Rather than list the litany of woes we are experiencing, we might be better served by looking at some underlying causes.
It’s strange Russia is threatening Ukraine in the face of NATO opposition. After all, just the Western European NATO allies have vastly greater resources than Russia. Germany alone has a GDP of 2 1/2 times Russia’s. Theoretically, Russia would stand little chance waging an offensive war against those with much more means. All it would take is resolve by our European allies.
Therein lies the rub. Donald Trump recognized something was wrong. Western Europe is comfortable letting the U.S. defend them instead of taking their proper place in protecting shared principles of free societies. We spend 3.7% of our GDP on defense. Germany provides all of 1.4%. Trump demanded all the NATO allies meet the 2% they agreed on.
In light of this dereliction, it’s fair to ask what Germany is up to. Is that nation committed to free countries or just feathering its own nest? To date, Germany hasn’t come close to the 2%. Under former Chancellor Andrea Merkel, not only didn’t it keep its defense obligations, but it joined Russia in building the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. Merkel was seen as putting German trade above all else. By pumping natural gas under the Baltic directly from Russia to Germany, it undermines the energy security of Eastern Europe.
President Trump, exasperated with Merkel, blocked completion of the pipeline. Unfathomably, upon taking office, Biden reversed the Trump stand, allowing completion. We have every right to know the stance on the issue of the new German Chancellor.
Olaf Scholz must be put on the spot and explain precisely where Germany stands. Given its central geographic and dominant economic position, it’s necessary to deliver unwavering support for NATO and our shared ideals. Otherwise, our 320,000 military personnel in Europe are at risk of a stab in the back.
No one should forget the numerous times in history, Germany got together with Russia to carve up Poland. Our forces in Eastern Europe with a turncoat Germany behind them is a recipe for disaster.
Goals for military preparedness are met, and a mutual front against aggressors is a minimum. Without real commitments, the U.S. military forces in Europe cannot be justified. The risk to our people is just too severe. Biden needs to confront Germany and the rest of NATO precisely what they are willing to do to defend our shared interests and ideals.
What we actually see is President Biden already having OK’d Nord Stream 2. At the same time, Olaf Sholz is far more concerned about being “Green” than supporting freedom. No wonder the Russians are making demands backed up by massed troops. NATO potentially is vastly stronger but lacks the spine and commitment to stand up to the aggressors.
Some will say, withdrawing our troops will give the bad guys free rein. Russia has already swallowed Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, a slice of Georgia, and is angling for more. Rather than stopping Russian growth and influence, we appear to be providing an army of hostages. Better we plan to withdraw to the U.K. and see Europe’s reaction. It will tell us everything we need to know.
A disturbing election occurred towards the end of this year that portends a prosperous nation’s descent into poverty and totalitarianism. Gabriel Boric was elected Chili’s president. That nation is about to consider constitutional changes. The present document passed under the Pinochet dictatorship before he retired and the restoration of representative government. Still, Chile achieved the highest standard of living in Latin America while it was the law of the land. As I have pointed out, Pinochet was a unique dictator.
The new left-wing president wants a new constitution built on “Equity.” Free and having an area leading and growing per capita income, why entertain radical and dangerous change? The last South American country to go this route was Venezuela. That turned so out well.
People envious of others demand redress for historical wrongs from others that never harmed the complainers. Millions have fled Venezuela. Will Chilians be the new refugees on other nations’ borders?
This reminded me of Ben Franklin’s warning when our Constitution was adopted, “we’ve given you a Republic if you can keep it.” The Chilian people seem to be voting against the basis of their prosperity and freedom. No wonder, Envy is one of the deadly sins.
Maybe, Chilians talking to the Venusuelian refugees in their midst pullback from the abyss.
My series “The Long Road to More” showed how far humanity has come based on Western ideals. There is nothing guaranteed for individuals to progress to a better future t. We see how little fidelity Germans and Chilians have to the cause of freedom in contrast to having more stuff for themselves. Russia and China are moving to greater repression. Cuba and Venezuela show how easy it is for a nation to return to subsistence.
Often we can see the flaws in others while failing to see they mirror our own. If Germany is a suspect ally, how does the world view our disastrous Afghan pullout? How does Chilians demand an “equitable” Constitution, rather than one won based on equality, differs from what progressives demand in our own country. If liberty is receding abroad, are similar causes present here? What does this mean going forward?
For democracies, the essential New year’s Resolution is to determine how much we value our freedoms and what we are willing to sacrifice to defend them.