Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reuters — Europe must not bow to U.S. spending demands on NATO: EU's Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday that Europe must not cave in to U.S demands to raise military spending, arguing that development and humanitarian aid could also count as security....
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies on Wednesday that they must honor military spending pledges to make sure the United States does not moderate its support....

33 comments:

Auburn Parks said...

Just in case anyone was wondering what the numbers actually look like:

Per WIKI;

US GDP = $17 trillion
Other 27 NATO allies combined GDP = $20 trillion

US Population = 320 million
Other 27 Nato allies combined population = 580 million

US % of total Nato defense spending = 70%

So even though our nato partners have a combined larger economy and population the US outspends them all combined by almost 2 to 1.

Those are the rough figures on which to start analyzing the sitrep.

Auburn Parks said...

My personal opinion is that this is fine. I am in favor of the empire (though not its specific military and political policies obviously) and the money is no object. And if you want to have leverage on 27 countries, then defending them with more military spending is one way to do that. Certainly if the numbers above were all reversed to reflect our relative proportions then we wouldnt be calling the shots in the same way we do now.

So spend a little more money and have the power that comes with that, and you also centralize the decision making process leading to quicker decision making (not necessarily better decision making mind you).

Personally, I think 5% of GDP for defense and garrisoning of the empire is not an unrealistic and damaging commitment. Hell we spend less on the military as a % of GDP now than at almost any point since the Korean war (sans a few years under Clinton.)

Noah Way said...

@Aubrun Parks

Might makes right. As demonstrated by 9/11, endless costly (in many ways) wars in the Middle East, saber rattling with China and Russia (among others), assassination by drone and civilian bombings, etc. But it's fine that economic and social conditions at home are deteriorating while a vast portion of the "discretionary" budget is spent on misadventures that make us less secure but have great profits.

The world is our oyster, we are smashing it with a sledgehammer, and you are alright with that.

I have a friend who is a Tibetan monk. He gives simple silk scarves as gifts to people who assist him. When he was asked what the Tibetan writing on the scarf meant he said, "When you are a good person we wish you long life and good health. That's what is written." Then he added, "But if you are a bad person we hope you die quickly, as there is too much trouble in the world."

Auburn Parks said...

Noah

Sorry to break your bubble Noah but the threat of violence literally underpins all civilization so in a very real sense might does make right. The history of Nations demonstrate this fact incontrovertibly. So as that is the correct and accurate historical perspective its much better globally for that role played by the US and its allies then by Russia or China or anybody else who would do it if we didn't.

So is a matter of principle no I don't mind that we overthrow horrible dictators. I just wish we applied our principles universally and without being so horribly hypocritical. I mean, Saudi Arabia is a great Ally. What a sick joke. Or That laissez fair market capitalism was going to turn Iraq into a modern country. These are both ridiculous ideas. Or that we're going to win the war on terrorism by drone bombing thousands of innocent people....stupid.

But again these are specific disagreements with specific policies that j have but don't rise to the level of "the American Empire is evil and should be destroyed"

Hope the hope that helps to clarify my thinking on this issue

Tom Hickey said...

So as that is the correct and accurate historical perspective its much better globally for that role played by the US and its allies then by Russia or China or anybody else who would do it if we didn't.

This view is the fundamental assumption on which US geopolitics and geostrategy are based.

At this level, it is assumed that global domination is the overarching goal of all players capable of it, either acting alone or in alliances.

Unless one understands this, the thing looks crazy. But based on this understanding, it is all perfectly rational and all the players are optimizing utility.

There are no stakes higher than world domination.

Noah Way said...

@Aubrun Parks: Your lack of knowledge is embarrassing.

Italy 1948
Iran 1953
Guatemala 1954
Laos 1957-73
Haiti 1959
Ecuador 1961
Congo 1961
Dominican Republic 1961
Ecuador 1961
Brazil 1964
Indonesia 1965
Dominican Republic 1965
Greece 1965
Zaire 1965
Greece 1967
Cambodia 1970
Bolivia 1971
Chile 1973
Australia 1975
Panama 1989
Haiti 1990
Ukraine 2014
(http://www.globalresearch.ca/washington-was-behind-ukraine-coup-obama-admits-that-us-brokered-a-deal-in-support-of-regime-change/5429142)

These were all democracies overthrown by the US. In addition the US has also supported and defended by various means (including direct and indirect military action, death squad, CIA subversion, etc.) numerous despots and dictators such as Pol Pot, the Duvaliers, the Somozas, Suharto, Pinochet, Franco, Amin, etc., etc., etc.

The American Empire is evil. The global threat of violence comes from the US, which spends more on its military than next 8 nations combined. And that's just the annual budget, which does not include spending for Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs ($175B), for ongoing military actions ($50-100B / yr.), CIA/NSA, covert agencies and programs, etc. Nuclear weapons are under the DOE so they are not included in the military budget. It's a trillion-dollar war machine.

Our enemies exist to feed our insatiable thirst for profit, including and especially the military complex. The current action of the Deep State vs. Trump should make this patently clear to everyone with more than a couple of functioning neurons.

Auburn Parks said...

No reason to insult me noah. I'm fully aware of the American history of overthrowing and meddling in other people's governments. And yes of course there's been many mistakes. I don't deny any of that in fact I made mention of it now twice in my comments. I don't know why you have to ignore that part. To say I agree and approve of the American Empire and to acknowledge its historical value is not at all the same things as saying I approve of every individual action we've made in the last 70 years.

Please don't misrepresent what I've said and please don't throw Strawman at me. Thanks.

Auburn Parks said...

That's exactly right Tom. It's the history of human civilization. people and countries with power dominate those with less.

Just look at all the hand-wringing over as NATO accepting former Soviet republics Who on Earth could blame Estonia Latvia Poland wanting to guarantee their Sovereign Independence From their historically tyrannical neighbor Russia? I personally believe that this is a right and just roll for America to play in the world. The guarantees National borders and to help protect weaker and Democratic states from dictatorships and more powerful aggressive Neighbors. And again to be clear for Noah's sake this is not to say that we should overthrow governments just because they don't want to let our corporations take all the money from their Nations.

Corporate imperialism is not the same thing as moral and or cultural imperialism

Auburn Parks said...

What's think about the example of China In the South China Sea. None of the countries surrounding that area either individually or all combined together Could stop China from taking over that see if they really wanted to do that. The only force in the world powerful enough to deter China is the US combined with our allies. This isn't theory or ideology it's the reality of the world we live in. It's human nature to try to get as much as we can get away with. Certainly not for everybody but for the people in power that's the way they think. All this is why libertarian ideology is fantastical when applied to either domestic economics and policy or foreign policy in the international world. Someone has to play the role of police and enforcer and rule setter there is literally no other way for humans to operate at this present time in our species and cultural evolution

Tom Hickey said...

There are a lot of issues involved in the South China Sea. There is no simple analysis of this. It's vastly complicated by the prospect of there being lot of oil and gas under those waves.

China actually has the correct solution, which is for those in the region to negotiate a solution.

The actual intention of the US is to contain China and be able to choke China's maritime access off, which is really a separate issue entirely. It's the US that is inserting the military component. The US perceives this as a national security issue, although it portrays it differently as a matter of propaganda for public consumption.

Of course, it is a larger national security issue from China, just like Ukraine for Russia.

The question is whether the US is promoting its national security or putting it at risk by trying to contain Russia and China, which are both nuclear powers.

Auburn Parks said...

Well, in my humble opinion Tom. The only reason why China is negotiating with the regional Neighbours there as opposed to just taking what they want because they're clearly militarily Superior is because of the deterrence threat of the USA and its allies.

So to say that China has the correct solution is to ignore the reason why they're going that route in the first place as opposed to the military option. And that reason of course is the presence of the US Military and Empire

Tom Hickey said...

So to say that China has the correct solution is to ignore the reason why they're going that route in the first place as opposed to the military option. And that reason of course is the presence of the US Military and Empire

If you believe that this just a mater of time before China kicks the US out of the Western Pacific or risks nuclear winter.

Strategically, the US is overextended that far away from support bases when the adversary has land based missiles in abundance.

I recall an admiral in the region saying that US carriers were invulnerable to attack because of missile protection. How many defensive missiles does a carrier group carry? 1000? All it takes in 1001 launched from land and air.

China has also demonstrated the capability to take down US satellites upon which US intelligence and command and control are based.

The other matter that is not taken into account is that open hostilities with China will have adverse effects on the global economy, not to mention US direct investment in China.

No doubt that the US can still pressure China economically and militarily for a while. Then....

Auburn Parks said...

Absolutely, I believe it's only a matter of time until the US and China face off in some Regional or World War sort of thing. I hope not but if history has taught us anything it's that sometimes Wars the only way to resolve dispute between two parties or ideologies etc.

This is why I pointed out repeatedly here on MNE the absolute necessity of the u.s. maintaining at least a 3% average growth rate. The difference between a 2% and 3% growth rate by the time we get to 2075 is either 55 trillion at 2% or 100 trillion at 3%. We're going to need every bit of that production to counterbalance China as it continues to use mmt principles to pull ahead of our stagnating nation

Tom Hickey said...

I don't think that it is inevitable that the US and China get into a military confrontation unless the US provokes it by crossing a Chinese red line. Same with Russia.

It's not China's style in the first place, and it is not in China's national interest.

On the other hand, the US is playing foot loose and fancy free with red lines. Dangerous game.

Pearce Tournier said...

Just a note, guys. The only reason the former Soviet block countries were welcomed into NATO was because of internal electoral politics in the US, not for any strategic reason. Bill Clinton wanted Polish votes in Chicago and elsewhere -- same for the others (especially the Visegrad three and the Balts). US and Canadian Ukrainians are trying the same thing. The neo-con thing was just take advantage of the situation. That is what so many folk misunderstand about "disaster capitalism" -- yes, there is a lot of deliberate undermining of democracy by the US (not a good leader), but most of the shit is short term plutocratic opportunism.

Noah Way said...

The only reason the former Soviet block countries were welcomed into NATO was because of internal electoral politics in the US, not for any strategic reason.

NATO is a purely anti-Soviet military alliance and has been expanded consistently since WWII as a "defense" against so-called Soviet (now Russian) "aggression". In reality Soviet action has been largely defensive in nature, trying to prevent the spread of the anti-Soviet alliance to its very borders. One can only imagine the US response if the roles were reversed and Canada and Mexico became members of the Warsaw Pact - which itself was created in direct response to NATO.

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

What the US secretary of state said on Feb. 9, 1990 in the magnificent St. Catherine's Hall at the Kremlin is beyond dispute. There would be, in Baker's words, "no extension of NATO's jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east," provided the Soviets agreed to the NATO membership of a unified Germany. Moscow would think about it, Gorbachev said, but added: "any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable."

Now, 20 years later, Gorbachev is still outraged when he is asked about this episode. "One cannot depend on American politicians," he told SPIEGEL. Baker, for his part, now offers a different interpretation of what he said in 1990, arguing that he was merely referring to East Germany, which was to be given a special status in the alliance -- nothing more.


NATO's Eastward Expansion
Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nato-s-eastward-expansion-did-the-west-break-its-promise-to-moscow-a-663315.html

Auburn Parks said...

NOah-

If Russia doesnt like it that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland etc are allying with the US and West in order to protect themselves from the neighbor who has dominated and terrorized their populations for centuries.....Too Fucking Bad!!!

Maybe if the Soviet Union and Czarist Russia before it werent such psychotic assholes then their neighbors wouldnt be so terrified of them. Note that I wouldnt blame Poland and the rest from wanting protection from Germany either seeing as what the Prussians and Junkers had done to those poor people over the centuries, but thankfully Germany is not longer a threat to them so its not a problem.

Auburn Parks said...

Personally, I think it was terrible what we did to those poor eastern europeans by basically sacrificing them for 50 years to the tender mercies of Russia. We lost 450k ppl fighting to stop some maniacal dictators only to leave half of Europe in the hands of one of the worst dictators in history. If nothing we owe these former soviet slave states this protection in compensation for abandoning them in 1945 instead of telling the Soviets that they have to stay inside their borders after WWII. God knows we had all the leverage and all the power in 1945

Noah Way said...

@Auburn, you've only got half the story, and it's mostly fake news.

The Soviets won WWII. They lost 6 times more people at Stalingrad (one battle) than the US did during the entire war. The US faced some 20 divisions in Europe, Russia faced 300 divisions in a massive invasion 1,000 miles deep, and then the same territory was fought over again when the Soviets pushed the Germans back to Berlin. Agreements made at Potsdam about the post-war division of Europe were abandoned by the allies after the war, marginalizing the Soviets. The US and its allies used a firm hand to suppress socialist movements across Europe (starting in 1946 in Greece) that were the result of WWII.

Basic history that you can ignore at you own expense.

Auburn Parks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Auburn Parks said...

Noah-

Please refrain from insulting me as I am not your enemy, thank you.

With that said, the obvious reason why the US had all the leverage and power is precisely because of the millions of Soviet people who died fighting the Germans.

Pearce Tournier said...

Chickens coming home to roost: from 1997:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/nato-enlargement-should-canada-leave-nato/oclc/847256197

Noah Way said...

Auburn, your POV is the enemy of all humanity.

"I am in favor of the empire"

Auburn Parks said...

The empire has been one of the most powerful forces for good in all of human history. so of course I am in favor of it. As a intelligent, rational adult I can see the value with an enormous institution and still disagree with specific historical acts and policy positions.

I like capitalism, its been one of the most powerful forces for good in all of human history. But like all enormous globe and species spanning enterprises there is plenty of bad to go with the good and we need to improve what we can. The empire is no different.

Auburn Parks said...

Protecting sea lanes = good
overthrowing nationalist south american elected leaders = bad
protect and allow south Korea to become a modern, advanced wealthy country as opposed to the shit hole that is North Korea = Good
Institute and defend the first successful global governing body the UN (League of Nations was an epic failure mostly because we werent involved and strong enough to prevent horrible dictators from overrunning their smaller or poorer neighbors) = Good
Use our horrible economic ideology and influence in the International economic bodies like WTO IMF World Bank etc to impose austerity on developing countries or to punish countries that dont help make our rich people more rich = Bad

See how easy this is Noah?

Noah Way said...

Easy if you don't think very hard.

The empire has been one of the most powerful forces for good in all of human history.

Examples, please. Name a benevolent empire that existed in the last 1,000 years.

Subjugation of indigenous peoples around the globe, slavery, genocide, stealing resources, waging wars of conquest or in competition for resources. Colonizing the world for profit at home!

capitalism, its been one of the most powerful forces for good in all of human history

Examples, please.

The Rombach Report said...

"Our enemies exist to feed our insatiable thirst for profit, including and especially the military complex. The current action of the Deep State vs. Trump should make this patently clear to everyone with more than a couple of functioning neurons."

Bravo Noah!

Auburn Parks said...

"Examples, please. Name a benevolent empire that existed in the last 1,000 years."

I dont know what "benevolent" means in this context from an absolute POV. Like is there some certain magic net weighted ratio of good things and bad things done above which an empire is considered "benevolent" and below its not?

So that idea doesnt really make sense in the context of empires and nation states. Relative benevolence is really the only analytical framework to use here. And the USA in this specific context could very easily be consdiered the most benevolent empire in history. If only as a tautological truism because slavery is gone, brute geographical conquering and occupying \governing as a colony is gone. Ours is a imperfectly but largely secular empire so there's not too much religious repression and exploitation.

"capitalism, its been one of the most powerful forces for good in all of human history

Examples, please. "

Oh I dont know, basically everything thats good from a material POV around you. Capitalism or distributed private ownership and decision making and the consequent markets establish an evolutionary ecosystem that allows progress at an unbelievably accelerated rate compared to previous organizational systems.

Again, pretty obvious and simple.

Noah Way said...

Materialism and exceptionalism - U$A! U$A!

Auburn, I'm pretty sure you're the only one here who thinks that is a convincing argument.




Auburn Parks said...

Its just a historical fact. Im not making any arguments. Im sorry that reality disagrees with your opinions

Noah Way said...

Your opinion is not historical fact.

Auburn Parks said...

Of course my opinions not historical fact. But it is a historical fact that capitalism has led to the fastest rise in standard of living sand for the most people in human history and it's also a historical fact that because of the timing the American Empire is by far the most benevolent Empire at least I'm aware of.

So yes those are historical facts not my opinions. You said you disagree with me because my opinions are just my own but in this case I'm not giving you my opinions I'm just giving you some historical facts so sorry again that history disagrees with your opinion

Tom Hickey said...

But it is a historical fact that capitalism has led to the fastest rise in standard of living sand for the most people in human history and it's also a historical fact that because of the timing the American Empire is by far the most benevolent Empire at least I'm aware of.

Sufficient condition, but a necessary one?