Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The Potemkin Alliance

That's what Victor Davis Hanson calls NATO because, as the fighting in Afghanistan these past 10 months has clearly revealed, only the English speaking members of the mutual defense treaty organization show any willingness actually to close with, and shoot weapons at, the bad guys; and of them, only the Americans have a large enough military to threaten either Russia or China (but certainly not both) with serious damage if not outright defeat in a non-nuclear war.

This would be a very good time to implement the Fraley Doctrine. If you effete, sapped by socialism, non combat types in Europe get invaded again by a bad guy, we're not coming to save your sorry asses. Talk them out of it, or appeal to the UN for peacekeeping forces. That should work.

There might be new exceptions to the Fraley Doctrine for Eastern European nations which have a Republican form of government and a military expenditure of 1/2 of ours per capita. Tough cookies for the former members of the soviet union, however, you'll always be a little bit the bitch of the bear.


I remember being in Vilnius last summer and seeing a plaque with a GWB quote on it. It went something like this...

"Any nation that chooses to make an enemy of Lithuania, makes an enemy of the U.S."

Now that isn't as strong as the "unflinching ally" promise he gave to Saakashvil, but the spirit is there.

Why did he make so many implicit promises he couldn't keep?
Because in the final analysis he is merely a politician. I do believe he'll make it unpleasant for the Russians in some ways to make up for being completely unable to help Georgia directly, but no one is getting direct military support from us for a long time, perhaps even a decade. China could end the Olympics with a bombing/invasion of Taiwan and we'd do nothing but talk trash. A unique result of a good but poorly fought (until recently) war.
I wonder if in the final analysis the Iraqi invasion will be seen as a positive when the true costs become clear.
Are you talking lives or money? For lives, it's no contest.
Actually I was thinking beyond that, but since you mentioned it, even the lives won't be worth it unless the end result is a vast improvement over the old regime. The money is going to be in the trillions, so who knows.

But I was thinking more in terms of the crippling of the military's ability to react to other crises around the global in the coming years. (or even to have the ability to threaten to react).
My cousin says that the Army is in bad shape but the Marines are doing well with their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not that we use them up and can't use them again, veteran troops are much better than first timers, it's that Clinton cut the size of the Armed Forces from the proper size to our too small size now. Put the blame on the right guy.
If there is another tyrant like Saddam within a few years, I will be open to a 'we have failed' meme. Tony says that such a result is inevitable. I'm not so pessimistic. Living free of tyranny is worth a whole lot. A trillion divided by 50 million is what? $200,000. Little pricey, I guess.
Nah, its only 20,000, but there is only 25M in Iraq, and the costs will probably top 2T (not that the government will bear all those costs, a lot of American families will pay dearly).

Lets call it 80,000 to 100,000 for per Iraqi.

Not cheap indeed.
I was conting Afghanistan as well. What did we spend as percent of GDP 1942-1945? Can you put a dollar price on getting rid of the Nazis and imperial Japanese, seemingly forever, as a real political force? I think their elimination (and the liberation of the nations they conquered) worth the Kennedy like "any price." Perhaps that's just me.
The Nazis and the Japanese planned on ruling the world and nearly had the means to do it. I don't think you can put Saddam in the same league as them, or even in the same sport.
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