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Title: NATO’s Problem Is that Europeans Won’t Fight
Source: AstuteNews (via AsiaTimes)
URL Source: https://astutenews.com/2018/07/13/n ... -is-that-europeans-wont-fight/
Published: Jul 13, 2018
Author: Spengler
Post Date: 2018-07-15 09:03:17 by Tooconservative
Keywords: None
Views: 118
Comments: 3

President Trump outraged European opinion by denouncing his allies on the far side of the Atlantic for their failure to meet NATO’s spending target of 2% of GDP.

Other alliance members, he added, should spend 4% of their output on defense, just like America does. His dudgeon at the Europeans was more than justified: the Europeans really are deadbeats who don’t pay their fair share of the cost of defending their own countries and leave the burden in the hands of American soldiers and taxpayers.

Trump’s remonstrations will fall on deaf ears. Why should Europeans spend money on arms, when they have no intention of using them?
A recent opinion poll found that small minorities in the core European members of NATO were willing to fight for their country under any circumstances.

willingtofight

At the bottom of the rankings were the Netherlands and Germany, at 16% and 18% respectively; at the top was Poland, with 48%. Outside of European NATO, 56% of Russians, 66% of Israelis, 44% of Americans and 74% of Finns said they were willing to fight. The Israeli number reflects the diffidence of Israeli Arabs, who comprise about one fifth of the population. One wonders what would happen if Finland were to invade the Netherlands.

If you don’t plan to fight, you don’t need weapons, and it is no surprise that Germany, with its budget surplus, can’t bring itself to vote for urgently-need funds for its military. Germany’s armed forces are in disrepair; a German brigade designated to lead a NATO rapid response force has only nine of the 44 tanks it requires and only four of the country’s military aircraft are combat ready.

If there’s nothing you’re willing to die for, there’s probably nothing you’re willing to live for, either, I argued in a 2014 essay on the hundredth anniversary of the First World War (see “Musil and Meta-Musil”). It should be no surprise that there is a reasonably close correspondence between the willingness of the Europeans to fight for their nations and their willingness to have children. If you care so little for your country that you will not defend it, you are likely to be too absorbed in hedonistic distraction to bother with children. Conversely, if there are to be no future generations, who will lay down his life to fight for them?

The chart below compares the total fertility for European countries (and adds Israel for good measure; that’s the lonely dot in the upper-right-hand quadrant). The r2 of regression is about 50%, with significance at the 99.9% confidence level.

fight-vs-fertility

Russia is indeed a potential threat to NATO, although the likelihood of a Russian attack on any NATO member is vanishingly small for the interim. The Russians are willing to fight, unlike the Western Europeans. Coincidentally, Russia’s total fertility rate has recovered remarkably and now stands about 1.7 children per female, close to that of the United States – and from the available Pew Survey data, that rate applies to European Russians as well as to Russian Muslims.

total-fertility

Russia remains below replacement fertility – about 2.1 children – and its population continues to decline, but far less quickly than the consensus believed it would only a few years ago. Vladimir Putin runs a nasty regime in which nosy journalists fall out of windows and regime opponents disappear, but Russia nonetheless has succeeded in reviving something of its national spirit where the Europeans have not.

The matter of dying for one’s country always has constituted a paradox in classical liberal thinking, by which I mean the viewpoint of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, the English philosophers who argued that governments are formed by individuals who feel insecure in a “state of nature” and cede some of their personal sovereignty to the state in return for protection of life and property.

The idea is preposterous, but sadly influential. If governments are formed by individuals solely to protect their sorry persons and filthy lucre, why would any of these individuals lay down his life to defend the government, allowing those who do not die to benefit as free riders? In Locke’s day, to be sure, the British Army hired starving Irishmen and dispossessed farmers to do its fighting. When Napoleon unleashed the full force of citizen armies upon his European neighbors, classical liberalism had nothing more to say.

Something more than Locke’s notion of a mutual protection society is required if we are to justify the state’s monopoly of violence, its right to imprison or kill criminals at home, and to demand of its young people that they shed blood in its defense. The state must be imbued with a sense of the sacred and must stand surety for the continuity of our lives with those of generations that follow. It must preserve a heritage and a culture that allows our words and deeds to speak to future generations just as those of our ancestors speak to us.

Today’s Europe is something of a Lockean dystopia: It is composed of individuals concerned mainly about their own hedonic enjoyments, who want the government to protect them from want and disease, but have no desire whatever to defend their nations, which are on a slow boat to extinction in any event.

It is refreshing to hear an American president call the Europeans out for the sybarites and deadbeats they are, rather than repeat the old cant about the glories of the Atlantic Alliance and the gallantry of America’s allies.

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#1. To: All (#0)

AsiaTimes: Would America fight in northern Europe? A question for NATO

. . .

NATO has been concerned about the threat of hybrid warfare, especially in the Baltic states. There are well over one million ethnic Russians living in the Baltic countries, mostly concentrated in the cities. Many of them do not have local citizenship but keep their Russian passports.  Latvia has an overall Russian population of 27.6%; its main city of Riga is 50% Russian. Estonia has 321,198 Russians and its capital Tallinn is 38.5% Russian. Lithuania has less – some 174,900 Russians, but a heavy concentration in Vilnius of almost 14.5% Russian.

Hybrid warfare is a designation of a sort of ethnic or political or military conflict like that taking place today in the Eastern Ukraine region of Donbass where pro-Russian separatist forces set up the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Russian volunteers are known to be supporting local separatists and reportedly Russian troops are also providing active assistance, along with supplying weapons – including the infamous BUK missiles that shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in July, 2014.

Military spending by NATO

Baltic states’ military weakness

The Baltic states’ military capabilities are weak and probably could not offer any serious resistance to a Russian army attack. Estonia spends around 533 million euros (in 2018) for defense; its army has no tanks and has only 2,700 full-time soldiers and 3,100 conscripts. It has no air force or navy. Latvia has 4,600 soldiers and 8,000 in its National Guard. It spends 576 million euros on defense. Latvia has no tanks and no air force. Lithuania has the largest Baltic army of 20,565 and spends 873 million euros on defense. It has no tanks, a tiny navy (600 men) and no real air force.

Would any NATO member, particularly the US, want to get involved in a drawn-out, bloody and complex war scenario that resembles Donbass in the Ukraine?

For the most part NATO, notably the US and Poland, are supposed to make up the difference, but there are issues that make this a very difficult undertaking. These include the problem of resupplying NATO forces (assuming NATO forces stick around in a fight); the lack of commonality in NATO weapons (Germany’s Leopard II tanks, the few of them that work, would need a steady supply of spare parts if they survive for more than a few hours in an actual conflict); and the fact that the Russians would definitely attempt to foreclose bases, staging areas, airfields and ports where NATO resupply might take place. Even bigger than the logistical and operational challenge is the fact that NATO forces, even if they were all available and on the ground would be at a massive disadvantage.

Making the fight even more difficult could be riots by ethnic Russians and reinforcements by Russian “volunteers” following the Ukraine model. This makes intervention highly problematic as does any obligation to do so under the NATO Charter’s famous Article 5, the collective defense undertaking in the treaty.

Would any NATO member, particularly the United States, want to get involved in a drawn-out, bloody and complex war scenario that resembles Donbass? This is what the Russians have been practicing. And despite the fact that Europe (with some help from the US) helped stir up the Ukrainian mess, no NATO country has done much to bail out the Ukrainians. Ukraine itself tried to join NATO, but was rejected.

Anti-NATO mood, doubts about Germany

An even greater problem for the United States is why it should fight, especially if the unfolding situation is hybrid in character, or if the local states provoke matters with the Russians, as seems potentially likely the case in the power grid controversy. Today’s mood in Washington is not too friendly to NATO or to Europeans, who have not lived up to their agreed obligations and who have diluted NATO by setting up a separate and independent European command with an unclear mandate.

Then there is, in the background. the very real problem that key NATO allies could be put out of business by only the turn of a gas valve by the Russians. Germany, as US President Donald Trump recently noted, is 70% dependent on Russian natural gas that it needs to run industries, generate electricity and heat homes. Even if Washington had an inclination to fight in Poland or the Balkans, there is a very good chance its most important strategically positioned ally, Germany, won’t.

The US cannot support the Balkans or Poland without the Germans because Germany is a vital staging ground. Nor can NATO’s Article 5 work without 100% consensus.  Germany presents a real problem and President Trump has laid it bare.

Without a radical upgrade in NATO’s posture and serious allied cooperation (not just some token troops rotating in and out of the Balkans), the US may not fight the next war in Europe since: NATO won’t necessarily agree; it is likely Germany might not cooperate; and the American people may see no upside to getting into a shooting war with Russia.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-07-15   9:22:07 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Tooconservative (#0)

It is refreshing to hear an American president call the Europeans out for the sybarites and deadbeats they are, rather than repeat the old cant about the glories of the Atlantic Alliance and the gallantry of America’s allies.

Yes, indeed it is refreshing.

Can you imagine that vile, corrupt rapist-enabling Hillary Milhous Felon in any of the settings over the last 18 months? It is to cringe and thank God.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2018-07-15   15:54:58 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Hank Rearden (#2)

Can you imagine that vile, corrupt rapist-enabling Hillary Milhous Felon in any of the settings over the last 18 months? It is to cringe and thank God.

I have yet to think that anything Trump does is as bad as all the stuff Hitlery would be perpetrating as prez.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-07-15   16:58:29 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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