As President Trump jetted from Andrews last week I doubt he expected the reception he was about to get from two of the most damaged and thus pathetic players on the European stage.
French President Emmanuel Macron, he of mommy issues, cast the United States as a possible enemy in a future war. He did so speaking from a nation covered head to foot with the graves of young American men who died to defend and liberate France. Not many French graves in America to speak of in the same context. With the sense of unearned geopolitical arrogance they have sported since 1945, this puny down at the polls weasel —think his popularity numbers around 20 percent— then upbraided the American president over nationalism. This coming from the most nationalist people on the face of the planet. A nation so insecure in its place in the world that it actually has a government department to see to it that too many English words don’t fall into the French lexicon.
French nationalism is so overwrought that it rightfully extols its great culture to the world, conveniently forgetting the only reason that culture is not German-speaking is because of American blood and treasure. A sense of self so hypocritical that it lectures America on the morality of its national security policy, while any time French interests are sneezed at the wrong way in Africa the French paras pay a visit to prop up their client despot of the month. It is a desiccated, weak, and effete nation that has retreated into art glories, its only bastion of excellence left, and that centuries old. But Emmanuel Macron knows he’ll make domestic points bashing President Trump. And he will, but they will be temporary. He knows further that the only way France matters even a bit in the councils of the world, and is not seen as the fifth-rate power that it is (kind of a Uruguay with a couple of nukes), is to once again, as is their usual custom, get on its hands and knees in front of the Germans, open wide, and let them have their way with Europe.
The brave poilus who died defending the sacred soil of France from the Germans have been betrayed, as French fighting men have always been betrayed, by cowardly and timid politicians who have no problem offering up to le Boche nicely what they couldn’t get or keep by arms, the virtual occupation and continual subjugation of France by Germany.
What was one of Little Manny’s points of contention? That we’re walking away from the INF Treaty of the late 80s, a treaty that restricted intermediate range nuclear forces. Well, having served in the intelligence office of a battalion in just the unit, the Pershing Missile Brigade, that the agreement affected, I can tell you from personal professional experience that the Soviets and then the Russians violated that treaty from day one. All we are doing is recognizing reality and acting in the best interests of Allied security. But can’t have that when we’re down in the polls, now can we Oedipus…er…um…I mean, Manny?
And what of the Fourth Reich, our second little pal?
This one is personal for me as I, along with millions of other American military personnel, spent years in Germany defending her against a possible Soviet invasion. Were the Sovs likely to come across the Fulda Gap in the 80s? No. You know why? Because we were there. Not the tiny unionized Dutch to the north, not the professional but small German forces themselves, certainly not the unreliable French backstop who would have loved to have a superpower showdown take place on German soil, but us. Only us. The rest were helper elves, but that’s about it. Except, of course, the Brits. But they’re family and by the high caliber of their men and equipment they would have acquitted themselves well in any conflict.
But why were we there? Why didn’t we just do to them what Rome did to Carthage? Why didn’t we execute the Morgenthau Plan? They undoubtedly deserved it.
Two times in thirty years we had to cross the Atlantic and spend vast sums of life and material to extricate Europe from their unholy embrace. Then after that we spend over seventy years underwriting their national security, only now to be lectured by this defense golddigger, this national anti-paragon of virtue and good sense, that American nationalism is a bad thing. No, Angela, German nationalism is a very bad thing.
When our wallets were open and the bear was at the door, you liked us just fine. But as we put our country first in our own priorities, as you have continuously done for yourselves since 1870, then, muzzle off, you turn towards your true nature once more. But that’s okay mein frau, Pentagon oplans from the 40s have all been digitized.
Have they forgot the Marshall Plan? Have they forgot the Berlin Airlift? Have they no honor?
Am I tasting bile? Yes. Because I know not all Germans feel this way. I still have friends from my time there and they are no fans of this latest maneuver from tante Angela. She too is a crippled leader. After consigning her nation to demographic disaster in a futile attempt to atone for Germany’s horrific record as a state, she lost electoral contest after provincial contest and was forced to announce she will not run for reelection. Like Macron, tacking left to appease her hard left allies in government, she criticizes the U.S. and the president like an alley cat grousing that the lion protecting it isn’t meeting its every whim.
That is a far cry from the German government of Helmut Kohl of the 80s, who took serious flak for it but who were strong allies and reliable friends. Some of us remember the near raj we Americans had established in then West Germany. From the AFRC at Lake Chiemsee to the massive PX and main street USA complex at Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart, we set up shop and made not just an Army dedicated to the defense of our German allies, we made friends. Well, some lasted. Apparently some did not.
These days our actual friends, nations and peoples who know from a hard education what the consequences are of losing their freedom, are in Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and the Baltic states. Unlike our erstwhile allies to the West, they ask for an American defense presence and are willing to pay for it at that. The lesson of Soviet occupation taught them well, a lesson Western Europe only avoided by our exertions.
But Western Europe now talks of a “real European Army.” Ha! Your current forces could be cleaned out by the Oklahoma National Guard on a slow afternoon. But sure, Fritz, go right ahead. When you have to make the choice between guns and butter maybe your vaunted welfare state will have to face economic reality for the first time. Like a child leaving home, the responsibilities of paying for your own life will be a rude awakening after seventy years of hard partying on the American dime.
And good luck putting together a national military force to be respected after generations of fostering a domestic ideal of letting someone else take care of the national security heavy lifting. Your wan PhD candidates in Modern Art Studies may get a squinch unnerved at the fun of a thirty mile forced march with full ruck. French baristas would break down and cry over the kind of food a tactically proficient Army eats in the field. But sorry mon ami, thems the breaks.
NATO worked well in its assigned mission of keeping the Soviets at bay. But that mission ended over a quarter of a century ago and the attitude of churlish allies shows it. Maybe it’s time for NATO II and a twenty-first century recalibration.
Pull all but skeleton forces out of Western continental Europe. Surely almost all ground forces and headquarters. Redeploy them to Poland, the Balts, the Czech Republic and other NATO nations who would welcome these forces and who feel Putin’s imperial breath breathing down their necks.
If France and Germany are serious about manning their own defense, let them do it out of their own coffers. If they’re not serious, call their bluff, for international political posturing can cut both ways. If they fund and deploy their own Army and leave NATO, then the rest of Europe will have a choice. Given the timeless record of German aggression and deceit and the long story of French cowardice and military impotence, it is not hard to guess which way most of Europe will jump. At that point, the anticlimactic duo will cease to matter much.
With the money the American taxpayers save, we can even throw the Hun and their slutty little sister a going away party, catered with the finest French champagne and German sekt, naturellement.