Mr. Bush Goes to NATO

When President Bush attends the NATO summit in Riga this week the big question will be Afghanistan. NATO achieved success against the Soviet Union by NOT fighting. In Afghanistan NATO is in a shooting war where Americans, British, Dutch, Canadians and non-NATO Australians are doing the actual fighting while others are offering to hold their coats.

NATO involvement in Afghanistan is universally recognized as lawful & necessary. NATO is there with a UN mandate and at the specific request of the country's democratically elected government. It is a multilateral enterprise. Even those who claim to dislike U.S. policy have no excuse not to participate if they are serious about promoting stability and fighting terrorism. It is an opportunity for the world to show that it can get along without relying on the U.S. do the heavy lifting. Bring it on. Show us you do not need the U.S.

At the Riga Summit the allies will talk about capabilities. Europeans spend less on their militaries than the U.S. does and they do not get the same bang for the Euro. They are not equipped as well as U.S. foreces and immobile European armies almost complely lack strategic lift capacity, although we hope this will soon be remedied.

During the Cold War the U.S. was the security provider of last resort. Burden sharing is not a new issue for the alliance. When facing the Soviets, Europeans could justifiably claim that their immobile self defense forces were doing a vital job just by hunkering down. Europeans leftists and pacifists hysterically protested against President Reagan and demanded the U.S. leave because they knew that we really would not and could not abdicate our security responsibilities. This time is gone. Threats are now global. While we no longer face the existential threat posed by the Soviet Union, we now face practical real problems to which the responses cannot be limited to staying at home and "being ready".

The U.S. really cannot and should not go it alone and others do not want us to try. Unfortunately not many countries can provide significant help and even fewer have the desire or will to do it. U.S. capability and propensity to act and the lack of both those things in others are two sides of the same coin. It is unhealthy all around.

I will be interested in the statement that comes out of the Riga Summit. It does not take a crystal ball to anticipate that the alliance will declare that it must be prepared to confront global threats and the member nations will declare that they are prepared to develop the capabilities to carry out this mission.

NATO is the most successful alliance in history. It is the only persistent multinational alliance among democracies. It was designed to keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Soviets out. It evolved into an effective engine for European peace, first creating the security and trust that allowed the creation of the EU and later successfully integrating major former communist countries into Europe free and whole. If all this seems natural and even inevitable, it is because NATO made it so. Maybe the world is not so hopeless either.

Posted by Jack at November 26, 2006 2:08 AM
Comments
Comment #196474

Good article Jack. The problem since the fall of the Soviet Union however, is that there is no consensus on how perceived threats should be handled. The US and the EU elements of the alliance tend often to have differing views on how threats and emerging threats should be handled.

Take the case of the Bosnia. The British made every excuse for not acting there, until Clinton pushed the thing along and started the bombing campaign on the Serbs. I recall TV interviews with British politicos and Diplomats explaining why they would not support intervention. I don’t recall what the German and French positions were, but I seem to recall that the Germans very quickly recognised the emerging separate states, in particular Croatia. This is course was to Europes shame, that we did not want to act against the greatest evil since the Nazis on our own backyard. Of course my own country, with a traditional but obsolete policy of military neutrality, which is shamefully espoused by the left and any suggestion of modification of it creates a screaming contest with the same elements, cannot, much as many Irish would like to, sit back pridefully innocent. Our policy is hypocritical and smug in the extreme. But then we are a very young state, still in adolencence. The Soviet Union was a target rich environment that was easy to focus and agree on. Lesser threats do not produce the same easy consensus.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at November 26, 2006 9:07 AM
Comment #196476

Paul

I hear what you are saying.

The Soviet Union grew into the perfect sort of enemy. It was threatening enough and people could invoke end of the world scenarios. On the other hand there was almost no chance of actually fighting. It was like the guy who lifts weights and works out to fight Mike Tyson, but never actually has the opportunity.

War is not like other endeavors. Nobody really wants to do it, but everyone knows somebody has to. A country like the U.S. is (to use the bad old word) a hegemon. Hegemony confers some benefits but lots of unpleasant responsibilities. In the modern world, the joy of hegemony is become less valuable.

The U.S. guarantees the trade routes, provides security of last resort and provide most of the logistics to respond to natural disasters. In the past, that would mean that the hegeom could determine who could use the related goods. The U.S. embarked on a new model after WWII. It was a more inclusive and open system. It created an amazingly peaceful (yes, I know that it not convention wisdom) and prosperous world.

The U.S. effectively subsidized its allies by handling most of the world’s security. Allies such as the French, Germans and Spanish could carry on w/o having to carry on the full cost of protecting their security. Friendly (but non allied) countries also benefited and even hostile powers could use the common security.

The U.S. also traded economics for security, allowing allies to maintain high tariff barriers that helped them build their export driven economies. The U.S. could do this because our economy was so powerful in relation to others and we enjoyed the considerable advantage of seniorage, i.e. the dollar was the world’s reserve currency.

All these things had degraded by the 1970s. We had a brief renaissance under President Reagan and we defeated the Soviet Empire on essentially borrowed time. The 1990s were the most benign circumstances possible. It gave us (and others) the impression all would be well if we did nothing. This was wrong.

Europeans are in the position the U.S. was until WWII. The Royal Navy effectively protected us and we enjoyed the financial infrastructure created by the British Empire. In return, we could maintain a small military and concentrate on economic development all the while contrasting British aggression and perfidy with our own untested virtue.

When the Brits were no longer able to sustain the system, we had to step in. But we did not do that right away. We dithered and believed our own isolationist rhetoric. Between the wars the world had nobody who could carry on the hegemon role and remember how bad a time that was. Remember also that it ended in the biggest war in human history.

I am afraid that the U.S. is reaching the end of its ability to be global hegemon. There is no replacement on the horizon. But the U.S. is declining only relatively. It is less of a hegemon not because of actual decline, but because others are doing so well in the world largely made possible by U.S. hegemony. These are unique circumstances. Maybe if we all can understand and accept what is happening (this includes Europeans and others understanding that they must step up) we can avoid repeating the lost decades between the wars.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 10:23 AM
Comment #196477

Good article Jack. I think, crazy as it may sound, that Paul in Euroland has hit the nail on the head. From what I’ve read, the Germans were the first nation to recognize Croatian independence, then sat back and did nothing as Croats and Serbs butchered one another. I’m pretty sure Germany had to modify their constitution to participate in the Balkans campaign and this does take time, but Germany’s quick recognition was pivotal in the events that followed. Europe missed a golden opportunity to come out from under the US in Bosnia and failed to do so. And then they wonder why the US still feels like it can dictate to them. The thing that is stunning to me about Europe is that even with their large Muslim minorities, which are far larger, poorer, and less integrated into society than America’s, they seem to refuse to acknowledge the threat that is radical Islam.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 26, 2006 10:28 AM
Comment #196479

BTW - I am not sure we can call Ireland a young country. It is a young state, but an old nation. The Irish provided a lot of the muscle of the British imperial enterprise. I know many people in Ireland will not agree, but I consider the British Empire a net good in world history. Ireland has a lot more experience than its short statehood would imply. In that respect it is more like the fledgling U.S.

You know, Ireland as a state is just about four score and seven years old. When my country was that old, we were in the midst of a great civil war with Irish brigades fighting on both sides. It seems that Ireland sent many of its most aggressive citizens to the U.S. Maybe that happened to the rest of Europe too. I do not mean this only as a joke. Immigrants were self selecting. Their personalities probably differed at least a little from those who stayed at home. Over time this would affect the cultures.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 10:33 AM
Comment #196480

1lt and Paul

Yes, I think Paul has a very good point.

The recognition of former Yugoslav states was way too fast. Those borders did not make real sense. It was like declaring Wisconsin a nationality and then setting up defensive barriers at the Illinois border.

A better policy might have been to move some of those borders to reflect the realities on the ground. My guess is that Serbia would be bigger and Bosnia might not exist at all. It would have seemed a lot less ideal, but fewer people would have been killed. Early recognition created difficult to defend borders and enclaves. The only place it really worked was Slovenia.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 10:40 AM
Comment #196485
The Irish provided a lot of the muscle of the British imperial enterprise. I know many people in Ireland will not agree, but I consider the British Empire a net good in world history.
It seems that Ireland sent many of its most aggressive citizens to the U.S. Maybe that happened to the rest of Europe too. I do not mean this only as a joke. Immigrants were self selecting.

Jack, I find the above quotes quite stunning in their complete ignorance of the truth. Clearly you need to do some reading so that you won’t further embarrass yourself using glib terms like “self selecting immigration” and “net good” when you talk about the British.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 26, 2006 12:21 PM
Comment #196488

Sorry, the second link in my post should have been this one.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 26, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #196489

Adrienne

Sorry to incur the wrath of the Celts.

Being neither English nor Celtic, I don’t have a dog in that fight. What I meant by the comment about the muscle is that British forces contained a disproportionate number of Irish and Scots. The Scots did particularly well in the Empire. Read Niall Ferguson’s (a Scot BTW)”Empire”.

I do believe that it is likely that emigrants would differ from those who stayed at home. The fact that they moved and other did not is an important difference. In the U.S. the Irish and Scots Irish were in the forefront of settling the frontier and fighting those who were there.

Beyond that, when people move away from their traditional homes, their attitudes change.

I know you have been to Scotland. Me too. Very pretty, but not the kind of place that could support a large population if you had to live off the land. That is probably why a majority of Scots dna resides outside Scotland.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #196490

Jack just read my links. I don’t mean to insult you, but you honestly don’t know what you’re talking about.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 26, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #196499

Adrienne

I do not know if you are trying to make the point that the English did bad things. I would say that you are right. History is full of people doing bad things. Most of the time people who are active do more things than those who are not. I said I believe that the British Empire was net (i.e. on balance) a good thing. That is compared to other similarly situated empires.

I understand the English oppressed the Scots and the Irish (and lots of other people). Some of my ancestors were Polish. They had to contend with the Russians, who made the English look like pikers when it came to oppression. But the Russians would say that the Tartars and the Moguls were even worse, and they would be right. The great Asian empires raised oppression to scientific levels. It depends on who is oppressing whom.

So I will stipulate that the Brits were sometimes cruel and sometimes incompetent.

I have yet to find a significant civilization where I would want to be among the subjects, but if I had to go with any pre 20th Century civilization, America would of course be my first choice. After that maybe the Swedes (in Norway) but right after that would be the Brits. BTW - I know if any Norwegians are reading this, they will disagree.

Until recently almost everybody was either a cruel psychopath himself or lived under a cruel government or both. Life sucked all over, or as Hobbes put it better, life was nasty, brutish and short. In fact, that condition is still very common today.

Anyway, my comment about the Irish was not a central part of the post. Just a little side comment.

And don’t worry. Nobody has been able to insult me for nigh on 20 years.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 3:58 PM
Comment #196510

Jack, I know your comment was only an aside, and you are entitled to your opinion that the British Empire was on balance a “net good.” I just happen to see it differently, and I think it is obviously wrong for you to say that it was “self selecting immigration” that brought most people from the UK to the US to live. Instead, it was mainly brought about through cruelty, starvation, and clearly intentional ethnic cleansing. The British Empire was built by a military that was a direct result of all that oppression and control, which in turn, was then used to oppress and control people in various other parts of the world.

I also strongly disagree with your assessment of the Scottish Highlands:

Very pretty, but not the kind of place that could support a large population if you had to live off the land. That is probably why a majority of Scots dna resides outside Scotland.

I get the feeling the reason you think it is “very pretty” is because it is so deserted and empty, and because of this, you don’t believe it could support a large population, but this isn’t true at all. Did you read my link about The Clearances? A huge number of people in the Highlands were forcibly removed, their houses were burned down, and they were made to emigrate elsewhere by the Lairds of their clans (who had over time become appendages within the British aristocracy — who were of course the true rulers of Scotland after Cromwell, and then the Treaty of Union) because it was more lucretive to raise sheep for wool, or deer parks for sport. Highlanders themselves were doing just fine farming, raising animals, hunting and fishing on all of that land before the era of The Clearances — and indisputable fact of the matter is, they loved their homes and their communties and would never, ever have left if they’d been given any choice in the matter.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 26, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #196514

Adrienne

Again, a side talk but interesting.

Yes, I do like the empty land of Scotland. I learned about the enclosures while I was there and studied the history of place. I am not saying it could not support a bigger population, but not much bigger. The soil is not good for crops in the most of the highlands and it is too steep.

The enclosures were cruel, but having the land in pasture and game makes more sense.

We have the same thing going on in the U.S. but it is more gradual and peaceful. Many rural areas are depopulating. The land CAN support more people living on it, but they will not be able to live well on the smaller plots.

Re self selecting - I do not mean they just decided to leave. Most emigrants in those days left because of hunger or oppression. In other parts of Europe, you saw the same situation in highlands. Highlands tended to produce more people than the thin soils could support.

You know the same mountain chain that runs through Scotland starts in the southern U.S. and then continues on to Norway. It was connected in Pangea. The experience of people living in those highlands under different regimes is almost the same. Norway exported about 1/3 of its population to N. America during the 19th Century and you recall how prosperous the Scots-Irish of the Appalachians are. In the old days they would leave or starve too.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #196523

Jack
I find your article and your first comment to Paul very interesting, but I differ from some of your conclusions because I think the US enjoys and vigorously protects our global hegemony.
We like to complain about the weakness of others, but we feel threatened when they try to step up. We put up barriers and make threats to protect our influence, our power.
Do you see a future when we actually step aside and let true burden sharing become a possibility?
Unfortunately, it seems like an impossible dream.

Christine

Posted by: Christine at November 26, 2006 8:46 PM
Comment #196532

Christine

It is a kind of pathology of power and weakness. The powerful want to go it alone and the weak want to let them. Both complain about it. I think we would truly like our allies to share some of the burden, but we cannot let go until they CAN and WILL. It is fun to be in the driver’s seat and fun to ride free. It is hard for both to give up do the right thing.

As Paul mentions, the Euros would not even handle a terrible genocide in their own backyard. We all know that nothing will be done in Darfur unless we take the lead. Nothing was done in Rwanda. On the other side, we have discussed way too often that the U.S. acted to swiftly in Iraq.

The old saying that if a man’s only tool is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail. U.S. strength and weakness of others determines what methods they prefer.

Posted by: Jackj at November 26, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #196542

Good article, Jack. After reading Gen. Wes Clark’s book, I’m a big fan of NATO. I hope the organization keeps improving and transitioning to a post-Cold War “peace making” force (as opposed to UN “peace keeping” forces).

And I wish them all the best in Afghanistan. Seeing as how the Bush way of war has failed in Iraq, it’s vital to get things right in Afghanistan. If the EU way of war doesn’t work (which it has in the Balkans, East Timor and elsewhere — but this is the toughest situation so far), then there’s no point in talking about large-scale stabilization operations and we might as well go back to lobbing Tomahawk missiles at the bad guys like a big game of whack-a-mole.

I hope the US can soon refocus intelligence and Special Forces assets from Iraq to Afghanistan as the British are starting to do… Although, you can make the case that the Afghan operation is as successful as it is thanks to Bush’s benign neglect. :/

Posted by: American Pundit at November 27, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #196546

AP

A minor point. There is no EU way of war. The EU shares assets with NATO and NATO doesn’t work w/o the U.S. or more precisely U.S. infrastructure and logistics. There is sort of a NATO way, but that is in development. In most of its history, NATO never fought anybody. There is a big difference between policing an established peace and peace establishment.

I have been a NATO supporter all my life. I was in Warsaw when President Clinton announced U.S. support for Polish membership in NATO and watched the crowds. It was a great moment to be American. It was important to recognize the subtlety. The crowds were cheering less because they were joining an abstract alliance and much more because they were joining an alliance with and guarenteed by the United States. They had that right.

We need to move to a better sharing of burdens. There is a lot of talk, but rhetoric cannot transport troops or secure cities. As I wrote in the top post, only a few NATO members (and some non-members) will actually put their troops in harm’s way. Most prefer to police that established peace.

Posted by: Jack at November 27, 2006 1:42 AM
Comment #196550

1LTB,

Europe missed a golden opportunity to come out from under the US in Bosnia and failed to do so.

Agreed. We tried the multipolar/international community way. Right after the Gulf War, it sounded right to every european countries. Unfortunatly, it doesn’t works.
Not because the troops were too weak but because the ROE they were tied to were.
We, aka blue helmets, learned some hard lessons in the process.
Let’s hope for the better.

And then they wonder why the US still feels like it can dictate to them.

There is a difference between leading and dictate, mind you. Clinton’s US acted as a strong leader in balkans wars. Bush’s US acted unilatteraly in Iraq, when he leads in Afghanistan War.

The thing that is stunning to me about Europe is that even with their large Muslim minorities, which are far larger, poorer, and less integrated into society than America’s, they seem to refuse to acknowledge the threat that is radical Islam.

Maybe because we don’t confuse our muslims with radical islamists. Maybe because we try to NOT overgeneralized the threat of a few radical islamists to all muslims living in our countries.
Maybe because the historical link between Europe and muslim world is very different there than in america.

And, beside, it doesn’t take many islamists to be threatfull. Only a very few if them were far enough in 9/11. It’s less a matter of how large a radical religious community is than how far radical she would (be allowed to) go.

We *DO* need to integrate our muslims minorities far better than today, indeed.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 27, 2006 7:38 AM
Comment #196564

“The enclosures were cruel, but having the land in pasture and game makes more sense.”

Nice euphemism. Enclosures. At the time they called them “The Improvements.” What they are were The Clearances. They cleared the land of people so that men who never actually owned the land personally (it belonged to the whole clan) could try to squeeze every last bit of money out of it. Makes sense? Only if you believe that stealing and murder and ethnic cleansing is acceptable, and that one mans profit is more important than the lives of the people who looked to him as their family and their leader.

“Highlands tended to produce more people than the thin soils could support.”

At that moment in history there were many new ideas and developments being made in ways to improve the arability of soil for farming. You must also assume that trade would be impossible when they were raising plenty of Highland cattle, and the sheep that ultimately replaced them on the land, as well as the whisky that is now famous all over the world. The people could have stayed and been supported, but for the greed of their leaders.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 27, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #196574

Adrienne

I do not think you can call it ethnic cleansing when one member of the extended family does it to another.

This is a persistent problem when land becomes over peopled for the conditions. It is common in places where the soil is poor for the current use, but may be good for a different form of agriculture that has a different labor need.

I wrote my MA thesis on the reforms of Solon. This with Athens in the 5th century BC. It was a very similar situation. The land was worn out producing grain, but olives did very well. Problem was that olives do not support the same populations that grain does. Extended family members fell into debt with their better off cousins. Since land was not alienable outside the clan, the debt was secured on the person of the debtor. When he defaulted (which he almost always did) his cousin sold him into slavery someplace far away.

Such things are the tragedy of the rocky soil. The deep dark soils have their own tragedies, often worse, BTW. Think of those ten million Ukrainians the Soviets killed. Emegration was not an option for them.

Posted by: Jack at November 27, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #196576

Adrienne

I forgot the point of my Solon story. Solon reformed the legal and political system in Athens and for that he is considered a great man. The name Solon used to be given to wise lawmakers. He made land alienable. His solution provided a more humane system that simply pushed people off the land into the city of Athens or into colonies. In other words, his “improvement” was like the enclosures. Progress.

Posted by: Jack at November 27, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #196600

BTW - I am not sure we can call Ireland a young country. It is a young state, but an old nation.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 10:33 AM

An old nation yes Jack. But an old nation whose spirit was almost dead before our revolution. Robbed of our language, our people oppressed, starved and due to starvation forced to the emigrant ship for the luckly ones. A people who had almost completely embraced the colonial slave mentality.

A young state, which for most of its so far short history, failed desperately because of its post colonial slave mentality. A mentality that could believe little good of itself and its capabilites except for its self perceived virtue and saintliness. Something we carry over somewhat to this day, though in a more secular sense. But those who left were not self selecting. The oldest son got the pitiful holding, so vividly portrayed by Richard Harris in “The Field”, that powerful film of John B Keanes play of the same name. For the rest of the family, it was either get married off for the daughters, or the emigrant ship for herself and her brothers. That or a coveted job in the civil service with a meal ticket for life. Or perhaps the clergy. It took the Irish State 40 years to begin to emerge from that slave mentality, and a further 20 or so years to begin to truly transform itself. The point I was making about our being only in our adolesence is that we have had an easy ride due to our geographic position. The British were no longer a threat, and as long as Ireland posed a possible launchpad for the invasion of Britain to either the Nazis or the Soviets, the British and the US were going to make sure that didn’t happen. So it was easy for us to be virtuous and point the finger at the lapses of others. Even today, we do not have a single interceptor aircraft or anti aircraft battery to challenge any airborne threat.

I have long believed that as we are a member of the EU and have benefitted greatly from it, we should contribute practically to its defence as we are a part of the European community of nations. That if Irish people truly want the continuation of the traditional policy of military neutrality, then we should be willing to pay for that priviledge by equipping ourselves adequately to defend it. It is this hypocracy and dualism that I attributed to adolesence as a state.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at November 27, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #196617
A minor point. There is no EU way of war.

Of course. It was just a convenient description of the successful NATO strategy and tactics in the Balkans and Afghanistan, compared to the dismal US failure in Iraq.

As I wrote in the top post, only a few NATO members (and some non-members) will actually put their troops in harm’s way.

I think that’s more a product of the situation — domestic as well as the actual conflict — than some racial or Euro-centric bias. Using Iraq as an example, it’s no surprise that Europe wouldn’t support a conflict that was (a) unnecessary because the inspectors found no WMD prior to the war, and (b) illegal under international law.

I think we’d do better to work with the international community to formulate new rules for the war on terror rather than just bitch about how they don’t want to go all rogue cowboy with us.

Posted by: American Pundit at November 27, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #196622

AP

But most of them will not fight anywhere. The cases in Bosnia or Kosovo were instructive. W/o the U.S. they would have done nothing but decry the nastiness. I do not think it is a European ethnic bias. Most Americans are of European origin and the Euros had no trouble fighting each other in the recent past. I think that they have had security to a large extent provided by others for too long.

I hope this is on the way to change. I read that the Euros have agreed to buy some transport. When they get the planes, at least they will be able to move their men.

Posted by: Jack at November 27, 2006 8:55 PM
Comment #196626

Jack:

I do not think you can call it ethnic cleansing when one member of the extended family does it to another.

Yes, one can. For that is exactly what it was. The Lairds (or sometimes Ladies) payed men to murder and burn members of their own clan out of the homes that they and their ancestors had lived in for hundreds of years. Some were sold into slavery. Others were rounded up and herded like the sheep that replaced them onto emigrant ships bound for America, Canada, Austrailia or other destinations with nothing but the clothes on their backs — and they were lucky if it didn’t happen in the middle of the night. Anyone who tried to stop what was happening became the next in line to be burned out and herded onto the ships. There were as many as 2000 family homes being burned per day during the height of The Clearances. Many of the people died of exposure, or of sicknesses that they acquired on the ships. That’s why both the Highland Scots and the Famine Irish called the ships that dispersed them to the four corners of the globe Coffin Ships. Only the lucky amongst these people lived.

In the case of the Highlanders it was done because one man or woman, who had no heart nor feeling for his own clanspeople, wanted to compete with the ostentatious wealth and ridiculous pretentions of the aristocracy in England more than they wanted to keep the people on the land. And so, with their image deemed of the utmost importance, they cleared their own kinsfolk from land that didn’t actually belong to them, and then tried to squeeze every last shilling from that stolen property.
It was ethnic cleansing, because that one man or woman looked down on their family, considered their lives expendable, and mistakenly believed that the affectations of aristocracy and wealth made them better people than their own clansfolk.

In the case of the Irish, again, the aristocracy was too hard hearted to care whether the people lived or died. There was plenty of food for them to eat aside from potatoes, but none of it was allowed to go to them, so they starved. Most of the money or the shipments of cornmeal that were sent to Ireland for their relief was witheld from them.
This too, should be considered ethnic cleansing, because again it took place due to the hard hearts of the aristocracy, and because of all the countries that suffered from the blight during those years, only in Ireland was the aid of other crops (that did just fine during those years) withheld. Only in Ireland were the people allowed starve to death all over place, or were forced to leave their homeland in order to survive.

This is a persistent problem when land becomes over peopled for the conditions. It is common in places where the soil is poor for the current use, but may be good for a different form of agriculture that has a different labor need.

The Highlands were not over peopled for the conditions. The soil grew both barley and oats. The highland cattle did well with plenty of fodder, as did sheep and goats. Enough food was not their problem. The problem of both the Highland Scots and the Famine Irish was a failure of leadership, a failure of basic morality and humanity.
Period.

“I wrote my MA thesis on the reforms of Solon. This with Athens in the 5th century BC.”

I see no real comparison between the The Clearances or the starving of the Irish during the Potato Famine with events of the 5th century, Jack.

“In other words, his “improvement” was like the enclosures. Progress.”

No. Not Progress. In my view, such brutality should always be viewed as strictly Regressive.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 27, 2006 9:41 PM
Comment #196658

Jack,

But most of them will not fight anywhere. The cases in Bosnia or Kosovo were instructive. W/o the U.S. they would have done nothing but decry the nastiness.

Oh please, they weren’t doing *nothing*. Actually, they were couting their own (small, indeed, compared to balkanians) casualties engaged under the UNPROFOR mandate, while having to watch in frustation the nastiness, thanks to UN ROE weakness.

NATO (aka the US in this case) enter the balkans conflicts only 2-3 years later after EU troops was there. Their hands stupidly tied behind their back, agreed.
But it’s not because they were trying to stop these civil wars but failed miserably that it means european were just watching remotly on their TVs the conflict.

And we both know that your troops could be there, trying to do stuff to stop a civil war but it doesn’t means they can’t fail miserably, right?

I do not think it is a European ethnic bias. Most Americans are of European origin and the Euros had no trouble fighting each other in the recent past. I think that they have had security to a large extent provided by others for too long.

I disagree. I think they’re exploring very weakly so far but still, new fields here: multilateral peace making. Not an hegemonic one.
Maybe it’s flawed from start. Maybe not.
So far, it’s obvious that if it’s possible it’s very hard. But as every difficult goal, trying to reaching it produces its own lessons you needs to learn to eventually, one day, be more successfull.

I hope this is on the way to change. I read that the Euros have agreed to buy some transport. When they get the planes, at least they will be able to move their men.

Lack of planes to move troops to balkans wasn’t what goes wrong in Kosovo and Bosnia.
But, indeed, European Defense is starting to shape.

BTW, 4-5 years ago, Bush first reaction to such European Defense plan was not positive, IIRC.
Does a mojority of americans approve it now, or are you, Jack, an exception?


Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 28, 2006 5:32 AM
Comment #196664

Phillipe

I am always an exception.

I do not think the majority of Americans have an opinion on European defense posture. I think if you asked informed Americans you would get something like this.

The U.S. welcomes European initiatives to enhance their defense forces and make them more expeditionary. We are a little apprehensive that the decision making process in the EU will make it difficult to take swift and decisive action and that the troops will be micromanaged from 25 capitals. Beyond that, there is the problem of NATO assets being used by EU. NATO and EU overlap, but some NATO countries are not EU and some EU are not NATO.

There also is the problem of politization. Of course, the U.S. has this problem too, but the U.S. is one country. The EU is made up of many and so far the EU might indeed be novo ordo seclorum but it is still not e pluribus unum. Several of the member states (even small, non-NATO Sweden) have their own defense industries and want to have their own equipment. EU has several types of tanks, for example. This creates a problem with parts and maintenance.

A product made for the EU might not meet NATO STANAG.

Take a simple example. Poland recently bought Lockheed F16s. The competition came from Swedish Gripens and your own Mirage. All three are good planes, but if you have Gripens or Mirage interactivity with other NATO forces is complicated (less for Mirage than Gripen, BTW).

I am not saying that all countries do not push their own. The U.S. certainly does. But if you have lots of little cooks, they produce products that do not interact well. You do not want to be in a crisis situation and find you have the wrong kind of refueling system.

Posted by: Jack at November 28, 2006 9:06 AM
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