A MAN WITH A MEMORY LOOKS AT AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY | 2003-03-08
Respectable conservatives are ecstatic. We've got the Cold War back.
Just like the Communists in the old Cold War, America's terrorist enemies in our new Cold War are inexcusably evil. And liberals are lining up to apologize for them just like they did for the Communists.
Just like in the 1950s, the United States is going to take on all the expense and casualties while Europe sits around and plays hard-to-get. We will be tearfully grateful to those Europeans who allow us to defend them and we will be sweet to the Europeans who bite our hand for feeding them.
All this happened in the 1950s.
I was in Europe in 1959 when President Eisenhower came to Europe. We were paying for most of Europe's defense against the Soviet Union back then and most of the troops in Europe were American troops. That was what we had signed up for right after World War II when Europeans were starving in the streets and Germany was under occupation.
By 1949, the Soviet Union had occupied Eastern Europe and only American forces could protect Western Europe. But, by 1959, the whole situation had changed.
In 1959, Western Europe had a lot more people than the United States did and we had responsibilities around the world. By 1959, the Western European economy was many times larger than those in the East. That was the year Eisenhower came to Europe.
In 1959, Eisenhower declared that nothing was going to change. In 1959, Eisenhower went to Europe and guaranteed that the United States would provide the troops forever and the United States would provide the money forever. Europe could just sit there and bitch at us.
Thirty years later, Europe was still sitting there and bitching at us. It was the United States that had to force the Soviet Union to take down the Berlin Wall.
Does any of this sound familiar?