From Patrick Buchanan, the Miami Herald: [Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates’ patience with the Europeans is, understandably, just about exhausted. Two decades after the Soviet Union disintegrated and the Red Army went home, America is still carrying 75 percent of the NATO burden for the defense of Europe. . . .
The first Republican debate in New Hampshire was astonishing for its anti-interventionist tone. While front-runner Mitt Romney said he would listen to the generals about when it is safe to get out of Afghanistan, he spoke out against any more wars to win independence for nations not vital to the United States.
That debate was a fire bell in the night for the neoconservatives. The days when Republicans stood up and saluted a commander in chief as soon as he starting bombing a country appear to be over.
Moreover, there are other reasons, based on painful experience, for the new hesitancy to use U.S. military force.
• One is blowback, the whiplash recoil that inevitably follows even beneficial U.S. action. When Obama sent SEAL Team Six on that secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden, we so humiliated the Pakistani army its pro-American commander, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, could be ousted and replaced by officers hostile to the United States.
• Second, while the U.S. military has shown itself capable of taking down regimes, we have proven less capable of establishing replacement governments that are strong, stable and pro-American. And we have thus far not succeeded at the follow-up business of nation-building, despite the investment of hundreds of billion of dollars.
• Third, Americans are fed up with freeloaders, domestic and foreign. . . .
“Yankee, go home!” much of the world has been yelping for years. We may be all about to find out what happens when the Yankees do go home, not to return again for a long, long time. (graphic: Ingram Pinn/Financial Times)