A link to a blog post of mine from July 2007 was offered as evidence that the economic & fiscal problems were not unpredictable or invisible in autumn 2007 and the unsustainable strategy was therefore a poor one. A good one would have stood the test of an economic crisis that had already begun at the time of its creation.
This brought a visitor of ID, "Solomon" to one of two linked texts of mine on this blog and he left a comment.
I didn't publish the comment because it's not really appropriate, but he's obviously a first time visitor (not my single remaining regular troll) and his comment is of interest if seen from a certain angle.
This is the comment, with red text being my reply:
(Keep in mind; he commented a text that connected U.S. economic data with the crisis and the lacking affordability of the huge U.S. military expenditures.)
Comical. I came here from the ID blogsite and all I can say is that this is pure fantasy, conjecture, hubris and silliness rolled into one.
“pure fantasy” and your later quote “I have no problem with your facts or figures” - does that fit together?
The thought that a person from a country that DEPENDS on exports is attempting to deride US consumerism is laughable. The thought that a person who's nation is failing to live up to its international commitments militarily, yet attempts to chastise a nation that is not only pulling its own weight but the weight of that charity case of a nation is shameful.
Oh, I criticised the excessive trade of my own country as well. The key fact is that this is mostly intra-EU trade – U.S.-Germany trade is rather small; 7% of export and 4% of import in 2008. The U.S.'s trade imbalance is more a U.S.-East Asia affair while Germany's trade imbalance is mostly an intra-European affair – and thus pretty much irrelevant to the topic.
Besides; it's less of a failure to be creditor than to be debtor.
I have no problem with your facts or figures but for you to fail to realize that these trade imbalances helped to fuel the entire globe is shortsighted and an attempt to cherry pick facts.
I understand that the “consumer demand drives the economy” myth is very powerful in the U.S., but it's really just the kindergarten version of economic theory. Years of economic studies on a university have taught me enough to not fall prey to it.
There's nothing good to be found in running into debt again and again. I don't feel compelled to thank Americans for lending East Asian money to buy East Asian industrial products; that was as much an economic model as Madoff had a business model. The U.S. made at most the PRC bigger, which doesn't seem to have been in the U.S.' best interest.
Germany is a socialist nation that is not even meeting the defense budget mandated by the EU.
“socialist”, uh? Many Americans call almost everything “socialist”, so I'm not impressed. “Social democratic” would fit better, and I bet you don't know that the basic major social reforms in Germany were the product of a royalist-conservative chancellor and the "Soziale Marktwirtschaft" (social market economy) is a highly successful model developed by the conservatives (CDU/CSU) during the 50's and 60's.
Feel free to prove that there's a "defense budget mandated by the EU". It's impossible to prove that something doesn't exist (WMD anyone?), so the burden of proof is yours.
Next time you take a look at the US defense budget I recommend that you take a serious look at the personnel costs. Single mothers, 18 year olds with 5 family members etc and the associated costs are whats inflating our defense budget.
That's irrelevant. A business doesn't run better because its owner complains about the personnel structure. It will still go broke if its investments become too small and its debt too great. Your remark would have been slightly interesting if you had data to back it up and not phrased it as an argument (which it isn't).
But lastly I look forward to our efforts to reduce the budget that you so hate. EADS won't win the tanker .... the A400 will ultimately be canceled.... the Leopard MBT will finally be put to pasture and no more sales will be made....the Boxer will no longer be produced....the Eurofighter will end...
EADS tanker – so what ... A400M; I hope you're right, but I doubt your clairvoyance...Leopard MBT – long out of service, Leopard 2 MBT – dispersed in Europe, had unlike M1 Abrams real export success (not only politically enforced export sales) and is in no worse shape than the M1 Abrams … Boxer – same as A400M … Eurofighter – planned production almost complete. That's fine, just as it's fine that the F-22 production run is complete.
I wonder what that has to do with my text, though.
I do also wonder what the mentioned programs (except the tanker) have to do with U.S. military spending.
You sound like someone who has become angry that his country got criticized and who wants to hit back with nation bashing. That's neither an impressive nor a persuasive kind of critique.
Once all that happens, then and only then do I want you to take a look at what defense spending means to even a socialist country like your own.
When Iran finally gets a missile and threatens not only Europe but Israel then talk.
Iran has “a missile”. I guess you meant “a nuclear warhead”. In that case Iran would be deterred by French and British nukes as well as by the vastly superior military power of its direct NATO neighbour Turkey – just as the Soviet Union was deterred. Iran is merely a small, regional power - it offers no reason for increases in any military budget.
I wonder why you seem to think that I would bother more (or as much) about a fictional threat to Israel than/as about a fictional threat to Europe. I do also wonder about it because Berlin is more than twice as far away from Tehran as is Tel Aviv while you sound as if the latter was less easily in Iranian range.
You did not read my blog much, of course. One of my recurring points is that I'm not easily scared. The Iranians don't scare me a bit, for example. I'm confident that a Franco-Anglo strike would flatten Tehran and Isfahan if an Iranian nuke hits an EU or European NATO country.
It's furthermore doubtful how Iran could be linked to a German defence budget and how the latter could be reasonably linked to the problem of the factual unsustainability of U.S. military spending.
I would prefer a policy that was protectionist, isolationist and left Europe, Africa and Asia to there own devices. We can take care of ourselves and don't need Euro-policy wonks interfering.
“their”, not “there”.
I would prefer a more introvert U.S. as well, so there's actual agreement. I actually don't feel defended by the U.S. - it's more like the aggressive troublemaker in a clique who always provokes others and gets into a fight with the result that the whole clique is associated with trouble making. To observe UN rules in regard to inter-state conflicts is actually a North Atlantic treaty obligation of the U.S. - one that was violated severely.
His kind of response isn't exactly uncommon. The style is very distinctly U.S. American. I disagree with Germans, Brits, Italians, Frenchmen and Canadians often - but almost none of them ever behaves like this. I assume that it's a political-culture matter.
Especially remarkable is the fear. Extreme fear. Fear of their own fictions. Seriously, I've never encountered a single non-U.S. American who came close to the top 50 fear-driven Americans I've been in contact with. The closest one was an Israeli. What's up about this fear of everything?
I didn't notice this rule of fear before 9/11, but history tells us that it's not such a new phenomenon. Red scare, yellow scare, communist subversion scare, missile gap, domino theory - apparently even ceding control of the Panama Canal raised the fear factor.
Most scares were completely off, and some were badly exaggerated. A rational being would become skeptic about present and future fear fashions given that track record of past fear fashions.
Seriously, what's up with this fear of outlandish scenarios? I don't get it.
Spending more money on "defense" seems to make a country more fearful of external threats, not less (the empirical basis for this suspicion has only anecdotal value, of course).
Fear makes you spend more on "defense", which in turn makes you more sensitive to fears, which increases your fear, which leads to more "defense" spending ... is that how it works?
There's no way how such a style of discussion could be of value. It's simply an irritating waste of time.
A purposeful discussion needs to be fair (either no unfairness or symmetric unfairness), rational, informed (using facts, not myths) and inspired (ideas).
I understand that really influential people behave differently (at least behind closed doors in the really relevant discussions).
Nevertheless, the Internet has become part of the media; and the media's mission to inform the nation and to foster fruitful debate is acknowledged as an important pillar of democracy.
A terrible and unproductive style of discussion in the Internet constitutes a bad influence on politics and policy.
My usual response to such behaviour is to hit back by exposing it.