Scaling up one’s beliefs about how individual human nature to a collective, and especially national, scale, is always a dicey business. With the hotting up and late engagement of some Western powers, but not others, in the current war, it looks as though there may be some basis for my long-time suspicion that welfare for nations has many of the same pernicious effects as welfare for individuals.
The specific form of welfare I have in mind are the security forces stationed by the United States in a number of its allies. It is a source of continuing frustration to many Americans that the very nations we have done the most for have, in turn, been the least willing to pitch in with us. However, the reason they oppose us is precisely because we protect them from the consequences of their beliefs. Count on Mark Steyn to crystallize the issue:
More importantly, the prolongation of the American security guarantee has been disastrous for those allies, transforming them into ersatz postmodern allies who require you to engage in months of elaborate diplomatic tap-dancing in order to get them to contribute a couple of hundred poorly equipped troops. There’s a line conservatives are fond of when they’re discussing welfare: What’s better for a man? To give him a fish? Or to teach him to fish for himself? That goes double for defence welfare. The continued US presence in Europe is bad for Europe and bad for the US.
The presence of American troops guarding their frontiers has relieved our European allies, and to a somewhat lesser degree the Japanese and the South Koreans, of the responsiblity of providing for their own national security. As a result, these nations have largely disarmed, much as the residents of major US cities protected by large and visible police forces have disarmed, and the internal politics of these countries mirrors the politics of US urban centers on issues of national/personal security.
Just to pick one area of congruence, European nations believe that it is unnecessary for anyone to maintain a large armed deterrent to attackers, just as urban liberals believe it is unnecessary for an individual to own a gun for self-defense. Because such an armed deterrent is unnecessary, use of it is unjustifiable by either nations or individuals. Thus, armed self-defense is illegitimate, and violent threats to personal or national security are to be met either with more welfare directed at “root causes,” or with jaw-jaw by social worker/diplomats, rather than war-war.