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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The caring people of London march against Bush

Do not listen to the lies of those who would describe the protesters as hypocritical apologists for mass murdering fascism. Being caring, sharing people, the smiling protestors who will be marching through London to protest the visit of George Bush to Britain, will be decrying the state of unemployment in Iraq (Bush strangely seems to get no credit at all for his protectionist, anti-globalisation economic policies).

The brutal, uncaring British and American capitalists now in occupation of that hapless country have, with malice of forethought, simply thrown previously industrious workers on the scrap heap of life without the slightest concern for their well being. Hundred of highly skilled ‘information retrieval’ experts that were happily at work debriefing people in every city, town and village in Iraq are now reduced to pouring through the ‘help wanted’ add in the Guardian as they look for alternative uses for their skills with pliers, blowtorches and electricity. The management and workers in the chemical industry of that once proud nation, the people who gained world fame from the use of their products in Halabja, are almost to a man reduced to flipping burgers and slicing donner kebabs or working in Syria. Is there no end to the iniquities of global capitalism?

And so it is hardly surprising that the people who will be baying for Bush’s downfall were conspicuously absent on the streets in March of 1988, when Iraqi industry was humming along rather nicely producing useful products, not to feed the evil capitalist Bushist machine, but for local use in Iraq by local Iraqi people, and who could possibly object to that?

Halabja, 1988

Mother and child sleeping well thanks to better science!
Products produced for the people’s need, not capitalist greed

I mean, it must all be true, Michael Moore said so!

64 comments to The caring people of London march against Bush

  • Jacob

    Here is an oportunity for Samizdata to show it’s muscle and mobilize the vast masses of it’s supporters to come out and stage a counterprotest for Bush and freedom in Iraq.

    In serious, even a dozen nice placards would attract attention and make a nice gesture.

  • Mark Smith

    Be careful Jacob! These “peace protesters” are about as tolerant as Saddam to views opposed to their own and equally liable to use violence to suppress them – for the sake of peace of course.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    Robert Simon, Clinton’s ex-staffer and ex-Secretary of the Treasury is now a lecturer at the LSE and says Americans are about to discover that Britain is not that different from the rest of Europe.

    I think that’s what makes me so ineffably sad.

  • John Ellis

    I look forward to the vast army of Samizdata-mobilised, pro-Bush protesters waving “annex Iraq” or “more tax-breaks for the super-rich” placards….but I don’t expect to see it happen.

    Maybe they [i]would[/i] feel physically threatened, but a call to the US Embassy would see a squad of Secret Service detailed to protect them, and a team from Fox News to show hours of back-to-back coverage of them to “prove” the UK was solidly pro-Bush.

    They could be famous at so little personal risk!

    Come on Bush-lovers! Mobilise to protect and cheer for your beloved spiritual leader!

  • John Ellis: You are confusing us with someone who gives a sh*** about Bush.

  • You guys better bulk up your military. If anti-Americanism gets bad in Britain, the US is quite likely to write off Europe entirely.

    Isolationism is the default policy of Jacksonians, and it’s not that far away in America right now. An awful lot of people here are completely fed up with Europe, the UN, and the lot. We’re spending a LOT of blood and treasure at the moment, and getting brickbats in return. Yeah, for our benefit, but for the benefit of the “free world” too. We don’t have to worry about that last bit, and we’re getting close to not doing so any longer.

  • snide

    John Ellis is a idiot and a witless one at that. I have been reading this blog for months now and it is constantly slagging off George Bush for his statist stupidy, but heaven forbit the authors come to their conclusions on specific issues not based on tribal thinking like Ellis… it just makes the heads of poor collectivist dears like him spin.

    Well I guess Ellis must be unhappy that the Ba’athist Socialists are out of a job, after all, who gives a fuck if a bunch of smelly A-rabs were getting tortured and murdered in some place he could not find on a map. Why on earth let that get in the way of being a mindless cheerleader for economically illiterate statism? Fortunatly there are people on both the left and right who actually like the idea that a mass murdering tyrant was overthrown and don’t feel the need to beat the drums of stupidity with a bunch of losers.

  • Johnathan

    Folks, go and read Andrew Sullivan’s latest screed on the anti-Bush hysteria. First class, and he shows how Bush is being bashed for policies that, were they imposed by a Democrat, would get a much easier ride. (Take the very different reaction to the US action in Kosovo, for example).

    I must say I find the current mood very troubling. Anyone who reads this blog should have grasped that there are many things we give the current Bush and Blair govts a hard time on, like the Patriot Act and the steel tariffs, for example. But I find the depth of hatred hard to fathom. Indeed, I very much suspect that if the Iraqi campaign was an unalloyed triumph and Iraq became a fully-fledged free nation, the Bush-bashers would get even angrier.

  • Oh spare me the ‘Britain is just like Europe…’ and ‘Britain is anti-American…’ what the hell does that actually mean? British people are pro-British for the most part, just as Americans are pro-American. Very few British people, even Atlanticists, think Britain should do anything because it suits US interests, any more than US Atlanticists think the US should do things just to suit British interests. Alliances work because of shared interests. The British military is in Iraq because it suited UK interests, and it just happened to also suit US interests to have them there.

    The fact the US and UK governments so often see a confluence of interest is no accident but that should not make people get carried away by getting either all teary eyed with thanks nor all bent out of shape and emotional if a some British people hate George Bush. ‘Britain’ is a place, not a person, so ‘Britain’ does not think anything.

    As for the ‘threat’ of US isolationism, you will find that argument plays rather differently outside the USA. Who are we kidding? The US will continue to project power when it suits US national interests, not because people in other countries get a warm and fuzzy feeling about the USA.

    Frankly I think Bush is a jackass too, squandering foreign policy opportunities (such as finishing off the UN when US public opinion would have cheered) and making economic decisions of stupendous idiocy (steel and lumber anyone?)… it is just that I abominate the reason the vast majority of the protesters over the next few days will be protesting. I am quite happy to say to both Bush and the vile Blair… “Well done, you got rid of a truly evil regime and you have my thanks… and I now hope your political careers go straight down the toilet from this point onwards… but thanks for doing the right thing anyway.”

  • llamas

    D Smith wrote:

    ‘You guys better bulk up your military. If anti-Americanism gets bad in Britain, the US is quite likely to write off Europe entirely.

    Isolationism is the default policy of Jacksonians, and it’s not that far away in America right now. An awful lot of people here are completely fed up with Europe, the UN, and the lot. We’re spending a LOT of blood and treasure at the moment, and getting brickbats in return. Yeah, for our benefit, but for the benefit of the “free world” too. We don’t have to worry about that last bit, and we’re getting close to not doing so any longer.’

    I agree. Here in Flyover Country, USA, that point is so close, you can see it.

    I think people are double-dog fed-up with the UN especially. Most folks can understand that a multi-lateral body like that is going to have some ebb-and-flow of interests, but from the perspective of Joe Six-Pack, it’s been 20 years of non-stop anti-Americani agitation. He wouldn’t care so much if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s footing the lion’s share of the bill.

    The one troubling issue is that most people who think this way are also perfectly happy to cut off Israel as well. They see the US support for Israel as being mostly a reflection of Jewish elites on the East and West coasts, and not in any way in their interests.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Cutting off Europe is as painful to us as disowning a sister or brother for irreconcilable political differences. It is not done hastily or out of malice. It is done with dreadful sadness.

    Could Europe survive a further reduction in American spending abroad and purchases of EU goods? Probably, but it won’t make life easier. Hate us, hate our money? It wouldn’t be the first time we took our toys and went home.

    Americans do not act with one voice or of one mind–there are too many of us for that (no different than someone thinking that Europe acts in one mind), but there is a growing feeling here that it’s time to cut the ties. Shutting down the U.N. entirely, booting it off of American soil (and all the funding and support of it), pulling all our troops out of Europe, is not as far away as you might think. Some might welcome those changes. Other, and I suspect the folks at Samizdata, understand that the results would not be pretty.

  • John Harrison

    Had Clinton still been in the White House we would have seen the left wing media cheer him to the rafters as the ‘bloodthirsty right wing dictator’ Saddam Hussein was deposed in the name of democracy.
    Bush has been too protectionist and the Patriot Act is over the top too, but I suspect a Democrat administration would have been just as bad – maybe worse.

  • Kelli

    Feel better now, Perry? Good. Venting of spleen is a wonderful thing, and I agree with most of your last post. Britain is not France is not Disneyworld…Generalizations are bunk. That said, you are utterly too dismissive of the two leaders in question and their collective fate. Should one or both men fall on account of their actions in Iraq (which looks entirely possible at this juncture) the “West” will cease to have any meaning because, apart from holding focus groups and tea parties under UN auspices, there’s not a damn thing anyone will do collectively and proactively for decades to come. You should listen to the American posters above rather than rubbishing them–support for “Bush” has nothing to do with the man himself (who I still do not “like” as a man or a president) and everything to do with the office he holds and the obligations of the US President to take action in the world, even (especially!) when it won’t pass muster with the international hate-in crowd. Same goes for Blair. You may think you are standing on principle, but a fat lot of good it’ll do you when the swarming “peaceniks” in the streets of London reshape Western foreign and domestic policy for years to come.

  • R. C. Dean

    As for the ‘threat’ of US isolationism, you will find that argument plays rather differently outside the USA. Who are we kidding? The US will continue to project power when it suits US national interests, not because people in other countries get a warm and fuzzy feeling about the USA.

    Believe it or not, Perry, the Beltway elites, especially at State, tend to believe that we should project power primarily in pursuit of giving people in other countries warm and fuzzy feelings about the USA. I tend to think they are wrong, myself.

    If America withdraws from the world, and specifically from Europe, again, is there any reason to believe that it won’t all end it tears, just like it did in the past? Repeatedly?

    I am conflicted on this – on the one hand, I would love to see American troops in Europe and other Cold War postings come home, or be reassigned to where they might more directly advance American interests. On the other hand, I have very little confidence in the nations of Europe, the Koreas, etc. conducting themselves responsibly without adult supervision.

    If you think hard-core American isolationism will increase liberty, prosperity, and peace in the rest of the world, I think you are sadly mistaken. Regardless of the cheering that might occur in certain quarters, I think many would find the current Pax Americana preferable to what would follow.

  • Front4uk

    I certainly will welcome the Main Man to UK and will wear the stars and stripes pin on my suit to show solidarity with our traditional allies in their hour of need. If some peacenik would like to challange me to a discussion of US Fiscal/Foreign policy I am more than happy oblige.

    European media has always been very weak to represent the factual truth and prone to cheap caricatures, true to their socialist/Soviet-influenced past. For George W : Anybody who arouses such venomeous hatred amongst the chatterling classes and pisses off the ten-a-penny columnists of the Guardian and Independent will be allright in my book.

    For the Stop The War Coalition – You tell me how to stop a genocidal 3rd world tinpot dictator by “peaceful” means and then I reconsider my support to the war. So far I have not seen or read or heard any suggestions. It is time to either put up or shut up.

  • The notion ‘America’ is going to take its marbles and go home if too many people blow raspberries at Dubya’ needs a little fleshing out.

    Does this mean the US political establishment will put its troops out of Europe and stop defending Europe against… hmmm… I am not quite sure who they are actually defending it against come to think of it given that Russia is about as scary these days as a toothless dog with sleeping sickness. I do not think this will cause too many sleepless nights anywhere that really matters and it might mean the hapless US taxpayer will have slightly less of his private property confiscated by the US state to pay for troops who are not really necessary. Could that happen? Yes, it could.

    Or does it mean US businesses will stop trading with their largest trading partners? Somehow I don’t think so. Will businesses in Britain and Europe stop trading with the USA? Somehow I don’t think so. Global trade is vastly too important and lucrative for such trifles to get in the way in a meaningful manner.

    I despise the people who are going to wave placards at George Bush, for reasons my article should have made clear, but I am not going to lose all too much sleep if that causes some people in the US to get dyspepsia over their cornflakes when they read the newspapers. The significance of some Guardianistas leaping up and down like baboons in the streets of London is vastly less important that some people seem to think it is.

  • Kelli

    Perry,
    You might want to consult a history book regarding 20th century Europe. It ended just a few years ago (the century, that is, not history).

    Nature abhors a vacuum. Russia is on the verge of recolonizing its former SSRs, it maintains an arsenal of aging but potent WMDs, and the supreme leader is a cagey KGB apparatchik, but you don’t mind if the US pulls its troops back to Topeka?

    My cornflakes went down fine this morning, how bout yours?

  • Kelli, if Russia is the most scary thing around in 2003, I will sleep just fine tonight. They are to be pitied rather than feared by anyone in the west… the Soviet Union circa 1970 they ain’t.

  • Kelli

    The danger is not Russia, per se (though I don’t agree that it is a toothless old cur) but weakness in and of itself. Europe is not only weak militarily–it positively revels in its own weakness. Let’s throw in our fine neighbors to the north, as well; they’ve had to suspend military training altogether as all of their best guys are overseas on peacekeeping operations (I believe about 2,000). As Robert Kagan has pointed out, weakness makes a virtue of necessity by closing down at least half of your possible options. No one can say with any confidence whence a threat may emanate in ten years time–do you really want to meet it defended by a bunch of ill-armed fifty year old Belgian barbers?

  • No, I don’t but unless you can actually point at a real threat that requires large chunks of people’s cash, it is hard to see who Belgium is going to be fighting in ten years other than perhaps Vlaams Bloc seperatists.

    And face it… who is going to attack Canada?

    In an idea world, I would wave my magic wand and spend twise as much on the UK military and half as much on EVERYTHING ELSE… which would mean a vastly smaller state. And I would love to see the USA do exactly the same thing.

  • Getting back, in some respect, on topic, what I find odd is how unpleasant your typical protester is. These are not the sort of people that you’d want to debate the finer points with over a pint, or anything like that. Who will teach the mob table manners?

  • And totally off topic, it seems to me that Perry has the time and/or inclination to write more posts lately. This is always a good thing.

  • ernest young

    If only they would vent their spleen against our real enemies – those corrupt bureaucrats that run the EU, who are trying to hijack the U.K. against what would appear to be, the wishes of the majority.

    But of course, they are Socialists, while Bush is anything but.

    In recent articles where there are pictures and the protesters are actually named, it seems that a large number of them have very middle eastern names, so perhaps it isn’t your average Brit who is making all this fuss.

    The same is noticeable in French reports of riots against the USA, and in reports of synagogue vandalism. Maybe this is all about anti-semitism, and the US is found guilty by association.

    Or maybe it is GWB’s overt Christianity that is the problem?

    I still maintain that GWB is one of the most straightforward of politicians, as politicians go, and when he is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, or with an intern caught in his zipper, then I may think differently.

  • S. Weasel

    I would agree that Bush is pretty straightforward for a career politician, Ernest, but I wish he really were “anything but” a socialist. Him that that “compassionate conservatism” of his. Hmph! You can’t do the cutting taxes part without the cutting expenses part. Not forever, anyway.

    That’s what cracks me up when he’s described as “far right” and “extremist” in the foreign press. He has been, in many ways, a big disappointment to the real far right in the US.

  • Kelli

    Protesters who are ill-behaved and foreign-seeming? Sounds sinister. If only it were true!

    From what I have seen here in Washington (and vaguely recall from my own halcyon youth in the 80s) protestors are a pretty healthy representation of the general populace, albeit hipper, slightly younger and rather more pierced than me.

    Frankly, it won’t do to dismiss them as boorish or not from these parts. They are certainly ill-informed, as a general rule, but that is because they refuse to hear arguments with which they do not agree. For this reason I don’t think it such a good idea to march in any kind of a counterprotest–unless you’ve watched “Fight Club” once too often.

    If the atmosphere in Britain is anything like it’s been portrayed here in the States–akin to what it was like on the Tower Bridge last month, with ol’ whatsisface in the box–simply telling people you’ve no intention to attend any such thing is a powerful statement.

    I’ve been searching for my copy of 1984 but have misplaced it. Can anyone look up the description of a hatefest? This seems to be the closest literary equivalent to today’s atmosphere.

  • Dave O'Neill

    As I recall, people did protest about the Saddam regime. Protestors outside the Iraqi embassy were a pretty steady fixture throughout the 80′s. Tony Benn spoke at one of their rallys IIRC.

    Of course, even after 1988 he was still our friend so they were called all sorts of names for wanting to get involved in an internal political issue.

    I am still concerned by this visit. Not least of which I am at a loss to understand why he is being treated to the full state treatment at this stage in his presidency. I don’t think its acceptable.

    By all means come to the UK, but if Regan or Clinton didn’t get a state visit I’m rather at a loss to work our why George gets one.

  • Kit Taylor

    Perry: In an ideal world, I would wave my magic wand and spend twise as much on the UK military and half as much on EVERYTHING ELSE… which would mean a vastly smaller state. And I would love to see the USA do exactly the same thing.

    Barry Goldwater…RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!

  • ernest young

    S.Weasel,

    I agree, the man is far from perfect, he may not have ‘feet of clay’, but he certainly has a few ‘clay toes’. Nothing wrong with compassionate conservatism, it’s the ‘pork barrel’ waste that worries me.

    Kelli,

    I pointed out the middle eastern folk, not as a racist comment, but rather, that folk from that neck of the woods, probably have more to protest about than indigenous Brits. Indirectly, I suppose I was saying that the Arab Israeli conflict has well and truly been bought to the streets of London, Paris and Berlin.

    As you point out, the great mass of unwashed ‘piercenicks’, are always with us.

    I note that the LSE rears it’s ugly head again. School of economics, nonsense, more like a school of leftwing politics….

  • R. C. Dean

    Kelli sez “protestors are a pretty healthy representation of the general populace, albeit hipper, slightly younger and rather more pierced than me.”

    Not my observation at all. From what I can tell here in Madison, there are enormous swathes of the population not represented in anti war or other tranzi protests. Protestors around here are drawn from narrow swathes of academia with a tiny smattering of (mostly) atypical other folks.

    I don’t think it such a good idea to march in any kind of a counterprotest–unless you’ve watched “Fight Club” once too often.

    Hmm. This sounds awfully close to appeasement to me – surrender the streets to the bad guys because they threaten violence. I am highly unlikely to ever march in a protest or counterprotest of any kind, but the likelihood of violent opposition would not affect my decision to march. It might affect my decision to mount my poster on an axe handle, though.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Among the people I know intend to march we can find…

    Some South African software engineers with their families, a librarian, a chartered accountant, more than a few teachers, an airline steward and some other software developers.

  • ed

    Joy.

    All in all I’m personally rooting for the protesters. Even more I’m hoping for a truly ugly scenario whereby the American populace will get treated to a drag out knockdown kind of brawl. Something that’ll make people sit up and rethink this whole “defend Britain” thing. A few more such situations in various places of Europe and I think we can all achieve our overall goal of getting the US military out of Europe. Hey anything that permanently destroys the tendency for America to get involved militarily in Europe is a good thing IMHO.

    And you guys are right. Who needs a powerful modern military in Europe. What the heck. Slash that budget down to zero and reap the rewards!

    Only if things go to heck, don’t ask America for anything. The answer will be no. The next American President that gets involved in a war in Europe will get impeached.

    Have a nice day.

    ed

  • Dave O'Neill

    Not even the US seems to want to do everything alone Ed.

  • “Some South African software engineers with their families, a librarian, a chartered accountant, more than a few teachers, an airline steward and some other software developers.”

    Don’t these people have a job to go to?

  • Theomund of Wessex

    Something that’ll make people sit up and rethink this whole “defend Britain” thing…

    What ‘defend Britain’ thing? We are quite capable of defending ourselves and we project our own power when it suits our need, like in Oman, Falklands, Sierra Leone, Yugoslavia or Iraq. The US does the same because it suits them. The US has the ‘special relationship’ with the UK because it suits both parties, who also happen to be huge trading partners. You really need to disengage the emotions, old chap.

  • Abby

    Ed: US foreign policy is not designed to vindicate hurt feelings. You seem to have been led astray by a belief that what is bad for the EU is good for America. In fact, the exact reverse is true.

    And you are quite wrong that the rage of the British street will in anyway benifit Bush. Americans who follow such things give more weight to British public opinion than that of any other country. Such fevered criticism from our strongest, most instinctive ally should not be carelessly dismissed.

    And honestly, your sensitivity strikes me as a bit naive. Some of my earliest memories are of frenzied crowds burning the US in effigy and chanting “Death to the great Satan!”. I was shocked at the time, but I’m not five any more and I’ve grown quite used to it all by now. As long as the gassy Guardianistas take no American hostages and stay away from our embassy, then where is the harm? We’ve certainly been through worse.

    We don’t need praise, thanks or pats on the head to tell us that we’ve done what is right. The satisfaction of having done the right thing must be its own reward.

  • Dave O'Neill

    David,

    They feel it is important enough to use a day off.

    Given that a couple of them are contractors and will therefore lose money they must feel somewhat strongly about this.

  • John

    “And you are quite wrong that the rage of the British street will in anyway benifit Bush. Americans who follow such things give more weight to British public opinion than that of any other country. Such fevered criticism from our strongest, most instinctive ally should not be carelessly dismissed.”

    Yes Ed:
    We all know now that you’re a DemoKKKrat and you hate Bush. Who else in America would call a mob of leftist, socialists and muslim intimidators “our strongest, most instinctive ally”?

    Maybe we shouldn’t get our panties in a knot until something actually happens though. After all this is a great opportunity for an advanced, multicultural, socialist European society to show Americans what their country can be like if only they’d try. Or maybe it’ll show Americans what it’s like to live in a European country that’s in the advanced stages of multicultural socialism.

  • john

    That should have been ABBY! not Ed! It’s late here and I should be in bed, or at least not leaving comments.

    My deepest apologies Ed. You don’t sound like a DemoKKKrat who hates Bush and I agree with most of what you said. Good Night

  • ed

    *shrug*

    1. We’ rather are doing this largely alone.
    130,000+ American soldiers compared to? $200 billion dollars vs ? Frankly if it weren’t for Clinton we probably wouldn’t have even bothered with the UN. Too bad he reduced the US Army from 18 divisions to 10, cut the number of ships in the Navy by half and reduced the Air Force by a couple wings. But that’s the Democrats for you. They like to say they’re for national defense but they’re really just for national defense to go the heck away.

    2. Supposedly there has been this “special relationship” between America and Britain. Frankly it would probably suit both a large number of Americans and Britons to simply end that relationship now. Thanks for the tea, and have a nice life sort of thing. It’s certainly true that Britain has been a better ally than most over the years. But that’s hardly a ringing endorsement. Considering the difficulty that Britain is facing trying to adequately fund it’s military, particularly it’s navy with it’s aging carriers, I’m curious to see what will happen. If nothing else we can all rely on the EU Constitution to end any independent relationship between America and Britain.

    BTW there are no emotions involved really. I just find there’s really no point in pretending that any nation in Europe really is an ally of America. Perhaps an ally of convenience for Europeans, but that hardly makes up for 6 decades of Cold War expenditures. Just look at how EU member military budgets are dropping each year. Any analysis of that trend points to the certainty by the EU members that America will always, regardless of the abuse, be there to defend Europe. Which I think is wrong. Both for America and for Europe.

    3. The fact is that US foreign policy is based on voter desires.
    For decades now it was always a given that America and Europe were allies and that we would defend Europe. But the events over the past year or so has very much shattered that viewpoint. I used to be alone in thinking that NATO should be repudiated. But now I find that only a very small minority of people I know still feel like that there’s any real connection between America and Europe.

    There is a very real shift going on in how Europe is perceived in America and, due to many causes including rapidly growing anti-Americanism, this shift is accelerating. As the American political scene becomes more polarized this will accelerate the process even more.

    Also I am not saying what is bad for the EU is good for America. What I am saying is that the EU is largely irrelevant and the sooner America wakes up to that fact the happier we’ll be. Then we won’t even bother asking the EU for it’s opinion.

    And I’m not saying that any British “street rage” will help Bush. Personally I couldn’t care less about Bush. I’m a Conservative and he isn’t. He’s a better alternative to the Democrats but that’s about all. What I am saying is that the “street rage” will, if sufficiently grotesque, continue the decline in American perceptions of Europe. Which is a good thing.

    None of this is about praise, or the lack of it. I’d rather nobody burned the flag, particularly American citizens, but that happens so often now it’s become blase.

    What it is about is the realization that Europe has not been and is not a dependable ally of America. Once this has been fully absorbed and realized by the American public it will result not only in the complete removal of all American military forces out of the EU but the repudiation of NATO and any obligation to the defense of the EU. And after that we can then concentrate on eliminating the UN as an active political entity.

    Frankly I’d be rather amused at that point. The combined EU militaries are hardly more than a joke. It would vastly interesting to see what would happen. Would the EU buckle down and actually spend the trillions of Euros and the decades required to build a truly modern effective military? Would the EU continue pretending it has a modern military and maintain the current spending levels? Would the EU just do away with the military completely and use the resulting available funds to spend on social programs? How will the EU member militaries operate once they are integrated under the EU Constitution?

    *shrug* that’s their problem

    ed

  • ed

    Hehehe :)

    I’ve never been accused of being a Democrat before. Interestingly enough I was raised as a Conservative (Scoop Jackson style) Democrat in the rural mountains of New Hampshire. But that ended when I realized that the Democrats no longer wanted people like me. Oh well.

    Interesting link Russian Military Budgets

    The most interesting part is the lack of transparency so nobody really knows what’s going on. I’ve read in a few places that the Russian military has parked a number of divisions into the border guards and other agencies and that the Russian military is a lot stronger than it appears. Who really knows though.

    Honestly if I were a European I’d be worried about Russia. People tend to think of Russia as a democracy while forgetting that it’s a very recent democracy with many problems. This has caused a resurgence in interest in the old Soviet regime. A case in point is the popular support for the (fairly illegal) pursuit and prosecutions of major businessmen.

    Considering that most Russian soldiers are badly paid conscripts and, due to the extensive stocks of Soviet era equipment, there isn’t as much of a need for material purchases. So the 2000-2001 Russian budget of $56 billion definitely raises my eyebrows.

    Not my problem though.

    BTW Pavel Felgenhauer is a very good read for those who haven’t read his stuff before.

    ed

  • “They feel it is important enough to use a day off.”

    ‘Dear Boss,

    Sorry but I will not be turning up for work tomorrow but I just have to go to London to stick it to George ‘Hitler’ Bush.’

    Yes, of course these are just ordinary every-day working folks who have never felt a political impulse in their lives but they are so overwhelmed with feelings on this issue that they just cannot help but join up with the Socialist Workers Party and Al-Muhajiroun to give vent to the perfectly ordinary average man-in-the-street point of view.

    Short version: knock it off, mate.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Yes, of course these are just ordinary every-day working folks who have never felt a political impulse in their lives but they are so overwhelmed with feelings on this issue that they just cannot help but join up with the Socialist Workers Party and Al-Muhajiroun to give vent to the perfectly ordinary average man-in-the-street point of view.

    Frankly, in the case of some people I know, thats the case.

    Look David, I know its alien to you, but they are free to chose their own causes.

    Or are they only free to chose causes that other people think are good for them?

  • John Harrison

    Considering that most Russian soldiers are badly paid conscripts and, due to the extensive stocks of Soviet era equipment, they would probably run away at the first sign of a shooting war. Oh, and their guns would jam too.

    The US should keep troops in Europe because it is easier to mobilise troops and equipment from here to use in the Middle East. Nothing much to do with defending Europe from Russia, though.

  • tubba

    Dave O’Neill: Jesus, why is it that when someone tells a lefty that something someone is doing is daft, they reply “Or are they only free to chose causes that other people think are good for them?”

    It seems clear that Dave Carr thinks these people are idiotic jackasses, but I must have missed the bit where Dave Carr said they should not be free to be idiotic jackasses.

  • Sorry, ed, but the idea Europe should be afraid of Russia is just too preposterous for words. They are an economic basket case and the lession of Chechnya is that the Russian military has stayed with its long standing tradition of gross incompetance. They have the logistic wherewithall to pose a major threat to, oh, I dunno, maybe Latvia.

    The nations of Europe need to spend vastly less on wealth destroying welfare programmes… they do not need to spend vastly more on wealth destroying military programmes… a little more in some cases perhaps, but not much more.

  • Verity

    Kelli – We live in a different world from the Viet Nam protester days. Today, as stated above, a lot of the protesters in Europe have Islamic names. There is also a strain of virulent, anticapitalist radical socialism running through this. You cannot compare the US of 20 or 30 years ago with the reality of Europe in the 21st Century.

  • Verity

    Dave O’Neill – “More than a few teachers” will be taking part? Goodness gracious!! Are you sure?

  • Harry

    I agree with Perry worrying about Russia is a waste of energy. The Europeans need to be more worried about each other and their ever growing muslim populations. The problems Europe had in the last century never came from outside. They were homegrown European wars exported outward.

    John,
    You’re correct also, but when the US strikes a deal to build more forward bases in Hungary, Albania and probably in Iraq those bases in western Europe will no longer be needed.

    I am also for the US leaving NATO. It is time the US taxpayer caught a break and was relieved of this burden. The Soviet Union is no longer a threat and no European nation has any heavy lift capacity at all so they are more than useless as allies in a time of crisis. I would like to see the US bolt NATO and seek bilateral defense alliances with more friendly and democratic states.

  • Harry

    That should read worse than useless not more than useless. Damned dyslexia.

    And don’t worry more than enough people here in the states are worried about Bush compassionate conservatively spending us into the poorhouse. He really needs to get his shit together on the spending or he will lose a great many conservatives’ votes. His old man had to learn that shit the hard way too.

  • Jacob

    Perry,
    “Sorry, ed, but the idea Europe should be afraid of Russia is just too preposterous for words. ”

    You are wrong here.
    Russia is a giant, albeit a very sick one. And she has military capability – nuclear tipped missiles, huge numbers of tanks and airplanes, enormous manpower, good military technology.
    In terms of military capability – she is even now, more than a match for Western Europe. Especially given the decrepit state of western Europe military, and her disinterest in maintaining defensive capabilities.

    Maybe Russia has no malicious intentions for the moment, maybe they are demoralized. So – for the short run – you are right – there is nothing to fear from Russia. But things can change.
    Europe had nothing to fear from the poor Weimar Germany, but then, within a few years it turned into a juggernaut.
    While it is important to be able to judge a potential enemy’s intentions, it is also very important not to forget his military capabilities.

    The alliance between Britain and the US served both counties very well. The tranzi-neo-Marxist protest, in contributing to weaken that alliance, doesn’t serve Britain’s interests, doesn’t serve the free world’s interests, not to speak of the Iraqi people.
    Maybe the alliance will not be weakened, and the protsters are a mere nuisance, still it’s an ugly sight.

  • Jacob… stop looking at the tanks. Tanks to not make a nation scary. Look at Russia’s economy and their logistics. It is logistics which make a nation scary. That is what makes the USA scary… not that it can land an army somewhere… hell, China can do that. It is that the USA can supply an army just about anywhere. Now THAT is scary.

    There were big questions how long the Soviets could sustain a major effort against Europe jumping off from East Germany in the 1980′s… the notion Russia circa 2013 is going to be more formidable logistically to pose a threat to the rest of Europe (other than the former bits of the USSR, a series of booby prizes if there ever where) is highly dubious indeed. Russia is a busted flush.

    As for the protests, if that is all it takes to weaken the Atlantic Alliance, then it is not worth a damn. If a bunch of protesters matters more to US public opinion than the British troops in Basra, then one has to question where US ‘public opinion’ has its head lodged. No, my guess is that it will not make the slightest difference on either side of the Altantic and most of the opinion polls still show the UK as largely pro-American in any case.

  • Amelia

    I agree with Mr. de Havilland’s last comment. I do not think public opinion in the US at least will be swayed at all by the hippy puppeters no matter how many of them there are. Interestingly, I think the impact has already been softened by blogs first and then mainstream media picking up story that there will be lots of fruits in the street. Surprise would have been far more effective. I would be pleased of course if there were a few pro-US demos.

  • I really hope someone from our group has the time and the will to go the protests in order that we see a real version of the protestors. It is patently obvious that both terrestrial channels actively seek out the most “normal’ looking people possible and avoid all the ones with signs in support of Hamas. As Perry’s pictures from their last big protest showed most of the people involved were extremists.

    I watched the Daily Politics talk to two Iraqis in Hull. One pro-war/occupation and one nastyly anti. The former looked like he wanted to throtle the latter when she suggested that Bush was as bad Saddam.

    I think ed for the most part is full of it. However, I do hope that the US tells Europe, with exception of the UK, to get knotted the next time it wants to get bailed out. I truly hope that the Islamokazis hit Paris (a crumpled Eifle Tower would do nicely) and that we express absolutely no sympathy for them when it happens. Yes its going down to their level, but who really cares? They are vicious anti-semites who routinely support our enemies and coddle them.

    Don’t believe me, then read Merde in France often.

  • Verity

    Now that Ken Livingstone has dubbed Mr Bush the single greatest threat to the planet, I assume it will be OK if we resume shipment of nuclear wastes and blanket the continent of Europe with GM crops?

  • A_t

    “As Perry’s pictures from their last big protest showed most of the people involved were extremists. ”

    sorry, which last big protest are we talking about? Do you have a link?

    ed “What it is about is the realization that Europe has not been and is not a dependable ally of America.”

    hehe… so next time a friend doesn’t buy into your great-but-risky-and-unproven business venture, even when you really push it to them, I suppose you’ll say they were never really a friend at all, yeah?

    Just because most of Europe’s countries weren’t up for a war on the grounds of a few shaky claims, doesn’t mean they don’t share most of your core values (well, freedom & democracy anyway, which is pretty good going if you check out the rest of the world… brrrr, chilly out there). Friends are more useful than enemies, & talking big independent talk may make you feel good, but probably isn’t very useful, or in the national interest. At least those your government understand that fact better than you do.

  • ed

    Interesting.

    Perhaps I am “full of it”. :) But American public opinion is turning anti-Europe. There are exceptions, but those are very recent. What did the most damage, IMHO, wasn’t just Chirac and Schroeder but the demonstrations. So I figure that NATO is on the way out and the UN not far behind.

    1. ” they would probably run away at the first sign of a shooting war. Oh, and their guns would jam too.”
    Umm. Probably the toughest soldiers to fight a war in the last century or so has been Russian. The last time someone talked about Russian soldiers running away from a fight it was a German. They may not be very well trained, at the moment, but they are generally very tough. And that training isn’t all that difficult to do. A major part of the American success is based on mass simulations using computers. Such a system gets cheaper each and every day.

    2. It’s not worth it to based US soldiers in Europe.
    It’s too far from the Middle East and it’s too expensive to boot. On top of which it’s nearly impossible to conduct training exercises. Even though each training formation is followed by an officer with a checkbook, to pay for damages caused by vehicles, there has been a real desire for that training to end by residents. This same desire also cripples their own national militaries but I suppose it’s more important that someone’s fence doesn’t get broken.

    3. I wouldn’t underestimate the impact of such demonstrations.
    The Liberal media in America will be playing it up for all they’re worth. So the protest is going to be shown every hour, on the hour, on the 24/7 news channels. It’ll also get shown at the 6PM and 10PM news shows. So it’ll get a lot of exposure.

    4. Logistics.
    I’d like to point out that the Russian military has had more experience with providing logistics for large formations heading west than most countries. No offense but we’re not talking about having to supply troops over an ocean. We’re talking about logistics that need rail and road system to be effective, nothing more. While Russia’s rail system is aging, it’s fully capable along with all those specialty transporter railcars used by the military.

    As for the ability to logistically support a war. Let’s be frank here. We’re not talking about a Europe with a massive American troop presence along with prepositioned equipment and Reforger exercises every year. We’re talking about seriously weakened European formations that haven’t trained all that hard in a decade. Much of the equipment is still circa 1990 technology wise and, I believe, only the UK actually has stores of precision weapons.

    While Russia could create a credible and effective military force, utilizing it’s stocks of equipment and proven training techniques, the European powers would find it extremely difficult to do so. While we can wish for more Leopard tanks, it takes more than wish to manufacture them. It could take a month or more just to setup production, and that doesn’t take into account the required training for the crews.

    The fact is that Russia only has to improve marginally to be a powerful land force. Europe would have to completely revamp it’s force structure in order to do so. And the quantitive mismatch would make things even worse. While a high quality military could make things even, it takes a LOT of money and a LOT of time to create that force, one that no European country currently has.

    Russia also currently has around 50 divisions active. Some of them are cadre but many are fully staffed. Additionally a number of divisions have been shifted to other agencies, such as the border guards, so they’re not even counted anymore.

    So a slightly improved economy, with massive infusions of technology, will make the Russian military very strong. Additionally this ignores the perceptions and attitudes of the Russian people themselves. They’ve suffered, intentionally I think, a great deal under their current form of democracy. For many the conditions are terrible and not improving all that much. There has been and will be a resurgence of desire for the old Soviet system. One that I’m sure Putin would be happy to provide. Him and his former-KGB cronies.

    It’s material to know that much of the Russian government has been suborned by the KGB. And once a KGB officer, ALWAYS a KGB officer.

    *shrug* Frankly I’d keep a very close eye on Russia.

    ed

  • ed

    ed “What it is about is the realization that Europe has not been and is not a dependable ally of America.”

    hehe… so next time a friend doesn’t buy into your great-but-risky-and-unproven business venture, even when you really push it to them, I suppose you’ll say they were never really a friend at all, yeah?

    ——————-
    Hmmm. No. I’m not counting the recent disputes over the Iraq War.

    There have been many instances of Europe being a less than reliable ally.

    1. President Reagan want’s to bomb Lybia for it’s associations with terrorism, American bombers are denied overflight permission and must go around Europe.

    2. Achille Lauro terrorists are captured and handed over to the Italian authorities. America want’s them for the murder of Klinghoffer, but the request is denied. Italy then releases most of the terrorists and the only one convicted of the murder (along with a 30 year sentence) is given a weekend pass and disappears. Amazing that. I’ve never heard of a convicted murderer getting a weekend pass from prison before.

    Frankly the list is too long and far too depressing. We should have bailed on Europe long ago.

    As for the friend thing. I seriously doubt that Europe is a friend of America. It’s one thing to talk, it’s completely another to do the walk. And so far it’s mostly been talk. And please, don’t point to a couple thousand troops. It’s far more symbolic than real. After all we came to Europe, for ONCE, and asked for actual real help in Iraq. All we got was a talking to and not much else. In the case of a few countries, even less than that.

    You’d think we would have gotten more for the $12 trillion dollars we’ve spent on defending Europe (and just Europe) for the last 57 years. You’d think that after having committed America to fighting a nuclear war if Europe got touched by the USSR that Europe would commit to some equivalent. But Europe never did. When we wanted to station Pershing missiles, Europe complained that it would make them a target. Gee. That sure impressed me.

    ed

  • ed, you could not be more wrong about the threat posed by Russia. 50 real divisions? Don’t make me laugh. From what we know now about the true Soviet logistic weakness during the 1980′s, the notion they could even mount, let alone sustain, an attack far from their borders is risable, particularly given their own internal security worries, which are probably only going to get worse. That dawg don’t hunt no more. Give it a rest and stop pinning for the good old days when the commies were a nice identifiable enemy.

  • ed

    About the Russian military.

    I’d like to point out that the old Soviet doctrine for a North German Plains invasion largely bypassed the difficulties of logistics. Each Russian division was to be organized and supplied with sufficient logistics to fight on it’s own for two weeks. While I think this is overly optimistic it’s also undoubted that many such formations wouldn’t survive two weeks of intense combat so a bit of scavenging and assimilation would allow surviving units to fight longer without resupply.

    Additionally it’s doubtful that the European formations would be successful in staving off a Russian invasion for as long as two weeks. The German army is largely a social works program with tanks. The same issues that restricts American troops from field exercises also restricts them. The French army isn’t much better off. The only bright spot is the Polish army. The Poles have been pretty smart about their force structure, but it’s still somewhat limited in size. If you were to assemble all of the forces of the EU together into a single Army sized unit it wouldn’t comprise more than a dozen divisions at most.

    The problem of course is that you cannot assemble such a force easily as they are dispersed geographically. In essence Europe exists, militarily, as a series of shells formed by national militaries. Each shell is extremely weak and vulnerable and would likely collapse quickly under the weight of 30 decently trained Russian divisions.

    America would also be largely out of the picture. While we do have some soldiers there, it’s not all that much. Also we don’t have the prepositioned stocks, which went to the National Guard with the fall of the USSR, neither do we have a large stock of bombs and aerial munitions. So we could fly our air force over there fairly rapidly, we’d have to rely on the local EU militaries for munitions, and none but the UK have precision guided bombs. So we’d have to do things the old way, with greater resulting losses from the extensive SAM cover profferd by the Soviet style formations.

    *shrug*

    Fact is that a decently trained, lead and supplied formation of 30, or even 25, division could probably take Eastern and Western Europe in two weeks. The only response then would be to use nukes, but at that point the EU leaders would have to use the nukes on European soil and European citizens. A tough choice to make and possibly a no winner even at that.

    Now will that happen? *shrug* anybody’s guess really. Could it happen? Sure thing. Could the EU prevent it from happening? Only by making the drastic policy change of greatly improving their militaries at the expense of social programs. And that would be both unpopular and difficult to do. So Europe is going to hang there, like a bunch of ripe grapes, waiting to get picked.

    Just my opinion of course.

    ed

  • ed

    “50 real divisions? Don’t make me laugh.”

    As of 1996 they had 69 divisions and the economy in 1996 sucked for the Russians. Since then they were supposed to reduce that to 10 divisions of professional soldiers but they scrapped that plan in around 2000. So they’ve got around 50 divisions now with about 30% of their soldiers as contact, i.e. professional, soldiers with the rest as officers or conscripts. I’d also like to point out that Russia is continuing to draft conscripts so they are maintaining their pool of available trained reservists.

    The internal security issue isn’t all that. While the Chechnyans do make problems, they aren’t as big an issue IMHO has they might appear. The issue does give the Russian government a lot of latitude in how it deals with internal problems.

    As for the logistics, what makes you think the Russians couldn’t deal with that effectively? Their economy is much better now and they are producing more oil. So if you have something concrete concerning the Russian military’s ability to deal with large scale logistics I’d like to know about it.

    ed

  • Dave O'Neill

    tubba.

    Short version: knock it off, mate.

    I took that to be his suggestion the whole idea of people doing what they believe in was ridiculous.

    Of course, David is more than able to speak for himself.

    The funny thing is people calling me a “leftie”.

  • Dave O'Neill

    There have been many instances of Europe being a less than reliable ally.

    And the US has *never* been a less than reliable ally of France and Britain eh?

    Ed, national interest works both ways and the US have been more than happy to pull the rug out from under the Brits if necessary.

  • Dave,

    Yes I can speak for myself.

    I was alluding to the tendency in much of the press (especially the BBC) to try to pass off these street demos and papier-mache puppet parades as a manifestation of the feelings of ‘average, ordinary Brits’.

    Yeah, right. The ‘Stop the War’ coalition is a front for a gaggle of trotskyite revolutionaries and the Socialist Workers Party whose numbers have been swelled by some eco-nutters, radical Islamic groups like Hizb-Ut-Tarir and a few sad, ageing ex-CND saps of the type whom Lenin used to refer to as ‘useful idiots’.

    I daresay that a handful of genuine Joe Taxpayers will be going along for the jolly, but don’t try to tell me or anybody else that this shower is the ‘Voice of the People’.

    I said ‘knock it off’ because it seemed to me that that was the impression you were attempting to create.

  • Dave

    David,

    I daresay that a handful of genuine Joe Taxpayers will be going along for the jolly, but don’t try to tell me or anybody else that this shower is the ‘Voice of the People’.

    Well, according to polls they are representative of around 35% (ish) of the population.

    Given that I can only conclude that a huge number of “genuine Joe Taxpayers” are included in that number.

    Its not a majority but its certainly a significant minority and there does seem to be a desire to ignore that here. The rights of minorities here in the UK are often trumpeted here, as they should be, e.g. the 1 or 2% who want handguns – I argue that the 35% (according to the YouGov Poll) are equally important.