
  7. skeptic123

    skeptic123 Guest

    What I was saying was that there are no significant economic or security reasons for us to police the Korean peninsula. The asian region is of course important and we do a lot of business with China, Japan and others over there. It is just not our job to resolve their regional problems when they do not want to do it themselves and insult us when we are trying to help.

    As far as the Russians and Yugoslavia are concerned, I was not talking about the russian government, I was talking about the people. It is an emotional issue for them, they hated to see a slavic people bombed by US planes. I cannot imagine how Kosovo was in the sphere of USA's economic or security interests. Nobody thanked us for what we did. Instead Russia is alienated and now they are paying us back with Iraq, when we need them most.