Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Nato is a threat to Europe and must be disbanded

NATO has outlived its usefulness and must be disbanded. This is the suggestion of Jonathan Steele in a new comment at the Guardian. I agree with Mr. Steele: NATO served the purpose of containing the communist world while there was still a communist world. Today, there is little if any threat posed by Russia to European security, and NATO exists only as a means for the United States to meddle in European affairs and as a stepping stone for their imperial wars in the Near East. Once the new security structures of the European Union are in place, we must do away with this dinosaur. NATO members to the east of the EU can decide whether or not they want to stay in a trimmed down NATO, or enter in bilateral agreements with the US or the EU.

Nato is a threat to Europe and must be disbanded


They walk the walk. They talk the talk. But they don't think the think. In the wake of the huge support given to George Bush last week, it's time we realised how different America's majority culture is, and changed our policies accordingly.

What Americans share with Europeans are not values, but institutions. The distinction is crucial. Like us, they have a separation of powers between executive and legislature, an independent judiciary, and the rule of law. But the American majority's social and moral values differ enormously from those which guide most Europeans.

Its dangerous ignorance of the world, a mixture of intellectual isolationism and imperial intervention abroad, is equally alien. In the United States more people have guns than have passports. Is there one European nation of which the same is true?

Of course, millions of US citizens do share "European" values. But to believe that this minority amounts to 48% and that America is deeply polarised is incorrect. It encourages the illusion that things may improve when Bush is gone. In fact, most Kerry voters are as conservative as the Bush majority on the issues which worry Europeans. Kerry never came out for US even-handedness on the Israel-Palestine conflict, or for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Many commentators now argue for Europe to distance itself. But vague pleas for greater European coherence or for Tony Blair to end his close links with the White House are not enough. The call should not be for "more" independence. We need full independence.


At November 10, 2004 at 5:06 AM, Blogger jonnybutter said...

Of course, millions of US citizens do share "European" values. But to believe that this minority amounts to 48% and that America is deeply polarised is incorrect.America is not really deeply polarized; it is artificially polarized. But it's very foolish to write off the 48+% in this way (remember, that's 48% of 60% of eligible voters).

It encourages the illusion that things may improve when Bush is gone. In fact, most Kerry voters are as conservative as the Bush majority on the issues which worry Europeans.No. I notice the Guardian person mentions only Israel/Palestine, which is a fair complaint, but what else? Israel/Palestine certainly worries the Guardian most...(it worries me, too. I hate our policy there, and Kerry wouldn't have taken the 'Guardian' line, but also wouldn't have done what Bush has, which is to simply leave Sharon unfettered. Clinton had the same campaign rhetoric as Kerry, but he at least tried - pretty hard at times, although I for one am not satisfied. The mainstream left in the US is not as pro-Palestinian as is the European left, but that doesn't justify collapsing 'the issues which worry Europeans' to the one issue of Israel/Palestine).

Once the new security structures of the European Union are in place..That's a very big 'once', isn't it? I notice the Europeans were shockingly diffident about the Balkans wars in the 90s - genocide in the center of Europe. NATO was pretty handy then, particularly in Kosovo, albeit a bit late in moving.

Listen, by far most Americans who are part of the 48% are APPALLED that the worst president in our history was re-elected. Appalled. Nauseated. There is a large difference between the two sides, and 51% vs 48% is not the 'sea change' the winners are pretending it is. Bush is a radical, and has a whole lot of ignorant people in his thrall for the moment. Look for a very much more sober America in a few years. I don't blame Europeans for being appalled, too. But this is a bit breathless, a bit much.

If Bush succeeds in wrecking the US's finances, however, you may get your wish whether you want it then or not.

At November 10, 2004 at 5:30 AM, Blogger Psellos said...

In Kosovo the Americans supported Albanian terrorists against Serbs. No Americans like to talk about the 1.5 million ethnic Serbs 'cleansed' from Croatia, or how ethnic Serbs were cleansed from Bosnia and Kosovo. Their media fed them with images of conveniently communist bad Serbs, conforming to the American good vs. evil mentality.

The European powers were no better in that conflict, though. It was the rush of the Europeans, especially Germany to recognize all the breakaway states before a solution could be found to the ethnic minority problems that was directly responsible for the Yugoslavian crisis.

I advise you to educate yourself about the real history of the 1990s. If you want to believe the standard history of bad Serbs oppressing everyone else, go right ahead though.

At November 10, 2004 at 7:17 PM, Blogger jonnybutter said...

I'm well aware that neither the Croats nor the Kosovars wore 'white hats' in that whole period (especially the Croats). I'm also aware that premature recognition of the countries of former Yugoslavia begged the wars. That doesn't obviate anything else I wrote. The European reaction was 'do nothing'.

At November 11, 2004 at 4:44 AM, Blogger Psellos said...

The European Union has learned some lessons from that time, and is moving towards its own defense policy and military force. 'Do nothing' was no worse a policy than 'Screw the Serbs' though.

At November 11, 2004 at 5:49 AM, Blogger jonnybutter said...

'Do nothing' was no worse a policy than 'Screw the Serbs' though.That's at least debatable.

Well, when you get your security arrangements worked out, and you've withdrawn from NATO, the EU can 'go it alone' in difficult situations like the Balkans - just like our moron president chooses to. Have fun!

At November 11, 2004 at 7:29 AM, Blogger Psellos said...

Bush's mistake was not 'going alone' but 'going'.

At November 28, 2004 at 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Please,
You Europeans really don't understand America, and you only listen to the ultra leftist apologists on this board. First, on American ignorance- I have travelled overseas fairly extensively and have met many of the "educated, enlightened" European backpackers out there. While most of them were nice people, they were no more educated and enligtened about Amreican culture and geopgraphy than the average American is about theirs. Most had no idea where Washington State was and mistook it for Washington D.C. when I told them where I was from. In fact, most only knew about Los Angeles, New York, the Grand Canyon, and possibly San Francisco. And these were the ones out travelling the world.

Not only that, it is unfair to criticize American education. About 80% of Europeans get an academic education up to the 8th grade and then go into some sort of vocational training. Only the elite go on to university. In fact, many of these elite come to U.S. universities. If their educational system is so much better, than why don't they stay in Europe to get their higher education?

What Europeans fail to understand about Bush and U.S. foreign policy is that the United States very much is a country at war and Europe is not. Bush is a wartime president. Bush supporters, and in fact many Kerry supporters, do see the radical Islamists as a threat to Western Ideas and values. To Americans this was no longer an abstraction when 3000 of their citizens lost their lives in one day to these radicals.

The United States, for its own security, must achieve the short term objective of destroying Al Quieda. The only way to do this is to gain fear and respect in the Middle East, based on the premise that they are never in our lifetime going to like the West enough to want to cooperate otherwise. Being nice to them and bending over to their demands is not going to make them like us any more. Their collective distrust and dislike of the West goes back way beyond anyting that recent U.S. foreign policy did. This starts with the Crusades, Western (European) colonialism, the Isreali conflict, and the fact that the radical branch of their religion is every bit as intolerant as the Spanish Inquisition or the Nazis.

And many Americans do equate the Iraq war with the wider war on the Islamist Terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center. You may say this is ignorant, but if you look at it from a geopolitical perspective it makes sense. Is it not easier to persuade Iran to drop their nuclear weapons program with several U.S. divisions on their border? Or to pesuade nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to arrest Al Quida members and supporters?

Of course, none of that really matters to those who sympathize with our enemies or who see U.S. power in the Middle East as a threat to their own interests. Western European nations oppose the U.S. presence in the Middle East not because they are morally outraged by war and "imperialism" , but because they are in fact our competitors, not our allies. At least that is how they see themselves.

However, they are shooting themselves in the foot with this additude and they do not even realize it. They are part of Western civilization still, are they not? They are stupid if they think that they will escape this problem of Islamist Anti-Western Fascism. Western Civilization almost ended in the Middle Ages. If European forces did not win the battle of Poiters, we would all be bowing to Mecca five times a day and there would be no such thing as a Western Liberal. It is Western Liberalism and the ideas of intellectual freedom put forth by thinkers such as Voltaire that allows the left to hate Western institutions and ideas.

At November 29, 2004 at 3:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thread of force is more terrifying than force itself. America was once feared, and thought of as omnipotent, especially after Gulf War I. After Gulf War II, it is obvious that America is weak, has tied up all its ground forces in a nation of 26 million, and doing a poor job at it as well. Most dictators know full well that America will not risk another war, unless it wants to reinstitute the draft or destroy itself financially. The world is less safe today because of the invasion of Iraq.


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