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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

From Robert Higgs: "Why fight for King and Country?"

Curt Doolittle tells him, and I don't think it's what Robert Higgs expected to hear:
I think the answer to this problem for both sides is to pull the US military, state and intelligence organizations from Europe entirely so that European defense, international relations, and the stabilization of commodity prices is left to the management of Europeans. It’s not really necessary for Americans to stabilize the price of oil, or any other commodity, now that we’re close to being energy independent. And our dollar will remain the currency of last resort even more durably if we drop our international intrigues.

That would stop the American cultural necessity for jingoism in order to preserve the cultural will to pay for the necessity that we police the world for largely European convenience. And it would allow us to save three quarters of our military expenditures, and focus our efforts on domestic reality rather than ideological propagation as a means of further discounting the cost of our policing. [It would] be nice to have a domestic government rather than an internationally focused one actually.

Conversely, it would force holier-than-thou Europeans to do all the nonsense that Americans now do and also to pay for it. Which would require the re-nationalization of european propagandism in order to motivate the already heavily taxed population to pay for.

I’m sorry that you don’t like being a client state of Rome dear Athens-after-the-overreach, but without us you’ll be a client state of ether German political and economic power and cultural discipline, or Russian resource and military power.

It probably doesn’t occur to silly people on the other side of the pond that it’s because Britain was so bad at containing its self interest, rent seeking, politics and policies that Americans ended up with the entire Empire in our lap, and had to militarize our entire country quite against our naturally isolationist inclination and will.

We look like you 100 years ago. Maybe even better than you did.

As someone who has to deal with UK bureaucracy, laziness and pervasive incompetence on a regular basis I have to say that the sentiment is reciprocated. A nation of fat, ugly, crooked-toothed, self aggrandizing, talkative alcoholics, dressed in gap-wear, pontificating morality because they have the convenience of not being responsible for their actions – having outsourced the dirty work across the pond.

It is profoundly naive to think that nations have the degree of nationalism that they want to rather than the level of nationalism that they need to. People are too practical to waste their energy.

Glass houses and all.

Mr. Doolittle is going on the blogroll.

15 comments:

David Sager said...

So I take it you think the petrodollar arrangement is no longer necessary for maintaining dollar supremacy as long as possible?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Monetary economics aren't my strong suit. I think the odds of a positive ROI are what's ultimately driving dollar dominance. Like the Swiss franc and (once upon a time) the British pound, which still commands a premium even though they've got Greece-style numbers.

Now back to the comment. Admit it: we've always wanted to tell Britain and Europe this.

The young fogey said...

Amen.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Bravo and well said!

Anonymous said...

Like the Swiss franc and (once upon a time) the British pound, which still commands a premium even though they've got Greece-style numbers.

Greece's debts are denominated in Euros. It owes Euros which it doesn't control. Britain's debts are denominated in British pounds, which it prints.

elvisd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elvisd said...

My sentiments exactly. I remember when my son and I were hosting a contingent of Danish teens and their chaperone. Very polite people. I got into a conversation with the chaperone, who was from the Faroe Islands, so I got to hear the almost extinct Faroese language (a Viking holdover language. His English was impeccable. We eventually veered into politics. He went into the classic Ugly American theme. My response was, I agree. We need to end American imperialism. The first step is to dissolve NATO.

He suddenly wasn't for that. I guess champagne socialism has a hard time balancing the military into its checkbook.

Anonymous said...

Doolittle is wrong if he thinks American foreign policy is driven by the goal of satisfying European convenience.

He should pay attention to what the US foreign policy establishment has written and said. Both realists and liberal internationalists wish to prevent the rise of regional hegemons in Europe or Asia. Such regional hegemons would - no matter how energy independent the US is - reduce US relative power simply because power is a zero-sum game.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

You can have your power. I want a real nation with a real people and a real culture.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm not part of the US establishment. What I want is irrelevant as far as US foreign policy goes. I'm just talking about the foreign policy establishment thinks.

elvisd said...

He should pay attention to what the US foreign policy establishment has written and said. Both realists and liberal internationalists wish to prevent the rise of regional hegemons in Europe or Asia. Such regional hegemons would - no matter how energy independent the US is - reduce US relative power simply because power is a zero-sum game.
AG posted about energy issues on Sailer a couple of years back:
"How much oil is currently being held off the market by supposedly recalcitrant oil-producing nations? Would they behave any differently under anyone's theoretical free market conditions? (I assume Exxon doesn't sell every ounce of oil it has laying around either).
Is there some "true market price" for oil which it exceeds right now? Post your calculations.
Has the cost of maintaining over-large, tricked out militaries, foreign aid, environmental restrictions in the US, etc., been netted out of this ideal price?
Put up or shut up, "cheap oil" advocates. "
Exactly. You’re paying a high price for oil already, just not officially at the pump. Your taxes are paying for it, distributed through the defense and state departments, for starters.
Liberals have published literally hundreds of articles over the last decades that begin with “The Hidden Costs of….”, so here’s an excellent chance to bring some issues on the table.
Yes, post some calculations.
In a sane country, a divestment in foreign military and state commitments would be announced with, “We’re lowering your taxes”. Would that offset the predicted petro price spike as would-be hegemons start building up on the Risk board? Maybe not, but an honest discussion would at least discuss such a tradeoff.
You cite “realists and liberal internationalists”. Who? Lindsey Graham, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain? Dick “Deficits Don’t Matter” Cheney?

Anonymous said...

I'm not referring to career politicians. I'm referring to the foreign policy establishment - academics and practitioners like Mearsheimer and Brzezinski.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The basic thesis remains: we are carrying the ball lateraled to us by the bankrupt British and French empires. The goal remains Anglo and Franco dominance.

It's hilarious how static we are trying to keep things. The US still occupies Europe, Germany still isn't on the UN Security Council despite being the most important and wealthiest country in Europe, and Russia is still the evil empire.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean that the goal of US policy is to maintain Anglo and Franco dominance?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

How am I to conclude otherwise?

Britain and France waged war with the Central Powers. With US help, they defeated their rival German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, imposing punitive sanctions on the Germans and helping themselves to territory in the Middle East.

When the predictable happened and the Germans came back to settle the score, the US intervened again. Since WWII, the US has been administering what were formerly the imperial activities of Britain and France.

Germany has returned again. She is the most important and wealthiest country on the Continent. She has only just finished 'Holocaust' reparations and even, incredibly, WWI reparations. She is denied nuclear weapons, unlike Britain and France. And despite being one of the most important sovereigns in the world, she is not on the UN Security Council.

Britain and France are bankrupt. The British nations are desperate to get away from each other and the looming Muslim disaster in London. France is becoming Weimar, only with Catholics, Marxists and Muslims instead of republicans, Marxists and Nazis.

But Britain and France are still treated as if they won WWII.