Frau Merkel and European defense

German chancellor Angela Merkel has come out and said that "Europe can no longer count on the U.S. and the U.K. as reliable allies and that the days that Europe could completely rely on others are over ... to a certain extent."

Frau Merkel is in a snit mainly because President Trump scolded the Europeans to their face about their habitual underfunding of NATO.  It's worth unraveling what the German chancellor said in the light of common sense. 

Firstly, President Trump is completely correct in noting that America contributes a lion's share to NATO.  Germany, the powerhouse of Europe, spends a meager $40 billion (1.2 percent of its GNP) on defense.  That comes to less money in absolute terms then what the U.K. ($60 billion) or France ($44 billion) contributes. 

What is most ironic here is that NATO is intended to defend Europe, not the U.S.  In a rational world, after the collapse of the USSR, the roles would be reversed, with the U.S. pitching in at the margins to help wealthy Europe defend itself, instead of being the dominant partner in this alliance.  

Donald Trump was too much of a gentleman to say to the Europeans that their years of freeloading off America on defense is what has enabled many of those countries to construct the comfortable welfare state they have. 

By any rational measure, the status quo is grossly unfair to the American taxpayers.  However, many in the U.S. establishment whose income stream and/or prestige depend on NATO like things just as they are.  Oh, they might add a caveat here and there that Europe really should pay more for its defense, but as history shows, the establishment types will never push the issue to the point of having the Europeans ever take them seriously.  It's a charade for them.

And there is something fundamentally misunderstood regarding NATO even if the Europeans were to miraculously rise to the occasion contribute their two percent.

Defense implies that war is a possibility.  In any such event, Europe can never be expected to carry its weight.  That's because of the demographics of the European countries.  The overall fertility rate for the E.U. is 1.58, while for Germany, it's a mere 1.47.  (For a steady state population, a fertility rate of 2.1 is required.)  

Since few children are produced in Europe, those who exist are precious to European society – too precious to lose in battle.  In the event of war in Europe, expect the Europeans to hold the coats of our men and women as the U.S. military goes into battle and does the bulk of the actual fighting.

Why is Merkel reluctant to spend a measly two percent on defense while at the same time implying that Europe might have to go it alone, which would mean German defense spending would greatly increase?  Maybe Germany actually wants the U.S. out of Europe so it can complete its domination of the continent.  Remember what Hastings Ismay, the first secretary general of NATO, said: "The purpose of NATO is to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down."

Maybe the Germans are tired of being kept down.  And it is likely that the Germans view the Russian threat as nonexistent, at least as far as Western Europe goes.  After all, Russia is in a demographic collapse greater than Europe's, and its GDP is only $1.33 trillion compared to $3.36 trillion for Germany and $16.3 trillion for the E.U. as a whole.  Russia can make noise in the East but not in the West.

On the world stage, it can be hard if not impossible to know the intentions of others.  The right path for the U.S. to follow is to keep an America First policy at the forefront of all our decision-making.  If Frau Merkel and Europe want to go it alone, let them.  They will no doubt find what a heavy burden responsibility is.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has come out and said that "Europe can no longer count on the U.S. and the U.K. as reliable allies and that the days that Europe could completely rely on others are over ... to a certain extent."

Frau Merkel is in a snit mainly because President Trump scolded the Europeans to their face about their habitual underfunding of NATO.  It's worth unraveling what the German chancellor said in the light of common sense. 

Firstly, President Trump is completely correct in noting that America contributes a lion's share to NATO.  Germany, the powerhouse of Europe, spends a meager $40 billion (1.2 percent of its GNP) on defense.  That comes to less money in absolute terms then what the U.K. ($60 billion) or France ($44 billion) contributes. 

What is most ironic here is that NATO is intended to defend Europe, not the U.S.  In a rational world, after the collapse of the USSR, the roles would be reversed, with the U.S. pitching in at the margins to help wealthy Europe defend itself, instead of being the dominant partner in this alliance.  

Donald Trump was too much of a gentleman to say to the Europeans that their years of freeloading off America on defense is what has enabled many of those countries to construct the comfortable welfare state they have. 

By any rational measure, the status quo is grossly unfair to the American taxpayers.  However, many in the U.S. establishment whose income stream and/or prestige depend on NATO like things just as they are.  Oh, they might add a caveat here and there that Europe really should pay more for its defense, but as history shows, the establishment types will never push the issue to the point of having the Europeans ever take them seriously.  It's a charade for them.

And there is something fundamentally misunderstood regarding NATO even if the Europeans were to miraculously rise to the occasion contribute their two percent.

Defense implies that war is a possibility.  In any such event, Europe can never be expected to carry its weight.  That's because of the demographics of the European countries.  The overall fertility rate for the E.U. is 1.58, while for Germany, it's a mere 1.47.  (For a steady state population, a fertility rate of 2.1 is required.)  

Since few children are produced in Europe, those who exist are precious to European society – too precious to lose in battle.  In the event of war in Europe, expect the Europeans to hold the coats of our men and women as the U.S. military goes into battle and does the bulk of the actual fighting.

Why is Merkel reluctant to spend a measly two percent on defense while at the same time implying that Europe might have to go it alone, which would mean German defense spending would greatly increase?  Maybe Germany actually wants the U.S. out of Europe so it can complete its domination of the continent.  Remember what Hastings Ismay, the first secretary general of NATO, said: "The purpose of NATO is to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down."

Maybe the Germans are tired of being kept down.  And it is likely that the Germans view the Russian threat as nonexistent, at least as far as Western Europe goes.  After all, Russia is in a demographic collapse greater than Europe's, and its GDP is only $1.33 trillion compared to $3.36 trillion for Germany and $16.3 trillion for the E.U. as a whole.  Russia can make noise in the East but not in the West.

On the world stage, it can be hard if not impossible to know the intentions of others.  The right path for the U.S. to follow is to keep an America First policy at the forefront of all our decision-making.  If Frau Merkel and Europe want to go it alone, let them.  They will no doubt find what a heavy burden responsibility is.

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