Robert Kaplan on Europe (Cont'd)
Robert Kaplan wrote to tell me he wants to add context to the end of his piece on the Berlin Wall that I mentioned earlier. Here's the context:
War can be the worst thing imaginable. And while a society should certainly never want to go to war, it should nevertheless feel the need to be prepared to stand for something besides itself; to make a difference, otherwise historical memory becomes lost, even as pleasure and convenience take over as values in and of themselves. I am particularly worried about Europe in this regard. Europe remembers well its centuries of war which it does not want to repeat. That I understand. But I honestly feel that its low defence budgets are dangerous in some important ways. One example: as I have reported at length about Bangladesh and other places in The Atlantic, absolute rises in population growth in environmentally and seismically fragile areas mean many human beings are about to be killed or made homeless by Mother Nature in coming decades. Europe needs an expeditionary capability for military rescue missions in this regard, and for out-of-area missions in general. It shouldn't place all the burden on the U.S. and rising Asian military powers to do this. Moreover, Europe should help out more with sanctions against Iran. It must find a way to balance against a newly powerful Russia. It isn't sufficiently doing these things. It is a legitimate worry that Europe's fixation with its own violent past can go too far, so that it abdicates future international responsibilities. America needs Europe. In this regard, the gradual emergence of a Brussels-based European super-state may offer help.