Tuesday, January 22, 2019

European Disunion

Remember when James Mattis resigned his post as Secretary of Defense? He took the occasion to take a cheap shot at the president, by explaining the importance of our sacrosanct alliances, especially, one assumes, our alliances with the creaky, cranky leaders of Western Europe.

In a recent essay Angelo Codevilla sets the record straight (via Maggie’s Farm). In his words:

General James Mattis wrote in his letter of resignation as Secretary of Defense that “our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.” That was never so, and is less so now.

On top of everyone’s list of their favorite alliances is NATO. When President Trump declared that he was willing to withdraw from NATO, the cries of outrage rose up from the fever swamps of the Trump-hating left and right. It was, they claimed, an impeachable offense, as bad as what Trump didn’t tell Michael Cohen not to say to Congress.

Codevilla asks whether Europe was ever a full partner with the United States. He answers with a resounding No. In truth, NATO made Europe into an American protectorate. Europe can barely contribute to its own defense. Never has and never will. They spend their money on welfare and leave defense to the Americans. 

Besides, European governments are undergoing their own crisis of legitimacy. Theresa May is winning the incompetence derby. Emmanuel Macron’s France is melting down. His poll ratings are half what Donald Trump’s are. And Angela Merkel has been forced to resign her position as head of her political party… while her country increasingly divides between the far right and the far left.

As you know, Trump, May and Macron are skipping the great international confab at Davos this year. Too many problems at home.

Codevilla writes:

Europe was never a full partner in its own defense. The very question—Will Europe ever fully partner with the U.S., or will the European Union and NATO continue to downplay the necessity of military readiness?—is no longer meaningful as posed, because the political energies of Europe’s elites are absorbed as they try to fend off attacks on their legitimacy by broad sectors of their population.

The notion that Europeans and Americans were full partners in the NATO alliance and that this “kept the Russians out…etc.” was always a fiction, albeit a useful one. Today it is dysfunctional, an obstacle to all sides’ understanding of what useful cooperation may yet be possible. Thoughts of Europe’s role in its own military defense against the Soviet Union were incidental to the Alliance’s 1949 founding. Common European armed forces have always been a fantasy.

And especially:

In sum, history shows that the North Atlantic Alliance has been less an alliance than a protectorate, and that whatever capacities the beneficiary of protection might have had to defend itself after WWII have atrophied.

But, you might ask, what about the European Union… now fast on its way to becoming the European Disunion:

The European Union never became either an element of strength, or a mechanism by which the U.S. could practice “one stop” policy in Europe. Instead, it is a bureaucratic entity with its own substance, an additional complication for dealing with member states, its decisions—often bad for America as well as for Europe—bidding for the status of customary international law. It has been the primary means for expressing Western Europe’s contemporary international identity. Accommodation with the Muslim world and hostility to Israel have been its primary hallmarks. The Trump administration is deemphasizing relations with it—including downgrading its diplomatic status in Washington—and dealing with member states bilaterally as much as possible. That includes holding out a U.S.–British trade deal as an incentive for Britain to follow through with Brexit.

The Union was formed in order to take a leading role on the world stage, another hegemon to balance the power of the Soviet Union. As it happened, Codevilla notes, it has defined itself by its willingness to do everything in its power to accommodate the Muslim world and to undermine Israel. But, that should not come as news.

The Trump administration has refused to play along with this fictional entity and has undertaken to deal with member states bilaterally. Surely, this represents a major shift in American foreign policy. Internationalists are horrified.

And yet, Codevilla points out, Europe’s problems are more demographic than anything else. And that means, its nations are being destroyed by their own pro-migrant policies. He points out that they are disappearing biologically… because natives are not procreating at anything near the level that new migrants are:

The underlying reality is that the Europe with which America has dealt is waning demographically, ceasing to exist culturally, and is dead politically, never to return. Today, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. are disappearing biologically: In Germany, for example, 42% of all births in 2017 were to migrants from the Middle East or Africa. That percentage is already set to rise. Natives’ birth rates are far below replacement levels (Italy’s is 1.34 births per woman), together with the migration of young Middle Eastern/African people, well-nigh guarantees the end of Europe’s biological character, fast. Its cultural character is changing even faster. We can only guess the extent to which Europe may be able to maintain a European identity in the face of migration.

The elites who are in charge of European countries are unable to stop the invasion of foreigners. And they have chosen to modify their native cultures in order to accommodate alien and far less tolerant cultures:

Current European elites’ inability to control their countries’ invasion by people from the Middle East and Africa, the migrants’ offenses against public safety, and the strictures imposed on native populations on the migrants’ behalf, are not least of the reasons why political Europe as we used to know it has ceased to exist. Other reasons, including the elites’ contempt for ordinary people’s way of life and manifold incompetence, are legion. Hence, the traditional parties are discredited, and the ruling classes are under siege by disaffected populations, especially the young. Without constituencies outside the establishment, they fear elections. Their very capacity to marshal people for any common purpose whatever is already gone. Their disappearance is only a matter of time.

The internal political cohesion of all European states having collapsed, the levers and buttons in the Atlantic Alliance’s control rooms are connected to nothing. The titled officials with whom Americans deal represent only themselves.

It represents a failure of will, not a lack of means. And it represents policy incoherence. On one side are those who want to open the continent’s doors to an increasing flood of unassimilable migrants. On the other hand, these same people complain that they cannot control the flow… because they lack the means. One ought to add that they are being destroyed by their own adherence to grandiose ideals like cosmopolitanism:

Management of migration is by far the biggest, most consequential challenge facing European states, individually and collectively. … And yet, European countries have shown lack of seriousness and the opposite of cooperation: All, having subsidized domestic NGOs that fairly invited migrants, now condemn one another for failure to take the ones they do not want. Separately, Germany and Italy pay Turks and Libyans, respectively, to keep migrants from traveling farther. Italy and France back opposite contenders for power in Libya. Americans have no way of making up for impotence so existential in a matter so intimate.

Since Europe’s NATO members can’t take care of something so essential for them and so mechanically simple, for which they have ample resources, what could they possibly do for us?

In fairness, we add that Eastern European nations have not caught the pro-migrant bug. Perhaps their fate will be more positive than will that of their Western neighbors.


trigger warning said...

Read Codevilla's article earlier. Delighted you commented on and linked to it. Brilliant. Bookmarked it.

Sam L. said...

Europe has been riding on US coattails since 1945. They won't protect themselves, or even bother to much consider doing so. It seems they have given up; except, perhaps, Switzerland (which is just a guess for which I have no data/information to support it).

Eastern Europe, well, Poland and Hungary, has stuck to their guns and fences. Ukraine is fighting Russian invasion, and I suspect they are taking no Muslim immigrants. (In my first military assignment, there was a Ukrainian in my section (with a Polish wife) and a third generation American of east-European descent (said his grandmother thought he lived in a tent).