This week the news broke that Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron are considering a decision where they will rely less on the United States and prepare themselves to lead the free world. This might be something that everyone should take serious if it were not so ludicrous. These two heavyweights in international circles seem to have deluded themselves that they are some kind of super powers and they can be the leaders of the world. Who ever would have thought that Germany and France, mortal enemies in the last two major world wars, would not try to join up and oppose the United States.
In the aftermath of the Second World War two nations emerged as super powers in the world. The United States representing the West and the free world and the Soviet Union representing the East and a legacy of oppression and lack of freedom. Both were military giants and had the strength to destroy each other. Over time the Soviet Union began to crumble as it realized its state run economy and lack of freedom found people beginning to slowly rebel and object to that form of oppression.
For the past generation the western world has lived under the umbrella of American security. The United States has deployed manpower and weaponry in Europe and Asia to deter any aggression towards the West. It has worked and Europe has remained free to prosper economically and socially.
So lets take a look at what it would take for these two leaders to assume the mantle of leadership. The United States spends about $664B on defense, which amounts to about 3.5% of GDP. France spends $43B that equates to about 2% of GDP and Germany comes in at a whopping $40B that is just over 1% of GDP. The United States maintains a large force in Europe and the cost of that force is high.
Since Angela Merkel now wants to be the leader of the free world the United States should immediately pull all of its forces out of Germany. That means that close to twenty thousand German nationals would lose jobs that pay well and let them support their families. I am sure that Ms. Merkel, in her socialist mentality, will have the government resources to ensure the salaries of these people. She will also have to supplant the millions of dollars that U.S. forces and their dependents spend in Germany.
We don’t maintain many troops in France since France withdrew from NATO fifty years ago only to return in 2009. But we all know of the great success the French military has had in the past. Their history is replete with victories over invading forces. I don’t recall anyone ever thinking of the French as being great warriors. They are fans of great food and known to be lovers but not much for their fighting spirit. Many years ago the standard joke was the French had developed a revolutionary new tank that had three gears in reverse.
It is becoming apparent that the leadership in Europe, mostly liberals, don’t like the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. They had become used to the former President who catered to their wishes and considered himself a globalist. This is the view they favor coming from the United States since it benefits them. They don’t have to worry about providing for their own national security and they don’t have to worry about a President that would look askance as some of the trade numbers between the two nations. As and example, last year the U.S. had a trade imbalance of over $114B with Germany. We are currently on a pace to equal or exceed that number in 2017. With France last year it was an imbalance of $15B and it looks to be improving this year but will still be a large imbalance.
I am not suggesting that we cancel trade with Germany or France but I am suggesting that it is a proper question for the President of the United States to consider when looking at the relationship between these nations. An American President has to be more concerned with American workers and the jobs they need than the workforces in France and Germany.
I don’t think we have to worry much about these two leaders assuming this leadership position. France is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council only as a token of the end of World War II. They long ago ceased to be a power in the world. Germany is not a member of the Security Council at this time and does not pose much of a deterrent to any aggressive nation in Europe. In the 1970’s I served in the U.S. Army in Germany and was attached to the German Luftwaffe. Those two years convinced me that it would be a long time before that rag tag bunch of draftees would become any kind of a fighting force that previous German armies were noted.
So to Ms. Merkel and Mr. Macron I would only caution that just mouthing the words that you will assume more of a leadership role does not really cut it. There are actions and spending that go along with that role and until you are capable of meeting those two requirements your words are nothing more than empty promises and hot air.