25 February 2010

U.S. demands a more aggressive Europe

The United States is the most violent country on the global stage. No other country fights more wars. Western European nations have, by contrast, been relatively peaceful since the slaughter of WWII, at least with each other. The Obama administration does not appreciate this new ethos. It has accused the Europeans of being too pacifistic. According to U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, "large swaths of the [European] public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it." Horrors. The Europeans are "averse" to solving problems by brute force. How very unAmerican of them.

Gates claims that European pacifism is "an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace." An interesting observation considering that massive military spending and interminable warfare by the United States -- it spends almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined -- doesn't seem to have achieved security for Americans. At least not in their minds. They feel so besieged they spend ever more to fund the "war on terror" while becoming ever more paranoid.

Nor has it done much for other people's security. Three million Vietnamese lost their lives in that lengthy exercise in American belligerence. Over 100,000 Iraqis have died violently and over 4,000,000 driven from their homes since the U.S. invaded in 2003. And now the slaughter grows in Afghanistan.

The Americans are targets of extremists precisely because they are constantly getting in other people's faces. Instead of being concerned about European pacifism, they could try practicing a little of their own. It just might do wonders for their security.

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