Sunday, August 15, 2004

Taking the Troops Out of Germany

President Bush will announce Monday that 70,000 troops will be withdrawn from Europe and Asia.

To understand the meaning of such an action and the reasoning behind it - read this Victor Davis Hanson column from March of 2003.

This is another VDH column this time from Septemeber of 2003:
We are not the only ones who know all of this. The German government realizes that these radical changes will prove for the universal good. For all of its election-inspired anti-American rhetoric last year, Germany accepts that the United States is not colonizing Iraq or siphoning off its oil, but rather spending billions of its own money, after a risky military operation, to help the Iraqi people — whether bringing water back to the Marsh Arabs, federalism to the Kurds, or respect and dignity to the Shiites.

Those facts cannot be spun and will not go away: American soldiers stationed in Iraq are no more exploitative than those in Germany, but are instead there to keep the peace and provide security, just as once they saved the Germans from themselves, and then kept the Russian bear out of Munich and Hamburg.

This truth, deep down, the Germans accept, and it explains why, for all of his prevarication, Mr. Schroeder knows that he is on the wrong side of history in his dispute with the United States. He is just now starting to sense that it is the American public, not a neoconservative cabal, that feels something is amiss with the transatlantic relationship, which from trade to defense largely benefited the Europeans.

If Mr. Schroeder is not careful, in a year from now there will be very few American troops in Germany; his socialist government will be faced with spending billions for its own security, with a piqued United States that for once will not so readily come to Germany's aid in its inevitable hour of crisis; Iraq will enjoy a consensual government despite German opposition to the removal of Saddam Hussein; and France will be Berlin's chief and perhaps only major ally. Ditto on a smaller scale for tagalongs like Belgium and Greece.

I added the emphasis on the final paragraph to highlight how well VDH called this one. If only he could also do NFL picks.

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