There’s an old joke that readers who harken from the post-World War II era may not have heard. The joke is about an advertisement in the classified pages (that’s where people sold things before eBay and Craigslist): French World War II military rifle for sale: Never fired. Dropped only once.
After World War I the French built the Maginot Line. It was a line of concrete fortifications, obstacles and weapon installations that was constructed on the French side of its borders with Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg during the 1930s. It was designed to keep an invading German Army out of France. The French Army with their allies hunkered down behind the Maginot Line. They numbered 144 divisions. The Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe pulverized and crossed the Maginot Line in six short weeks. The France we know did not exist for the remainder of World War II.
Without question, France has born the brunt of ISIS attacks in Europe. Of course, ISIS is not the Wehrmacht. However, following the Nice attack French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that “France is going to have to live with terrorism.”
[Source: Is Europe Helpless? A civilization that believes in nothing will ultimately submit to anything. By Bret Stephens]
This may have been intended as a statement of fact but it came across as an admission that his government isn’t about to rally the public to a campaign of blood, toil, tears and sweat against ISIS—another premature capitulation in a country that has known them before.
We, as a nation, often are frustrated that European members of NATO do not spend as much as Americans on national defense (or even the amount stipulated in the NATO agreement – 2% of the GDP). Only 5 of the 28 nation group meet the 2% obligation. France isn’t one of them (Great Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia are the only members besides us that meet their obligation and Greece has no “GDP”). Therefore, I applaud Mr. Trump when he rails against NATO for letting Americans pay for their defense.
Nonetheless, at last count, members of the European Union (not all of whom are NATO members – e.g., Sweden, Switzerland) spent more than $200 billion a year on defense, fielded more than 2,000 jet fighters and 500 naval ships, and employed some 1.4 million military personnel. One must ask why Europe did not deploy an expeditionary force to annihilate ISIS after repeated attacks on their citizens. They could certainly defeat ISIS. Why hasn’t NATO, in defense of France, launched such a force?
[From the Stephens article] Mr. Valls was later booed at a memorial service for the Nice victims. It would be heartening to think this was because he and his boss, President François Hollande, have failed to forge a strategy to destroy ISIS. But the public’s objection was that there hadn’t been enough cops along the Promenade des Anglais to stop the attack. In soccer terms, it’s a complaint about the failure of defense, not the lack of a proper offense. (American voters, Achtung! Does any of this sound familiar!?!?)
Then there is Germany… It seems almost like a past epoch that Germans welcomed a million Middle Eastern migrants in an ecstasy of moral self-congratulation, led by Angela Merkel’s chant of “We can do it!” Last summer’s slogan now sounds as dated and hollow as Barack Obama’s “Yes we can!”
Now Germany will have to confront a terror threat that will make the Baader-Meinhof gang of the 1970s seem trivial. (And, by the by, these were leftists – RF) The German state is stronger and smarter than the French one, but it also surrenders more easily to moral intimidation. The idea of national self-preservation at all costs will always be debatable in a country seeking to expiate an inexpiatable sin.
The European Union’s finger fell out of the dike when Great Britain bolted in Brexit. Will it survive? As Mr. Stephens posits, they must abandon the mythologies which have been fostered by its “leaders”: that the European Union is the result of a postwar moral commitment to peace; that Christianity is of merely historical importance to European identity; that there’s no such thing as a military solution; that one’s country isn’t worth fighting for; that honor is atavistic and tolerance is the supreme value. People who believe in nothing, including themselves, will ultimately submit to anything.
What made Europe whole again after World War II and what kept Europe at peace since World War II is American military might. Hillary and all Democrats want to progressively (pun intended) weaken the US military so that the “savings” can be spent on their altruist projects.
My friends, I simply cannot overstate WHAT A BAD IDEA THAT IS. Trump is pilloried because he said our military is a disaster. Lesson one, Mr. Trump. Don’t speak the truth during a political campaign. Lesson two: fulfill your promise – “I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us.”
The Rugged Individualist agrees. Capitulation to ISIS will end in rivers of blood. The question now is “theirs or ours?”