Sunday, February 16, 2003
Steven Den Beste has posted his reaction to an article in the Observer claiming that DoD officials, led by Rumsfeld, are discussing moving our military assets out of Germany, and diverting the Pentagon's contracts away from suppliers in Germany and France.

Steven comments:

One of the reasons why so many nations have been willing to come out against us is because they had a perception that we would not retaliate. Thus there was little or no risk, but plenty of potential for gain. The cost-benefit analysis thus said that opposing the US was a good idea.
Which is exactly correct. Opposing U.S. policy has always been a smart move politically, precisely because we are more moral than our enemies, and everyone from the most dim-witted street puppeteer to the most disgustingly craven French politician knows it. Think of it this way: opposing Americans means there is no need to fear bombs on the streets of Munich and Marseilles, and the Americans can still be counted on to rescue Europe if it guesses wrong. You could always score a few extra points with your loony anti-American Left by tossing out a few "fat, dumb, and happy" jokes: it would make you look clever and sophisticated (or perhaps even "brave," for mocking "the hyperpower"), and the Yanks would still be there the next morning, ready to pump money into your economy and protect you with their lives. No matter how venally self-serving your conduct, you could always paper it over by making a couple of grand speeches about how we are all "allies," and really, the U.S. needed the European bases in Europe to keep the Russians from heading west, which would have been almost as bad for us as it would have been for the French.

Thing is, that's no longer true. The Russians are not much of a threat these days; Islamic extremism and Arab fascism is what we are really concerned with. And neither Germany nor France seems to be willing to side with us in this conflict; in fact, they appear quite eager to cultivate closer relationships (and sell weapons) to the very thugs we consider dangerous. If anything, they seem to be doing a classic triangulation: playing both sides against each other, and trying to reap the rewards for being "neutral." The sweetheart deals TotalFinaElf has been concluding with Iraqi oil suppliers are only the most obvious example. So at some point, you have to ask, "Allies against whom? For what?"

But frankly, there is another angle to this that makes me hope the story is true. So far, we've been hearing from various corners of self-righteous stupidity how, for the U.S., This War Is All About Oil™, whereas the Gerjacques Chiroeder is "standing up to America" based on high principle. Terrific; let's see their adherence to principle in action -- surely it's worth a little damage to their economies, to keep the International Order™ intact? What's a little drop in the standard of living against Preserving the Integrity of the Global Community™, or some other such high-minded slogan? Better than selling out to l'hyper-puissance, non? Chirac, Schroeder, and (more importantly) their constituencies are thus faced with an actual, stark choice: their "noble" foreign policy principles, or their U.S.-subsidized standard of living? Just how willing are they to "stand up to the hyperpower" when the hyperpower is no longer feeling magnanimous? Just how much are their supposed principles worth to them, anyway?

Any idiot can march in the street when there aren't any consequences to fear, and millions of idiots did just that yesterday. (No, they were not all idiots, but judging from the photos, the posters, and the hodgepodge of causes, I'd say it was a pretty large percentage.) Let's see if the Germans and the French -- or, more importantly, the Weasels who lead them -- are willing to pay an actual price for what they profess at the microphone. If nothing else, it'll help us boost economies of nations more in need, and far more deserving.


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