The great ship moved silently through the water.
Actually, it didn’t, as a 60,000-ton, 1,000-foot long aircraft carrier does nothing quietly. So as Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov recently entered Dutch waters in an overt show of force, protocol was to scramble a naval vessel to “escort” the ship.
In addition to potential threats being met aggressively, shadowing a foreign ship allows for invaluable intelligence-gathering.
One small problem.
The Dutch couldn’t find a single navy ship or coast guard vessel, inexcusable given the Netherlands’ strategic coastline. Instead, they sent an old propeller plane with zero surveillance capability to greet the Kuznetsov. That sound you heard was the Russian’s hysterical laughter.
Why the embarrassing response? Because the Dutch retired their patrol aircraft 12 years ago. And their navy was unavailable, not because it protecting shipping lanes or fighting piracy, but in reality, doesn’t exist, thanks to defense budget cuts.
But the ineptitude of the Dutch (similar for most NATO countries) shouldn’t come as a shock. And it all boils down to appalling European ungratefulness and American obtuseness.
NATO nations are required to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense, yet only four did so last year, (average is only 1.6). Yet America spent 4.1 percent, carrying the water for the slacker countries, as always.
Our “allies” skimp on defense so they can gleefully fund their socialist pet projects, relying on America’s security guarantee. Their “let the Americans do the heavy lifting while we party” mentality is the ultimate slap-in-the-face, a giant middle finger to the Greatest Generation who saved their hides from the most brutal regimes in history, during both World War II and the Cold War.
And we have only ourselves to blame for perpetuating this humiliation — something that needs to be rectified.
We don’t need Europe, so it’s time to stop our carte blanche policy. The Europeans, for once, need to defend themselves. Outdated treaties should be nullified and the bulk of our forces removed. In addition to weaning Europe off America’s unappreciated generosity, it would be an economic boon, as billions would be spent at home rather than in foreign economies. The same goes for South Korea, where thousands of troops only serve a symbolic, albeit expensive, function.
Instead of having troops stationed in over 130 countries, our leaders should use smarter domestic policy that would result in less blood and treasure needlessly expended overseas.
And a prime example is Iraq.
A die-hard Republican recently remarked, “Obama is losing the Iraq victory that Bush won.”
First, many Democrats voted for the Iraq resolution. Infinitely more important, there was never was a victory to lose. The chaos engulfing Iraq is the predictable outcome of a massive bipartisan failure, one predicated on being “world’s policeman.”
Intervention should never have occurred, but since America’s modus operandi seems to be “shoot first and analyze later,” it was inevitable. Now, with thousands of Americans dead or maimed, and trillions spent, there is nothing to show but anarchy and unspeakable brutality.
America serving as the Middle Eastern policeman created a nation of lawlessness, a breeding ground for the planet’s most evil. Before the invasion, sectarian violence was nonexistent, as Saddam Hussein kept everything in check. Yes, a brutal dictator, but one who hadn’t harmed America. Yet we removed him with no regard to consequences, expecting a coronation of roses but receiving a bouquet of bullets and bombs.
America’s dismantling of Iraq with absolutely no plan for “what to do next” created a power vacuum that still exists. Now, parts of the country are falling to radicals worse than the extremists they are battling. And of course, there is talk of American involvement to “fix” the situation.
Three things are clear:
1. The real reason Iraq was invaded was oil, both for America and the world. But guess what? America has more energy resources in the lower 48 than almost the entire Middle East combined, and when Alaska’s mammoth resources are added, it’s a no-brainer. We need to drill responsibly to free ourselves of our unwinnable Middle Eastern entanglements. Not only would it throttle up our economy, as cheap fuel would revive America’s moribund manufacturing, but would immeasurably bolster national security.
2. There is no solution for Iraq, at least not one America can produce. We need to monitor the situation from afar, cruise missiles on standby. But under no circumstances should American boots ever again be on the ground.
3. America needs to protect its interests overseas while being a beacon to billions. But it should heed the vision of another president named George, whose prescience about avoiding foreign entanglements is as applicable today as when he served as our first elected leader.
Time to arrest our policy of playing policeman to the world.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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