When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

April 22, 2004

On the Future of the E.U.

Charlie Victor Echo

Let's be clear on one thing. Europe's military weakness is only true as long as they choose to let it be true.

If the Brits get onboard with an EU military, they're bringing doctrines and technology comparable with our own. That is, after all, why only the British could integrate fully with American forces for Iraq 2.0.

If Blair goes down (which is certainly possible...just look at Spain) and gets replaced by a more EU-Friendly guy, you could see the Brits becoming the hyper-modern core of an EU military that they could build on. They've got money, tech, and people. What else would they need?

If they want to be a first class military power, they can do it.

But what if they go the other way? If they allow their militaries to continue to decay and instead focus all that money and effort on pure economic investment? What good does having a strong military do the USA if we're only competing economically? Are we prepared to strike at Europe militarily over a trade dispute?

I don't think so.

That's one of the questions we need to ask ourselves. Is there really any advantage to having a strong military if your competitor is the European Union? I would tend to say no.

High rollers don't play that game with each other anymore. Ever since 1945, all wars can be classified as Major Power vs. Minor Power or Minor Power vs. Minor Power. Sure, you an argue for the "proxy war" definition in some of the Major vs. Minor match-ups, where another Major was aiding the Minor covertly (or not so covertly in some cases), but in all those cases, the aiding Major Power never made nearly as much effort as the fully engaged one did...most of the grunt work was done by the Minor Power.

So who does Europe need a large military to defend themselves against? Maybe Russia...but then there are nukes in the equation. Countries with nukes don't fight other countries with nukes, no matter how much they hate each other.

Just ask India and Pakistan.

So if you're willing to ignore the misery in the rest of the world and just make a profit from your trade relations, and this is clearly what much of Europe is prepared to do, then all you need to do is sit back and not worry about a military.

That's not to say I think this is a course that the USA should follow. Far from it, in fact. For one thing, I definitely think the world is much safer if America is the dominant military power in the world rather than China or Russia.

But I am saying that we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss Europe just because they don't bother with a strong military. That doesn't necessarily mean they're losing the game, so much as suggest that they're playing a different game than we are.

And we'd better be careful lest we find ourselves losing that one because we were off playing our game.

Launched by Charlie Victor Echo at April 22, 2004 07:41 PM

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