Streetwise Professor

June 9, 2020

Pay More or Cry More

Filed under: Military,Politics — cpirrong @ 12:46 pm

Well, that didn’t last long, did it? Mere weeks after I said nice things about Angela Merkel, I am compelled to revert to “we didn’t bomb them enough” mode.

Why? That shrieking you hear emanating from between the Rhine and the Elbe (and on the Potomac too, alas) was caused by Trump’s decision to remove 9,500 US military personnel from Germany. An attack on the established order! An affront to Nato! Baaaaaad Orange Man done it again! Ach die lieber!

What Trump did was follow through on a warning he had made repeatedly: unless Germany lives up to its commitment to Nato to meet the 2 percent of GDP military spending target, he would withdraw US troops from Germany. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Over and over and over again.

I know it is truly shocking that a president would actually follow through on a warning, but there you have it. And if the Germans haven’t figured out that Trump carries through on his threats with high probability, they just confirm their reputation as the dumbest smart people in the world.

It is reported that at least some of these troops (about half) will redeploy to Poland. Truth be told, stationing troops along the Vistula provides a lot more security vs. the Russians than they would along the Rhine. So it is utter bullshit to say that this is some anti-Nato move that benefits the Russians.

But that utter bullshit is repeated over-and-over again, on the Potomac too.

The whole episode demonstrates that this has fuck all to do with Nato or the Russians. It’s all about money. German money. The money they don’t want to spend on their own defense, and the money they want from Americans–both to defend them, and to spend in Germany. With regards to the latter, American dollars spent in Poland to defend against the Russians benefits the Germans indirectly (Uncle Sugar is still paying for the freeloaders’ defense), but those dollars aren’t finding their way into German pockets. So when you get down to it, the real reason for the outrage is that the United States is no longer providing as succulent a host for parasitic Germans.

I note in passing that in their typical at your throat/at your feet way, a lot of Germans really dislike and resent the presence of large numbers of American military personnel in their country. But they like the money that the Americans spend. The frenzied reaction demonstrates which is more important.

So I say to the Germans: pay more, or cry more. Pay more on your own defense. If you don’t, and don’t like the consequences, cry as much as you want. I for one will frolic in your salty tears.

Indeed, Trump did not go far enough. Withdraw them all, and let Germany stew in its own juices. Or its own tears, if you will.

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  1. Hmmm… would this be the furthest (north) east US troops have been stationed in Europe? We did not cross the Elbe if my memory serves me and the Oder River is further east and is much of the border today between Germany and Poland… I am not counting any of far north of Norway, nor Greece or what little of Turkey is in Europe. Just the main parts of continental Europe.

    Comment by JavelinaTex — June 9, 2020 @ 1:30 pm

  2. @JavelineTex – Once again, Trump is the worst Russian agent ever.

    Comment by Christopher Hunt — June 9, 2020 @ 4:36 pm

  3. Totally agree, Trump should have pulled every soldier.

    Comment by Joe Walker — June 9, 2020 @ 6:49 pm

  4. NATO is an obsolete organization that was designed to fight an enemy that no longer exists along borders that were erased decades ago.

    NATO’s value to U.S. national security is nominal and what contributions that it does make do not require a such an extensive security arrangement as NATO. Our forward basing can be moved anywhere we want as it is obvious that having U.S. basing on your soil is something other nations desire because of the economic impact. The new selections might offer strategic and operational advantage that Germany does not have.

    Move the US Marine Forces Europe to Italy where the Sixth Fleet is headquartered. Move the 2nd Stryker, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, and 10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command to new bases in Poland along with the necessary support and training units.

    Leave the medical units and maybe some rear echelon units in Germany for now with the understanding that they could be relocated too.

    End. The. NATO. Commitment.

    Comment by Mark L Liveringhouse — June 10, 2020 @ 12:04 am

  5. You should not have said anything positive about her – I was wondering back then (same about Musk). I agree on Michael Moore, though…
    She was not against strict Corona measures out of principle (for liberty or whatever), but because there is a sizeable amount of her voters (and the German press) who are/were Corona sceptics, and she merely was waiting until the sky is clear as to what would be popular – as she always does. There are still doctors (middle class Merkel voters) appearing on German TV who say that masks do not help, for instance, although we know through numerous studies (and the Asian experiance) that they are the most effective tool…

    This woman doesn’t have any principles, trust me on that…

    Trumps decision is very good, and I suppose supported by most of the German populace (my gut feeling) as opposed to the establishment (who might benefit from the money or just are trying to play political games, for the German economy the sums are irrelevant)…

    btw, it would be: ach DU Liebe(r)…

    Comment by viennacapitalist — June 10, 2020 @ 4:02 am

  6. Of course a full withdrawal is never going to happen. The Germans know full well that the likes of Ramstein are critical to US operations in the ME, Africa and beyond. Of course you could switch focus to Aviano or Moron, but they’re still in the dreaded EU, and I’m sure Germany could put pressure on the Italians and Spanish if push came to shove.

    As for the UK, much as I like seeing US hardware flying over my house (B2s most recently – can you believe it?), the disgraceful & frankly cowardly actions of the wife of that CIA operative at RAF Croughton does make me think maybe we too would be better off without you.

    Finally, disappointed you didn’t mention the broomsticks. I had my Pirrong Bingo card ready and waiting when I read the blog title.

    Comment by David Mercer — June 10, 2020 @ 4:47 am

  7. NATO generals are not our friends, either.

    Comment by Richard Whitney — June 10, 2020 @ 6:15 pm

  8. As a European, I am intensely embarrassed that we are still running crying to the USA for our security…

    Comment by HibernoFrog — June 11, 2020 @ 4:33 am

  9. The old British summary of the purpose of NATO was that it was to keep the Yanks in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.

    I have no idea what it’s for now. Mischief, maybe.

    Comment by dearieme — June 11, 2020 @ 5:29 am

  10. @HibernoFrog

    “As a European, I am intensely embarrassed that we are still running crying to the USA for our security”

    As a European, I emphatically agree. 75 years without a continent-wide war and 30 years without a half-continent-wide slavery: that’s pretty embarrassing. But nothing that Europe cannot fix.

    Comment by Ivan — June 11, 2020 @ 6:42 am

  11. And I still remember Germans crying out: “Yankees go home”

    Comment by Stanh0 — June 11, 2020 @ 8:28 am

  12. @Ivan: I don’t get it… I assume there is sarcasm involved, but neither Europe nor the USA had slavery 30 years ago (presumably you’re referring to the end of communism?), nor did the Americas have a continent-wide war 75 years ago. So either it’s sarcasm, and you’re proud of Europe, or it’s not sarcasm and you think that’s a poor recent-history.

    @Dearieme: I bet the residents of Kosovo are very glad of NATO…

    Comment by HibernoFrog — June 11, 2020 @ 10:01 am

  13. What do you make of the Deep State and statists warning about opening the door to a Russian invasion?

    Comment by Jeff — June 11, 2020 @ 10:39 am

  14. @HibernoFrog

    “presumably you’re referring to the end of communism”

    So you do get it then. As I am sure you can guess what continentwide war in Europe I am referring to. Based on Europe’s record, I reckon we are rather lucky the USA got involved in security here. But I’m afraid we might see what happens when Europe is left to its own devices again, and it won’t be pretty.

    Comment by Ivan — June 11, 2020 @ 12:02 pm

  15. @Jeff–They need their bogeyman. And as I say in the post, moving the troops to Poland is a better defense than keeping them on the Rhine.

    Further, if there is such a grave threat of Russian invasion . . . why won’t the Germans spend more on their own defense to stop it.

    Any one of these points is sufficient to show how unserious and despicable these types are. Together, it’s overkill.

    Comment by cpirrong — June 11, 2020 @ 2:40 pm

  16. “I bet the residents of Kosovo are very glad of NATO…”

    The Albanians who got control presumably were. The Serbs who got ethnically cleansed presumably weren’t.

    Nor the kin of the Serbs – including old women on buses and in markets – killed by the “surgical strikes” bombing.

    Comment by dearieme — June 11, 2020 @ 2:42 pm

  17. @Ivan: “I’m afraid we might see what happens when Europe is left to its own devices again, and it won’t be pretty”. We don’t have a great track record, but I’m hopeful that we’ve learned the lessons of the past. By the sounds of the Prof’s most recent post, the US might be the ones flirting with repeating our failed ideas… What? What’s that? You want to talk about Ukraine? No, no, nothing to see here, move along, move along…

    I agree that we are lucky to have had the USA – I really disapprove of how so many Europeans look down on the Americans. I confess that as a Student I was no different, but I have since seen the error of my ways…

    @Dearieme: Those same Serbs who’s government appeared to be intent (again) on wholesale slaughter of civilians? I’ll try to contain my grief for them… That whole situation was a Pandora’s Box, and I think NATO did about as well as could realistically be expected in the circumstances.

    Comment by HibernoFrog — June 16, 2020 @ 9:50 am

  18. @Prof: “Why won’t the Germans spend more on their own defense to stop it.”

    There’s a nice quote from a favorite blogger of yours, Tim Newmann (from where I discovered this blog), or it might have been you, now I think about it, but anyway, it was noted that the Germans count spending on Autobahn maintenance as part of their “defence” spending, presumably on the grounds that such roads can be used to move troops and equipment, or as a runway in a pinch. It was then dryly noted that Putin could reasonably count German Autobahn maintenance spending as part of the Russian military budget 🙂

    Comment by HibernoFrog — June 16, 2020 @ 9:54 am

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