The Europeans must be wondering: what happened to the America we used to know?
An Islamic caliphate has been established in the Middle East, where American troops only recently enjoyed hegemony. Russia is invading its neighbors; and China is rattling its saber, threatening the historical American naval dominance in the Pacific. Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines are all threatened. It’s been quite the turn in global events during the Obama administration. The incident that really sharpened the European mind regarding geopolitics was the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. With bodies falling from the sky, Europe could no longer avoid the obvious aggression by its eastern neighbor.
Perhaps the one thing that Europe can be sure of as the world burns is that the continent can no longer count on the American defense umbrella. Under President Obama, America has shown reluctance to lead and to be drawn into global conflicts–hence the classic leading from behind statement. This has allowed evil to triumph and to even flourish.
As uncomfortable as it is, the President of the United States is the leader of the free world. Leadership carries responsibilities. America has taken it upon itself to basically keep the world peace since the end of World War II. This world state of affairs has been threatened. (I wonder if the Europeans even secretly miss W, but maybe I can’t go that far.)
Western Europe has freeloaded on the American defense budget for decades, all the while pouring money into their social welfare programs and creating a socialist wonderland of entitlements. Now the bill is coming due, and they can’t pay it. Their economies are in recession. Their defense budgets are miniscule. There debts-to-GDP ratios are unsightly high. In short, Europe is broke at the exact time they need to pump money into defending themselves. (Of course, this must be all George Bush’s fault.)
The French government, when trying to cynically decide on sanctions against Russia, informed the world that they would be willing to cancel the second aircraft carrier they are building for the Kremlin–but not the first. After the downing of the Malaysian airliner, Paris said that if the Russians do something really bad, then they would consider cancelling the first contract. One could be forgiven for wondering what would be considered really bad if three hundred bodies falling from the sky don’t fit the bill.
Europe is going to be forced to decide what direction they take in regard to the welfare state and their collective defense budget. Russian aggression in Ukraine is not the only challenge they will face in the coming two years before President Obama leaves office. It will be very interesting to watch how the continent deals with a future crisis. The stakes are high, as we all were taught in school about the tragedies of the twentieth century. Don’t think they can’t happen again, because they can. History may not repeat itself, but it can rhyme.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom