Sloppy ThinkingVictor Davis Hanson has this to say about Western Europe (quote taken from Jim Lindgren of Volokh):
Before you laugh at the silly comparison, remember that the Western military tradition is European. Today the continent is unarmed and weak, but deep within its collective mind and spirit still reside the ability to field technologically sophisticated and highly disciplined forces--if it were ever to really feel threatened.
Militaries don’t reside within the “mind” or “spirit” of a nation. That may be because nations don’t posses minds and spirits. Militaries exist in—well—material reality. They are built with people and manufactured goods. Western Europe’s geist is not about to gestate an army, if it is to produce one it will be from factories and people.
But pay attention to this mistake, it’s repeated throughout though more subtly:
The Netherlands was a litmus test for Europe. Unlike Spain or Greece, which had historical grievances against Islam, the Dutch were the avatars of the new liberal Europe, without historical baggage. They were eager to unshackle Europe from the Church, from its class and gender constraints, and from any whiff of its racist or colonialist past. True, for a variety of reasons, Amsterdam may be a case study of how wrong Rousseau was about natural man, but for a Muslim immigrant the country was about as hospitable a foreign host as one can imagine. Thus, it was far safer for radical Islamic fascists to damn the West openly from a mosque in Rotterdam than for a moderate Christian to quietly worship in a church in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Algeria. And yet we learn not just that the Netherlands has fostered a radical sect of Muslims who will kill and bomb, but, far more importantly, that they will do so after years of residency among, and indeed in utter contempt of, their Western hosts…
Somehow westerners should feel that it’s hypocritical for one group of hateful radicals to plan terrorist attacks, while several other entirely different nations are intolerant.
And this hypocrisy, argues Hanson, should be a call to arms. It should be a call to build a giant military. But a giant military to do what? To squash the handful of rebellious Muslims already living in the West? One hardly needs a fighting force straight from the European geist to do that.
A more likely result of a giant European military would be a counterweight to America hegemony. But perhaps America and Europe possess the same “mind” and “spirit” for Hanson, just Algeria and Iran share one with Muslims living in the Netherlands.