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Why Europe Won't Fight


"No one will say this publicly, but the true fact is we are all talking about our exit strategy from Afghanistan. We are getting out. It may take a couple of years, but we are all looking to get out."

Thus did a "senior European diplomat" confide to The New York Times during Obama's trip to Strasbourg.

Europe is bailing out on us. Afghanistan is to be America's war.

During what the Times called a "fractious meeting," NATO agreed to send 3,000 troops to provide security during the elections and 2,000 to train Afghan police. Thin gruel beside Obama's commitment to double U.S. troop levels to 68,000.

Why won't Europe fight?

Because Europe sees no threat from Afghanistan and no vital interest in a faraway country where NATO Europeans have not fought since the British Empire folded its tent long ago.

Al-Qaida did not attack Europe out of Afghanistan. America was attacked. Because, said Osama bin Laden in his "declaration of war," America was occupying the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, choking Muslim Iraq to death and providing Israel with the weapons to repress the Palestinians.

As Europe has no troops in Saudi Arabia, is exiting Iraq and backs a Palestinian state, Europeans figure, they are less likely to be attacked than if they are fighting and killing Muslims in Afghanistan.

Madrid and London were targeted for terror attacks, they believe, because Spain and Britain were George W. Bush's strongest allies in Iraq. Britain, with a large Pakistani population, must be especially sensitive to U.S. Predator strikes in Pakistan.

Moreover, Europeans have had their fill of war.

In World War I alone, France, Germany and Russia each lost far more men killed than we have lost in all our wars put together. British losses in World War I were greater than America's losses, North and South, in the Civil War. Her losses in World War II, from a nation with but a third of our population, were equal to ours. Where America ended that war as a superpower and leader of the Free World, Britain ended it bankrupt, broken, bereft of empire, sinking into socialism.

All of Europe's empires are gone. All her great navies are gone. All her million-man armies are history. Her populations are all aging, shrinking and dying, as millions pour in from former colonies in the Third World to repopulate and Islamize the mother countries.

Because of Europe's new "diversity," any war fought in a Muslim land will inflame a large segment of Europe's urban population.

Finally, NATO Europe knows there is no price to pay for malingering in NATO's war in Afghanistan.

Europeans know America will take up the slack and do nothing about their refusal to send combat brigades.

For Europeans had us figured out a long time ago.

They sense that we need them more than they need us.

While NATO provides Europe with a security blanket, it provides America with what she cannot live without: a mission, a cause, a meaning to life.

Were the United States, in exasperation, to tell Europe, "We are pulling out of NATO, shutting down our bases and bringing our troops home because we are weary of doing all the heavy lifting, all the fighting and dying for freedom," what would we do after we had departed and come home?

What would our foreign policy be?

What would be the need for our vaunted military-industrial complex, all those carriers, subs, tanks, and thousands of fighter planes and scores of bombers? What would happen to all the transatlantic conferences on NATO, all the think tanks here and in Europe devoted to allied security issues?

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the withdrawal of the Red Army from Eastern Europe and the breakup of the Soviet Union, NATO's mission was accomplished. As Sen. Richard Lugar said, NATO must "go out of area or out of business."

NATO desperately did not want to go out of business. So, NATO went out of area, into Afghanistan. Now, with victory nowhere in sight, NATO is heading home. Will it go out of business?

Not likely. Too many rice bowls depend on keeping NATO alive.

You don't give up the March of Dimes headquarters and fund-raising machinery just because Drs. Salk and Sabin found a cure for polio.

Again, one recalls, in those old World War II movies, the invariable scene where two G.I.s are smoking and talking.

"What are you gonna do, Joe, when this is all over?" one would ask.

Years ago, we had the answer.

Joe stayed in the Army. He couldn't give it up. Soldiering is all he knew. Just like Uncle Sam. We can't give up NATO because, if we do, we would no longer be the "indispensable nation," the leader of the Free World.

And, if we're not that, then who are we? And what would we do?

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



3 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;...I salute Europe for having the sense to avoid eternal war...They have reached the point where they can afford give no more to their rich.... In our country we never seem to tire of the excuse of war and ideology to hand over more of our wealth, our capital, and our future to stupidity, and to the rich... Democracy is defensive...Is offense around the world an effective defense???Every single time we go to some country, and try to buy some leaders, and enough friends to legitimize our presence there, suddenly, when it all falls to pieces we find we are dealing with a bunch of them holding briefcases full of our billions... There were Vietnamese who came out of Vietnam with enough cash to buy whole apartment highrises in New York out of pocket... What do we buy there but corruption??? Because it is just like a prostitute: All you have bought is time...You can't buy love, caring, or affection... You buy a certain length of time in some hell hole of the world during which you teach strangers to hate you, hold you in contempt, and learn to kill you.....We will give up on that stupid war in Afghanistan as we should have done before ever taking it up...When we do, we will find ourselves thick with Afghans we have corrupted with billions, who have our money while we go broke... What ever it is that makes people in Washington DC think America has plenty of money to pess away in ideological wars, and adventures half way around the globe; they are wrong... I trust we are getting sick of it...It is possible that ninety percent of the money we spend in war goes into the pocket of a few generals and war profiteers without ever leaving the country...All the rest goes into the ever empty pocket of corruption.... Europe is right to let us destroy ourselves in stupidity while they stand back and watch with shaking heads.... We cannot stop our government from doing stupidity...The political process is such that it empowers all to do stupid, but forbids any from making sense, because sense might have to be defended... It does not educate the people...It does not empower the people to do what is right for themselves or their children...It is not democracy, and it is so anti democratic because it fears the people...It fools us...It mis-leads us...And that is one reason government wants to direct our attention away from our troubles here... But our problems are not diminished in that fashion, and are growing worse... That Government has failed which does not what is right, or smart; but feels more empowered in doing wrong, or stupid so long as it is a far distance off... Eternal war is only an excuse to steal the national wealth... We should not accept it...Thanks ...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:02 AM
I like Pat Buchanan, I have been watching him all over right wing TV and media for years, but I do not much agree with him except on some very pragmatic issues. What I don't like is his pandering to the rich. And example is to say that Europe sunk into socialism, as in this article. The part of the world that is sinking is the US. We are falling on more metrics of quality of life that you can count, and repeating and bouying up these boring old FALSE platitudes is part of the problem. Until we stop just repeating things and take the time to find out what is going on in the world instead of automatically assuming we are #1, we are not going to fix anything. Everyone else cannot be wrong ... and all other countries have a not-for-profit health care system that works. There people are not going bankrupt and the countries are not falling apart as these hacks have been repeating for decades now ... it is us that is falling apart, or at least most of us. I guess though if you took out all the meaningless filler in these articles and the lies and disinformation they would not pay much by the word. It is time to look at what works, and what works in other countries is not always having some greedy SOBs sucking money from the public like taxes, but that do not benefit anyone but the few who spend the money to further sink everyone else.
Comment: #2
Posted by: bruce k
Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:12 AM
On the subject of Eurpope and fighting, I think Europe and most other countries would fight if it was in their interest. The way the US wants to manage the world is not in their interests, even though fighting terrorism and rolling back Islamic totalitarianism and expansionism is in their interests.

The paradigm of the US is to always play zero-sum hardball, but it is only marginally in the interest of the people of the US, and even less in the interests of the people of Europe. Europeans do not want the mess the US has brought on itself repeated there. They do not want to lose their democracy, or their rights.

The US has become the biggest retrograde political force as it markets itself all over the world for freedom ... our elites think we can use our past glories to brand present leadership when we are falling like a house of cards. Who in France wants to give up their health care or social safety net to be like poor jerked around Americans? Same with Germany or the UK.

It is not that Europe will not fight, it is that they will not be tricked by America into thinking the war against terrorism is more important than defending themselves against American expanisionism. Face it, we in the US have been trying to push the world away from socialsim for over 100 years now, South America is making a lot of progress. Europe and the developed countries are doing fine. It is us that will not see reality of what we are doing.

Polls say most Americans favor single payer health care, yet the 5% of the wealthy that owns everything spends money on disinforming people against an avalanche of public opinion and objective fact.

Same with infrastrcuture, labor, the environment. THe 5% who say they bring everything to everyone cannot continue with that fantasy when it is so obvious that they do not. In fact the most profitable industries in the US are the ones that prey regressively on the middle, poor and working classes. Insurance, banking, entertainment. What is being engineered as the New World Order is a failure that the power of money will not let us back away from or improve.
Comment: #3
Posted by: bruce k
Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:26 AM
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