Once the horror of Brussels sank in, some pundits observed how unprepared Belgium seemed to be … and some pointed to Europeans minimal spending on intelligence, defense, and homeland security (their homelands not our’s).
That prompted me to finally read the Atlantic article on the “Obama Doctrine”.
I thought the article would just make me chuckle … turned out that I found myself agreeing with some of Obama’s basic tenets …. and it helped explain why Europeans don’t want to protect themselves more.
Obama complains privately to friends and advisers that America’s allies in the Middle East are frustrating, high-maintenance countries, that seek to exploit American “muscle” for their own narrow and sectarian ends.
“Free riders aggravate me. Europeans and the Arab states want to hold our coats while we do all the fighting.”
Recently, Obama warned that Great Britain would no longer be able to claim a “special relationship” with the United States if it did not commit to spending at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense. “You have to pay your fair share,” Obama told David Cameron.
Given its proximity to Libya, Obama expected the UK to step-up and take a lead role there. But, in a stunning development, the British Parliament denied David Cameron its blessing for an attack. John Kerry’s reaction: “Oops.”
Let’s look at some numbers ….
True, the UK is only spending about 2% on defense (after all, it has to support its universal healthcare system) … but, it’s looks downright militaristic when compared to its European cronies. Look down the list to find Belgium.
Let’s cut the numbers a couple of more ways …
It hadn’t previously registered with me how little most countries spend on defense compared to the U.S.
The implications are profound.
Many of these countries simply outsource the bulk of their defense needs to the U.S.
That frees up a lot of money for lavish social programs … with minimal risk as long as the U.S. is ready to ride in and repeatedly save your bacon.
That latter point is clearly evident when you look at troop levels.
If the U.S. doesn’t ride in …. where exactly is the DEE-FENSE.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise when places like Belgium take a hit.
Interesting irony ….
Trump’s has been saying that it’s time for NATO countries to step-up … or, the U.S. should start pulling back.
Of course, press and pundits are jumping all over him for even thinking that.
But, add a little nuance, and what do you get?
Yep, the Obama Doctrine.
Ironic isn’t it?
Play ball …