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Welfare for nations

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.

40 comments to Welfare for nations

  • Cydonia

    Nothing stopping the U.S. pulling all its troops back home, is there?

  • toolkien

    There is another piece to the welfare (between the State and the individual) puzzle that is missing in the analysis thus far. Fiscal conservatives see the Welfare State is a way to brainwash the masses and gain unquestioning compliance. Is this the case here? If so, it surely has failed. The question then is, what gain is there for the US to keep subsidizing other nations? Is there still a net gain in some levels of compliance, or is it simply wasted?

    Regardless, and whatever the type and nature of the welfare, it will certainly lead to a flacid mass untempered by reality and cause and effect. Value systems are corrupted and perverted, and the laws of unintended consequence still rules. The protected and coddled soon forget they are being treated so, but are first to howl about entitlements if there is the first sign of a roll back. It will be interesting to see the reaction if the US decides to pull out. I am reminded of South Korea just a few years ago, when there was a lot of noise about getting the US out, etc., but when the US put forth real ideas about doing just that, the tune changed quickly.

    Whatever the reaction, I do support ending the US’s unneeded presence around the world. It simply isn’t worth being the World’s policeman when they clearly don’t want us to be. We’ll leave them to it.

  • Actually, the DoD under Rumsfeld is reshaping the way the US will deal with its allies.

    First of all we are pulling large ground units out of South Korea and Germany.

    Secondly we are rebuilding the military bases in Guam.

    Third , The US Navy is developing the Sea Base concept, a mobile networked group of ships that will be able to support a long term military operations without the need for extensive onshore infrastructure.

    Fourth. Falcon- Force Application from the Continental United States. (Space Bomber)

    Fifth Space Power, in the long term it will be better for the US military to depend on space based firepower than on firepower that can be vetoed by allies.

    Once the US can apply force anywhere in the world without the need for bases on allied soil then the allies will have to defend themselves since there will no longer be US forces as tripwires to insure US involvement in their defense.

  • In fact Japan, South Korea, and some European countries (most notably the ones that are currently the object of Republican hatred) actually have perfectly good militiaries, which are quite capable of seeing to their own national defense. It’s true that they don’t have such large militaries as the US, but then they have different objectives–their focus is on national defense, whereas the US is more concerned with offense. (France is a notable exception, as they have their own imperial interventions going on in Africa.)

  • Bob Dacron

    spacer says

    Fifth Space Power, in the long term it will be better for the US military to depend on space based firepower than on firepower that can be vetoed by allies.

    Listen I don’t want to sound like one of those peace loving socialists, but more British troops have been killed by the US military than by the “Elite Republican Guard of Iraq”

    If you hit the wrong people from a plane, you’ll probably hit yourselves from space!!

  • John J. Coupal

    Since the French military seem to come alive when the location is Africa, how about French forces doing some work in the Sudan?

  • Susan

    I think that US military welfare is not only responsible for Europe’s weakness but also for its complete detachment from reality. Large numbers of Europeans really do seem to believe in platitudes like “war never solves anything.” It is easy for Europe to get away with stuff like this because their high-minded, pacifistic values never get REALLY tested out in the big, bad cruel world as long as they are hiding behind the US’s skirts.

    They’re like rich hippie teen-agers who play at working in the prol commune, but who secretly tipple from Daddy’s trust fund whenever the going gets a little too tough for them.

    Also, if Europe actually had to take responsibility for it’s own defense, voters may stop electing simpering socialist idiots like Jaska Fischer and Zippy Zapatero.

    Europe needs some shock therapy and pulling US troops out will be good for them and for us too.

  • To push your analogy a little further, you have probably noticed how often an appetite for welfare spending is associated with a distaste for defense spending (US Democratic Party, for example). Underlying all the noble sentiments may be simple self-interest: money spent on someone else will not be spent on oneself. If the Great Nations of Europe see the US squandering resources elsewhere that should (in their eyes) be spent on their behalf, should we be surprised that they don’t like it much?

  • Pete

    I have to agree with Ken Hagler here, most european armies are quite adequate. Americans might get another impression, since they don’t see our armies swaggering across the rest of the world like their own. Our focus is on defending ourselves, not partaking in costly overseas wars.

  • Susan

    Mitch, yeah, I’ve thought about that too. (Some) Europeans do seem to feel entitled that way.

    I remember a Dutch guy who posted a vile anti-American screed (on another board) and then finished it up with, “And I wish that you Americans would not punish us by taking away our business contracts.”

    We’re obligated to provide anti-American Dutchmen with fat business contracts? New one on me.

    Anyways, I have had my fill with this type of attitude.

  • Susan

    Well Pete, I for one am very happy to let you Euros put your adequate miiltary provisions to the ultimate test. Rummy can’t pull the troops out of Germany fast enough for my taste!

    Good luck, and remember, the next time you guys start to get a little antsy over there, as Sam Goldwyn once said, “include us out.”

  • Susan

    OT but sort of related: Laban Tall has an excellent post with good links on the hypocrisy of those decrying American military interventions in the Sudanese crisis:

    Evil Americans Asked to Send Military Power

  • Sandy P

    The German and Japanese armed forces are constrained by certain documents they had to sign a few decades ago.

    Maybe those “agreements” should be addressed.

  • Giles

    A good test of this thesis comes this summer when Bosnia/Kosova is handed over from NATO to the EU. Will the US pull all its 20,00 troops out then.

    I hope so – think of all the fun the US can have carping from the sidelines about the lack of sovereignty there, neo colonialism military incompetence, illegality, – blocking UN resolutions and so forth.

    And its a win- win situation – the US learns about the pleasures of irresponsibility and the EU learns about the difficulties of responsibility..

  • Sandy P

    So, Pete, no troops for the UN either?

    Of course, when they’re somewhere else, seems they’re kind of standing aside.

  • Bob D

    If the British Government invested in reliable IFF systems maybe their troops would have a better chance on survial on the modern battlefield.

    The amount of expensive hardware flying about and blowing up makes these places extremely unhealthy, especially for those who neglect their ‘kit’ .

    I may be wrong, but didn’t the Republican Guard hang out near Baghdad rather than futher south where the British Army and the USMC attached units were fighting?

  • Susan

    I hope so – think of all the fun the US can have carping from the sidelines about the lack of sovereignty there, neo colonialism military incompetence, illegality, – blocking UN resolutions and so forth.

    And its a win- win situation – the US learns about the pleasures of irresponsibility and the EU learns about the difficulties of responsibility..

    And oh, how I am so looking forward to it! :) The trouble is, it won’t happen. The US won’t pay Europe back in its own coin.

    UN peacekeepers have been doing some very nasty things in Africa, and the US media basically couldn’t care less.

  • Susan

    PS by “Europe” I don’t mean Britain. Britain pulls its own weight in NATO, more than any of the others.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    At least Taiwan is pulling its weight… Sure, help from the US is nice, but I’ve heard plenty of talk from the ROC that when it’s down to the wire, nothing is certain except their troops’ ability to defend themselves and their country.

    South Korea should be ashamed of itself.

    TWG

  • GCooper

    Toolkien writes:

    “It simply isn’t worth being the World’s policeman when they clearly don’t want us to be. We’ll leave them to it. ”

    As a Briton, I can sympathise with US feelings about having had to shoulder Kipling’s “white man’s burden” and I can see how that resentment leads to dreams of a splendid, self-sufficient isolation.

    Unfortunately, dreams are all they can ever be. The US is the world’s largest economy and depends on its trade routes and relations for much of its prosperity.

    While the ‘it’s all about oil’ brigade were halfwits in nearly all respects, they weren’t entirely wrong about the West’s dependence on energy from some very politically unstable places.

    Like it or not, the US has no choice but to maintain the peace where its interests lie.

    True, you coulld well leave the Germans to stew in their own self-indulgent juice (and about time, too) but there’s just no escaping the fact that you need the capacity to control instability, when and where the need arises. Which it will.

  • Susan

    Then we need to develop alternative energy resources and make a commitment to only use Free World Oil as well. US still produces 55 percent of its energy needs domestically.

  • Steve in Houston

    GCooper, exactly. As a number of writers have pointed out, there are a couple of major economic chokepoints that are vulnerable to fairly simple sabotage – Durban and the Malacca Straits.

    Basically, some 40% of the planet’s trade/energy resources flow through there. Until such time that we can explode into the glorious future of solar energy and non-petroleum based synthetic materials for stuff like iPods and cell phones and food containers, those spots need protection, and if (when?) that fails, some way to quickly receive repairs.

    What galls me as an American, even as I understand the situation won’t change, is that we will continue to bear the costs of guarding those and other spots.

    We benefit from it, but then again, if truly and horribly pressed, we would probably be able to survive the shock to the system, being blessed by fortune with the natural resources we do have. It would suck, and there’d be deprivations and hardships not seen here since … well, the 1800s. But I believe we’d struggle through.

    Other countries … not so much. So you’d think there would be some goal in being able to field expeditionary forces, if for no other reason but self-preservation.

    Anyway, back to the military welfare situation – as mentioned before, the US is in fact making plans to pull out of a number of bases built, basically, to fight World War III with the Soviets, and Korea II with the North Koreans. The latter is especially interesting, given how a great number of US troops are positioned, essentially, as a literal cannon fodder along the DMZ – they are referred, quite soberly, as a trip-wire in case of any aggression by North Korea.

    For some crazy reason, Rumsfeld and a lot of other radical thinkers in the defense industry see this as a not-ideal situation; and furthermore, see the gigantic bases along the former Iron Curtain as sort of missing the point now. Hence the plans to a) make the military much more flexible and integrated so that units can either break off or coalesce easily depending on the situation and b) move the troops more to the areas where the “action” is (Middle East/Horn of Africa, South Pacific, etc.).

    This is a potential nightmare, of course, for the German and South Korean economies. Despite the derision heaped upon the US by large portions of those countries’ populations, they don’t mind taking our rent money, or the incidental money spent by troops in the local economies.

    So I think we’ll see interesting stories in the next few years basically along the lines of “Yankee go home!” followed by “No, wait, not yet Yankee! There’s still some change in your pocket!”

  • toolkien

    ***Toolkien writes:

    “It simply isn’t worth being the World’s policeman when they clearly don’t want us to be. We’ll leave them to it. ”

    As a Briton, I can sympathise with US feelings about having had to shoulder Kipling’s “white man’s burden” and I can see how that resentment leads to dreams of a splendid, self-sufficient isolation.

    Unfortunately, dreams are all they can ever be. The US is the world’s largest economy and depends on its trade routes and relations for much of its prosperity.

    While the ‘it’s all about oil’ brigade were halfwits in nearly all respects, they weren’t entirely wrong about the West’s dependence on energy from some very politically unstable places.

    Like it or not, the US has no choice but to maintain the peace where its interests lie.

    True, you coulld well leave the Germans to stew in their own self-indulgent juice (and about time, too) but there’s just no escaping the fact that you need the capacity to control instability, when and where the need arises. Which it will.***

    In agree with what you have said and have said as much in other articles’ comments here at samizdata. But perhaps in this case I was being more idealistic than average. I support action in Iraq and it has very much to do with oil. As you said the US has economic interests around the world, and if a country is not economically isolationist it likely cannot be militarily either, that is as long as we have a majority of the world still dominated by extremely Statist mentalities.

    Unfortunately, that happens to include the US’s Welfare State to a point. Welfare and Warfare States go hand in hand. So while I have a rather isolationist bent ideally, I am aware that in practicality while the US has many overseas connections, and as long as the US State is the largest de facto invester/borrower in the US economy, with me partially co-signed on the loans, I have every interest in making sure the US economy is as healthy as it can be in the long term. As long as the US government is going to position itself as the insurer of last resort for the collective mass, I want to make sure as little of the burden falls directly on me to make good on proceeds payable.

    So, again, as far as complete build downs of overseas Forces, it is more in the idealistic realm; for now at least.

  • R C Dean

    I have to agree with Ken Hagler here, most european armies are quite adequate.

    Adequate for what, is the question. They may or may not be adequate even for border defense if you pull out the Americans, after all.

    They are certainly not adequate for any kind of force projection that you would need for forward or preemptive action, such as what was needed in Kosovo, for example.

    Now, good hard-core libertarians may say no army should ever leave its own borders, of course. I would tend to disagree, as I would prefer to see my wars fought on the other guy’s turf, not in my backyard. Ultimately, any war that you plan to win will require force projection, even if it is with your next door neighbor. So I would say that any army that has no force projection capability is not adequate for any serious national defense purpose.

  • Susan

    Shhhhh, RC Dean, you are supposed to be convincing them that they will be a-okay with out us.

  • Ken

    I wonder if neutering Europe might not be a good thing. I definitely prefer a Europe sitting out conflicts to a Europe actively threatening us, as it did in the not-so-distant past.

    Now if we could get the entire Middle East to sponge off of our national defense and let their own forces atrophy, we’d be in pretty good shape. And maybe we can get China and Russia to sign on to that deal too. Keep it up long enough, and we’ll be protecting the entire world against a possible alien invasion, while every other part of the world has let their forces atrophy. Then we’d be sitting pretty, at least until the aliens showed up.

    Actually, the writers of the Federalist Papers saw this sort of thing as an advantage on the North American continent. With a single US military charged with defending every state, the individual states wouldn’t maintain significant military establishments, thus diminishing the threat they posed both to each other and to the liberties of their own citizens. Of course, we’re not taxing the Europeans to pay for the latter-day version of this scheme. On the other hand, they don’t get to vote for our fearless leaders, either; I’ll take no taxation for them in exchange for no representation for them.

  • lindenen

    “Of 1.4 million soldiers under Nato arms in October 2003, allies other than the US contributed all of 55,000. Nearly all allies lack forces which can be projected away from the European theatre. SACEUR General James Jones testified before Congress in March 2004 that only 3-4% of European forces were deployable for expeditions. Then there are the problems of interoperability: there is a recurring problem of coalition-wide secure communications which can be drawn on in operations. Allies other than the U.S. have next to no precision strike capabilities, although these are slowly improving. The US is generally the sole provider of electronic warfare (jamming and electronic intelligence) aircraft, as well as aircraft for surveillance and C3 (command, control, and communications). The US is also capable of much greater sortie rates than its allies.”

    Yeah, I’m not so sure they’ll do so well by themselves.

  • “Listen I don’t want to sound like one of those peace loving socialists, but more British troops have been killed by the US military than by the “Elite Republican Guard of Iraq”

    ‘If you hit the wrong people from a plane, you’ll probably hit yourselves from space!!’

    This isn’t quite true. The number killed by friendly fire is partially offset by the number that would have been killed had the fire support been unavailable. If no artillery were available there would be no “friendly fire” deaths due to arty. In World Wars 1 and 2, there were a lot of “friendly fire” accidents due to arty. But on the balance, artillery saved more lives than it took because it could smash enemy counterattacks and destroy fortifications scheduled for infantry attack. World War 1 was won on observed, rather than direct fire artillery.

    So when it is claimed that more British soldiers (and American for that matter) died due to “friendly fire” than enemy action, the question is how many British soldiers would have died without air support, artillery, etc. If commanders truly believed supporting fires were more dangerous to them than the enemy, they would omit it from their operatinal plan or simply refuse it.

  • Reckless Rex

    Robert Kagan beat you to this insight by a couple of years.

  • Luniversal

    The only legitimate use for military forces is defence of their homelands, so the less capable Europe’s armies are of venturing intercontinentally the better.

    No more NATO, no more UN “peacekeeping”, no more daffy crusades for “modernity”. Just guard the shores, patrol the airspace and keep the bad guys out of our own backyards. It’s a night-watchman thing.

  • RC Dean wrote:

    “They are certainly not adequate for any kind of force projection that you would need for forward or preemptive action, such as what was needed in Kosovo, for example.”

    That’s an interesting choice of example. In the real world, many of the aircraft used in the unprovoked attack on a country that had neither the ability nor the inclination to threaten its attackers were indeed from European countries. If the US military hadn’t been involved, the outcome would have been the same, it just would have taken longer and resulted in more casualties for the attackers.

    Now, it’s true that most European countries have no capability for launching unprovoked attacks against countries on the other side of the world that don’t have the ability or inclination to threaten them. But then, as someone who lives on the other side of the world from Europe, I’m happy with that.

  • The only legitimate use for military forces is defence of their homelands, so the less capable Europe’s armies are of venturing intercontinentally the better.

    No more NATO, no more UN “peacekeeping”, no more daffy crusades for “modernity”. Just guard the shores, patrol the airspace and keep the bad guys out of our own backyards. It’s a night-watchman thing.

    Hitler didn’t actually invade Canada nor did he set foot in Australia. But would it be valid to argue that he was no threat to either? Europe gets at least a quarter of its petroleum from the Persian Gulf. Is that worth defending? Japan gets 87% of its fuel through the Straits of Malacca. Should it act against pirates who block the Strait? What about the seizure of nationals overseas: could another Entebbe ever be justified. What about Kosovo or Darfur? The reason NATO came into existence is that small countries like Belgium and the Netherlands didn’t have the geographical depth to defend at the frontier.

  • I agree with Robert’s main point regarding the Europeans, but I’m afraid it doesn’t apply to South Korea.

    The reason the US kept 2nd Infantry Division in Korea was to make it impossible for North Korea to invade the south without fighting against American troops, thus automatically being at war with the US.

    2nd Division is a good unit. But it isn’t really as large a piece of the defense forces as you might think. In actuality, the South Korean military is very large and powerful, and in any hypothetical war it would do almost all the fighting on the ground. Most American involvement would be providing intelligence, air support, naval support, and in the worst case we would use nukes.

    Here is Global Security’s analysis of the ROK military.

    The argument about whether we should pull 2nd Division out is not whether South Korea would then pony up to buy its own military. It already has one. The question is rather this: If we did pull out, and there was an invasion, could South Korea win without our help? Would Americans be willing to help if our soldiers were not already involved?

    My own answers: Could the ROK win without us? Yes. There’s no question whatever that they could win. But not without suffering severe damage to their infrastructure, industrial base, and civilian economy, enough to set them back 30 years. Given how important South Korea has become as an industrial powerhouse, that would reverberate around the world in ways we probably would not like at all. It could well set off a global economic depression. (The last Depression ultimately led to WWII.)

    Would Americans be willing to help if our soldiers were not already involved? I don’t know, and I’m a bit afraid to find out.

    Of course, that all depends on the third question: Will Kim order such an attack?

    My response to that is, do you really want to bet the farm that he won’t?

  • “The only legitimate use for military forces is defence of their homelands, so the less capable Europe’s armies are of venturing intercontinentally the better.”

    So… if (say) Iran or Syria started funding hundreds of terrorist suicide squads to blow up railroad stations, water pumping facilities, football stadiums etc., your response would be… what, exactly?

    Call a special session of the United Nations to issue a resolution of condemnation?

  • “So… if (say) Iran or Syria started funding hundreds of terrorist suicide squads to blow up railroad stations, water pumping facilities, football stadiums etc., your response would be… what, exactly?”

    I’m not Luniversal, but I’ll take a stab at it. Since that scenario is about as likely as this one, I suggest we get the imaginary suicide squads and the fictional Martians to fight each other.

    One thing I absolutely would not do is waste money building up a huge military with the capability to attack any country on earth, as rather dramatic historical evidence shows that such a military is totally worthless against even 19 suicidal terrorists, let alone hundreds.

  • Luniversal

    Du Toit: “So… if (say) Iran or Syria started funding hundreds of terrorist suicide squads to blow up railroad stations, water pumping facilities, football stadiums etc., your response would be… what, exactly?”

    Please read the whole post:

    “Just guard the shores, patrol the airspace and keep the bad guys out of our own backyards. It’s a night-watchman thing.”

    And if you don’t send armies abroad, conceivably you won’t provoke so many people to attack you at home, even assuming they could mount such ops.

    Hagler: The problem is that America’s hyperpower army has been crafted by the military industrial complex for its profits rather than to meet realistic threats. The complex’s propaganda arm has had to invent gigantic bogeymen (godless communism in the 1950s, “Islamofascism” with WMDs today) to justify dropsical “defense” budgets. But the assymmetry between hosts of unusable nuclear warheads on one side and painfully effective boxcutters on the other is becoming obvious to most observers– except the armchair liberventionists on this site.

  • Mr. Hagler, has it occurred to you that the reason that scenario is unlikely is because we already have a huge military, which we could and would use to retaliate if they did such a thing?

  • Mr. Den Beste, I very much doubt the fictional Martians care about your military. Or were you referring to the other paranoid fantasy? That’s one of H.L. Mencken’s imaginary hobgoblins. Even a country which has no fear of retaliation can’t manage to send suicidal terrorists in such large numbers.

  • ed

    Hmmm.

    1. It’s very much time America abandoned NATO.
    Frankly America has gotten little from membership in NATO. After 9/11 Article 5 of NATO was invoked, for an impressive result of pretty much nothing at all. Fact is that NATO is more useful to the other members as they can then use American military assests with near impunity. Does it surprise anyone that the French use NATO auspices to transport French paratroopers on American heavy lift transport planes?

    2. European militaries are a joke.
    Even Britain’s military is shrinking substantially. By the end of 2004 there will be more civilian contractors running the British military than there are actual enlisted and officers. This happened to the Army a couple years ago.

    Additionally the substantial differences in C3 (Command, Control and Communication) capabilities results in requirements that forces are segregated. There’s a reason why British forces were kept completely separate from American ones during the Iraq Liberation. No offense but Britain hasn’t, and won’t, invest the necessary funds to maintain the technology required. Even now there’s serious considerations in severely reducing the size of the British military. Frankly I expect the London Constabulary to have larger roster than the Army in a few years.

    The military capabilities of the rest of Europe isn’t even worth discussing.

    3. 19 hijackers.
    These schmoes, and their actions, had nothing to do with the military. Claiming that a large military is somehow incapable of dealing with 19 hijackers is irrelevant and grossly misrepresents the truth. Fact is that the American military in Iraq has killed and captured tens of thousands of terrorist and potential terrorists in Iraq. From the time of the Liberation to the present.

    Read up on it. Read the lamentations of Syrians, Egyptians and Palestinians who went to Iraq to fight Americans, and then were betrayed by Iraqis and killed.

    4. South Korea.
    Personally I’d consider South Korea a pretty kick ass military. They’ve got a paper tiger for politicians and their class of college students are as idiotic as the ones here in America. But their military is very much on the ball. Frankly any kind of war between North Korea and South Korea could only end in the destruction of the NK. The biggest problem is that RoK doesn’t want to do this for many reasons, including the example of West Germany.

    5. Iraq.
    *shrug*. What amazes me is that so few people mention the Tomb of Ali. A major shrine for the Shia’a, of which the majority of people in Iran are a member, there is a requirement for pilgrimages to that tomb for all Shia’a.

    Could anyone come up with a more corrosive environment for the mullahs of Iran than this? A free independent and democratic Iraq wouldn’t just be a neighborly example for people to see. It would be a place that they would have to visit, and experience, sometime during their lifetimes. And the mullahs couldn’t even prevent this as any such ban on pilgrimages would completely undermine their authority.

    6. Let’s abandon Europe.
    Frankly I’ve got a bottle of excellent brandy awaiting this situation. I’ve got another one just in case the UN up and dies too. I’d be in real trouble if both happened at the same time. :)

    Perhaps Europeans should wonder what would the consequences be if America really didn’t give a damn what happens to Europe. Because that’s the direction things are heading.

    For myself. I couldn’t care less if America withdrew from NATO and all bilateral treaties with European nations and then left them to live or die on their own merits. And if someone conquered them? So what. Like I care.

  • A_t

    So ed, any suggestions as to who’s about to conquer us then? Anyone you think could realistically do it within the next 10-20 years?