Front Page
NMJ Search
Editorials
Commentary
Archive
NMJ Radio
Constitutional Literacy
Islamofascism
Progressivism
Books
NMJ Shop
Links, Etc...
Facebook
Twitter
Site Information
About Us
Contact Us
  US Senate
  US House
  Anti-Google






Archive Email Author

About Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008. http://www.victorhanson.com
Social Bookmarking
Print this page.
Europe: Proving Socialism Doesn’t Work
Victor Davis Hanson
January 31, 2013
Almost a decade ago, Europeans and many progressive Americans were lamenting how the United States was going to miss out on the 21st-century paradigm symbolized by the robust European Union. Neanderthal Americans were importing ever more oil while waging a costly "war on terror" and fighting conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our budget deficit in 2003 hit $374 billion.

The European Union avoided foreign conflicts and embraced soft power. Its declining military budgets and centralized transnational government ensured that it could address climate change and fund ever-expanding entitlements. Even the poorer Mediterranean nations reached new heights of prosperity. The Greek economy soared. Spain's real estate market was to become the hottest in the world. Italy seemed to resemble Germany more than Portugal.

President George W. Bush was not just hated in Europe, but caricatured as the symbol of backward, free-market capitalism, rank American consumerism and US imperialism abroad. Only with the election of the progressive Barack Obama would Europe finally find a like-minded, sophisticated American president.

Yet European Union prosperity has now proved a phantom -- one conjured up by accounting gimmickry, borrowed German money and corrupt EU apparatchiks. Neither the European Union at large nor most individual European nations can sustain their present rate of redistributionist entitlements. To end cash transfers across borders spells the breakup of the union. To embrace austerity at home ensures near-anarchy in the streets of individual nations.

The worry is not that Greece will implode, but whether France can remain financially solvent. More realistic countries such as Germany, Latvia and Sweden are quietly drifting away from the socialist model, preferring balanced budgets, lower taxes and fewer regulations.

The European Union may be worried that President Obama's United States is becoming more like the EU at the very time many in Europe are starting to take a second, kinder look at the old free-market model of the United States. An America of low taxes, low unemployment and robust growth once meant a huge market for European goods, as the United States drove a prosperous world economy and had enough cash to protect the Western world.

All that has changed after four years of unprecedented $1 trillion-plus US budget deficits. National debt has hit a historic $16 trillion, with no reversal in sight. Unemployment has been at 7.8 percent or above for 48 consecutive months. Gross domestic product growth is calcified at an anemic 2 percent. Record numbers of Americans receive unemployment and disability checks and food stamps.

There is even greater irony in foreign policy. Europe blasted Mr. Bush for his cooked-up war on radical Islam and his needless interventions abroad. With the ascendency of Mr. Obama, however, Europe finally got a mirror image of itself. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have ended according to strict timetables of withdrawal, not with any lasting security on the ground.

France and Great Britain went into Libya, while America "led from behind." Moammar Gadhafi's dictatorship was replaced with chaos that has birthed a terrorist haven that threatens to become the new Afghanistan. The odious anti-Semite and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi now runs a near-bankrupt Egypt that looks a lot like Haiti. After the messes in Libya and Egypt, the West watched impotently as Syria became something like Mogadishu.

France is forced to unilaterally intervene in its old colony, Mali, to stop an Islamist takeover of the entire country. America watches from the sidelines as undermanned French forces are offered meager logistical support from EU allies. In Algeria, radical Islamists brazenly executed dozens of Western hostages.

Yet Mr. Obama has found widespread public support for his new isolationism. Apparently, liberals prefer to borrow money at home for more entitlements rather than spend money on interventions abroad. Many conservatives enjoy the Schadenfreude of watching as Europe plays (poorly) the old, thankless, unilateral role of the United States.

Mr. Obama has loudly promised a pivot in the US security profile toward the Pacific region. This change represents the unspoken reality that socialist redistribution has reduced Europe to near-irrelevancy. Supposedly, free-market Asian economies are the new nexus of wealth and power. Oil and gas discoveries in America are providing unexpected energy independence from the Persian Gulf. Or perhaps the new strategic emphasis reflects the demographic realities of the Obama coalition of various minority groups -- and fewer European-American voters.

The Hawaiia-born and Indonesia-raised president certainly seems more interested in Asia than he does in the old colonial Mediterranean world of aging and shrinking European nations, Arab quagmires, oil intrigue, Islamic terrorists and the Israeli-Palestinian open sore.

In short, Europe got the European Union of its hopes and the changed America of its fantasies -- but both are rapidly becoming its worst nightmares.

This article was originally published The Washington Times. Refer to original article for related links and important documentation.








The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...

The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a sustaining donation today.







Opinions expressed by contributing writers are expressly their own and may or may not represent the opinions of NewMediaJournal.us, its editorial staff, board or organization.  Reprint inquiries should be directed to the author of the article. Contact the editor for a link request to NewMediaJournal.us.  NewMediaJournal.us is not affiliated with any mainstream media organizations.  NewMediaJournal.us is not supported by any political organization.  Responsibility for the accuracy of cited content is expressly that of the contributing author. All original content offered by NewMediaJournal.us is copyrighted. NewMediaJournal.us supports BasicsProject.org and its goal: the liberation of the American voter from partisan politics and special interests in government through the primary-source, fact-based education of the American people.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The Media Journal.us © 1998-2014    Content Copyright © Individual authors
Powered by ExpressionEngine 1.70 and M3Server