Foreign Policy

Let Lithuania Replace America

|

Here's the president talking about NATO expansion:

Obama said reinvigorated ties with Moscow must be "consistent with NATO membership and consistent with the need to send a clear signal throughout Europe that we are going to continue to abide by the central belief … that countries who seek and aspire to join NATO are able to join NATO."

I don't think NATO should expand eastward, but I wouldn't mind if it moved eastward. Let any former Soviet republic join if it wants, I say—but first get the U.S. out of the anachronistic alliance, so we won't be automatically entangled the next time Georgia has a border dispute with Russia. If the French prefer to fight, that's their business.

NEXT: Reason.tv: Barack W. Bush—Is the Obama administration's "war on terror" policy more of the same?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. A cowards mother does not weep, Jesse! NATO membership is essential to get in on the ground floor of the next World War.

  2. If the French want to fight, that’s their business.

    The French will rule the world again before the end of this century.

  3. I’m OK with withdrawing from NATO, but we need to give our allies a several years notice first. It’s wrong to just up and run from an alliance.

  4. It’s pretty disingenuous to call the Georgian War a mere “border dispute.” More like, “Let’s scare the West out of the Nabucco pipeline.” Not saying the US should have gotten involved, but to call it a border dispute is to misunderstand why it happened. The South Ossetia bullshit was just a pretext.

  5. I’m getting tempted to replace America with Estonia — as my country of residence. Fuck this noise, yo.

  6. If Russia joins NATO, can we join the Warsaw Pact?

  7. Xeones, you fool! New Zealand!

  8. I agree. Withdraw from NATO. All we are is a threat to the Russians anyway. They will be friendlier when we stop threatening them.

  9. Xeones, I’d agree with you, except I think they’re going to be the first country invaded when the recession really hits Russia, and Putin needs another distraction.

  10. French fight? LMAO…ROFL…UMBK…RUCRZY

  11. I don’t know that we should withdraw from NATO, necessarily, at least not today.

    Let’s take the incremental step of withdrawing all troops from Europe and closing all our bases there, first.

  12. Let’s take the incremental step of withdrawing all troops from Europe and closing all our bases there, first.

    And those pesky missiles too.

  13. Let’s take the incremental step of withdrawing all troops from Europe and closing all our bases there, first.

    BRAC wasn’t enough for you, eh? I will say that as long as we’re in Germany (and Italy, et al.), we’ll be part of NATO.

  14. But Obama totally said that he’d forge a new path of niceness and Russia would fall in love with us all over again. Or something.

  15. as if Obama really has a clue about what’s best for the United States

  16. Let’s take the incremental step of withdrawing all troops from Europe and closing all our bases there, first.

    There is, I dare say, a contingent of the military that likes going abroad every few years and having Uncle Sam pick up the tab. You might face a wee bit of resistance in the Pentagon to pulling out of Europe.

    After all, if we can put a combat brigade on the ground anywhere in the world within 36 hours starting from freaking North Carolina, it’s vital to have forward deployed troops because… because…

    I’m drawing a blank here. Somebody help me out.

  17. I’m drawing a blank here. Somebody help me out.

    Estonian hookers are cheap.

  18. Nice unstable peace ya got there.
    Be a shame if anything happened to it…

  19. God yes. Out of Korea, out of Europe, out of NATO, out of UN, in no particular order.

    It’s bad enough the US subsidizes so much of the rest of world when it comes to healthcare, medicine, technology, etc. Let’s stop subsidizing the costs of protecting idiots from each other.

  20. Walker, I believe UMBK = you must be kidding.

  21. Estonian hookers are cheap.

    So are NC trailer trash. What’s your point?

  22. But if we pull out of Europe too soon, will that leave her frustrated?

  23. Estonian hookers are cheap.

    So are NC trailer trash. What’s your point?

    NC trailer trash looks like NC trailer trash, while Estonian hookers often look like models.

    Or so I’ve heard.

  24. But if we pull out of Europe too soon, will that leave her frustrated?

    I prematurely declare Kreel victorious.

  25. NC trailer trash looks like NC trailer trash, while Estonian hookers often look like models.

    If you get the trailer trash before the meth habit starts, some of them are surprisingly attractive. Think young Britney Spears.

  26. Stephen Smith
    “””It’s pretty disingenuous to call the Georgian War a mere “border dispute”””

    I agree, it also involved the stupid decision of the president of a Georgia to attack Russian peacekeepers in the strange belief that his badly trained and led army could stand up to the Russians. In fact the Russians only sent a few regiments into Georgia and the Georgian Army collapsed and ran. At the time of the collapse, Russia had not even managed to put a force equal in numbers to the Georgian Army into South Ossetia but still the Georgian Army ran.

    “””””Not saying the US should have gotten involved, but to call it a border dispute is to misunderstand why it happened. The South Ossetia bullshit was just a pretext.””””

    So what would the USA do if some small country bordering the USA which had agreed that the USA would place internationally recognized peacekeeper in a disputed territory and then that small country attacked and killed the peacekeepers? I don’t think the USA would stop after traveling 20 miles into the small country and then withdraw, it would keep on going and seize the capitol and overthrow the government. To me it seem like Russia was very measured in its response, far more measured then the USA has been for the last 100 years

  27. JB says

    “””It’s bad enough the US subsidizes so much of the rest of world when it comes to healthcare, medicine, technology, etc. Let’s stop subsidizing the costs of protecting idiots from each other.””‘

    Very much agree. Who knows, after we stop subsidizing everyone’s defense we can actually allow the US civilian economy to retain more of its money which will allow that economy to actually invest in products that people want to buy.

  28. Unlike the Soviet Union

    (1) Russia is no threat to the United States unless we make here one

    AND

    (2) A USA-less NATO is still stronger than Russia

    So let’s get out.

  29. Unlike the Soviet Union

    (1) Russia is no threat to the United States unless we make here one

    I think you are very wrong about that.
    The problem with Russia right now is that they have a bad case of empire envy, a grudge against the West they are itching to take out, a history of imperial ambition, and they don’t need or depend on anyone else, cause they have oil.

    Thus, they are more likely to try to invade some other countries for fun and glory than China is, say.
    China needs the world as an export market. Russia only needs China to sell oil to. Otherwise, they don’t give fuck-all if Germany or France or Italy gets pissed off when they invade Ukraine or some other former soviet republic.

    And I disagree with you about NATO being stronger than Russia without the US. Even if the total military capability is better (and I don’t know that it is), they are a bunch of fractured states who probably wouldn’t be able to coordinate a military response effectively.

  30. There is, I dare say, a contingent of the military that likes going abroad every few years and having Uncle Sam pick up the tab.

    Guilty as charged. Now for a brief defense of worldwide presence and NATO in particular.

    1) While there has been no good fully realized post-Cold War national security strategy, here is a rough draft
    a) Prosperity in the world is good for the US.
    b) It is central for continued US and world prosperity for worldwide commerce to continue to flow unimpeded. (and not just oil)
    c) Keeping people on their own sides of the arbitrary lines that have been drawn over the last few decades keeps commerce flowing.
    d) Keeping US troops at various locations around the world helps motivate people to stay on their respective sides of the various lines.
    e) while many actions can be launched from the mainland on short notice, the vast majority of stuff cannot.

    3)Isolationism is not an option. This is another postulate to be sure, but one with some historical empirical backing.

    4) Intergrated alliances like NATO actually allow us to have *fewer* troops in harms way. Greater interoperability makes it so you can count on others when it hits the fan and don’t have to do everything yourself.

    5) Current and future asymetric threats are also well served by wide ranging alliances. As said, it allows us to do less stuff ourselves This is the theory of the ‘1000 ship navy’ and current anti-piracy ops in the Horn of Africa.

    A definite problem with NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe is that the relationship is way too aysmetric. But a structure like NATO provides a valuable service for mutlinational relationships, and is far superior to something like the UN. If anything were done, it should be something like a rebranding and inclusion of Japan and Australia.

  31. A reply to Kolohe

    So you are saying that large scale international trade is only possible with massive government intervention including US troops all over the world?

    Isn’t this a massive form of welfare for international trade, why should US taxpayers be force to subsidize certain trade when they are not necessarily benefiting from it and sometimes they are hurt by this subsidized trade. Should not the free market price goods based on the billions spent on defending trade routes and as you say keeping countries inside their own borders? Why should foreign manufactures and importers get a free ride for this protection while US manufacturers and workers pay the price?

    As to NATO allies you will notice that even though the US was attacked the US allies except for a few countries have been very reluctant to join the US in its world wide “war on terror”. Even when it comes to “missile defense” the US has to bribe countries to take the system. The fact is that most NATO allies are worthless as allies, with militaries which are incapable of doing much and who have little or no interest of doing much even if they had militaries that were capable. Britain will fight but its military is shrinking, France will fight but only in French interest, the Germans won’t fight and the rest at best will only send a brigade or such and that is among the few that will fight

    Europe has lived under a US welfare defense system for 60 years and it shows, they spend only a fraction of what the US spends and most will only send troops to places where they won’t have to fight.

  32. So you are saying that large scale international trade is only possible with massive government intervention including US troops all over the world?

    Based on history, yes. Brits did it in the 19th century, we’ve been doing it since 1945.

    Isn’t this a massive form of welfare for international trade

    Yes but no more so than local state and federal governments subsidize trade by ‘ensuring domestic tranquility’.

    Why should foreign manufactures and importers get a free ride for this protection while US manufacturers and workers pay the price?
    You are obviously much more protectionist than I am. We have different postulates on the effect that international trade has on ‘workers’.

    As to NATO allies you will notice that even though the US was attacked the US allies except for a few countries have been very reluctant to join the US in its world wide “war on terror”.

    I present to you Combined Take Force 150. I present to you International Security Assistance Force. You also understate the capabilities of most NATO allies. France, Germany, Italy are all in the top 10 for most defense spending (along with Japan) – and are on par with South Korea in terms of % of GDP.

    Germany can’t send many people overseas because I think it’s a violation of their constitution – same with Japan, although there’s been some relaxations in this area over the last decade.

    As for the politics, you have a point there. But don’t underestimate the foreign military establishment’s desire to go abroad every few years and have the Queen or the Republic pick up the tab. And most of the opposition toward supporting the US in the GWOT flows directly from antipathy toward OIF (and note that the overall objective of keeping people on their side of the line was well in hand in Mesopotamia in 2002)

  33. Kolohe writes
    “””””Based on history, yes. Brits did it in the 19th century, we’ve been doing it since 1945.”””

    At least your honest on the massive costs of the globalist financial and trade empire. But of course the US is not the British Empire and its also no longer 1945 when most of the worlds economies were devastated by war and the US was relatively untouched. Yet today the US still spends more then its “allies”, who instead of paying to defend themselves get welfare from the US so they can instead put money and resources into the civilian economy and then out compete the US business and workers

    “””””Yes but no more so than local state and federal governments subsidize trade by ‘ensuring domestic tranquility’. “”””‘

    But in the case of domestic subsidized trade it is paid for by US taxpayers, both business and workers who get the benefits from that trade, while in the case of international trade it is disproportionally paid for by the same US businesses and workers while it subsidizes foreign businesses and workers. If Europe wants the benefits of keeping countries inside the borders then they should pay for it, instead of paying less then ? of the amount that US taxpayers pay. And Europe and other US “allies” won’t pay as long as the US gives them a free ride.

    Your examples of Combined Task Force 150 and the International Security Assistance Force also make my point. A few frigates who do mostly nothing and the Europeans forces in Afghanistan which with a few exceptions don’t even add up to battalion strength with a lot of them not even up to company strength per country shows how little Europe provides and even among those larger forces most are prohibited from fighting by their countries rules of engagement.

    “””””You also understate the capabilities of most NATO allies. France, Germany, Italy are all in the top 10 for most defense spending (along with Japan) – and are on par with South Korea in terms of % of GDP.”””

    Once again you make my point, all the countries you mention have been on US defense welfare for 60 years and none of them are even close to the percentage of money spent on “defense” as the US. Yet even though these countries compete against US businesses and workers you expect US businesses and workers to pay a disproportional amount for the defense of these countries. All this means is that those countries can then keep more money in their civilian economy which allows them a competitive advantage over the US.

  34. Maybe Europe and Japan do benefit from our war spending. Bully for them. It wasn’t their decision for the U.S. to have a bloated war machine. Maybe global alliances just wouldn’t work without America’s generous devotion to guns over butter, but no one can deny that looking out for our allies isn’t a burden but an act of self-interest. With an economy as fragile as ours especially.

  35. “””””but no one can deny that looking out for our allies isn’t a burden but an act of self-interest. With an economy as fragile as ours especially.””””””

    I can and will deny it. What next, are you now going to also come out for massive domestic welfare as well, after all its looking out for others as well. How about National Health Care? And with an economy as fragile as the US is it needs all the advantages possible and by giving away defense to others the US gives them the advantage while the US gets the costs.

    We have lots of people who complain about the quality and price of US products yet ignore the fact that we divert a huge chunk of the US economy (it’s a lot more then 4% GDP if you add up all the costs) to mostly defending our competitors.

    Isn’t this magazine suppose to be about “free markets”, if so how is it a good market idea to give away your product to your competitors? Does McDonalds give away hamburger to Burger King? So why should the US give away defense to our so-called allies?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.