NATO: The Price of Defense

In a world that is ever changing and in a time where providing for your nation is tantamount to the survival of your people and society, we need to have a better understanding of the governmental regimes that are at play in our world.  From dictatorships to monarchies, democracies to socialist regimes, countries around the world are creating a future for themselves in which government has an important role and place in their society.  Some societies feel that government should be the “be all and end all” of their world and provide for it, everything they need to live the best life possible.  Others believe that the people should decide how they live their lives and that government should be there to provide stabilization and a governing force to protect their basic needs and tenants. Then there are those nations that fall somewhere in the middle.  Which nation you are and how you see the world greatly depends on the history of your people, the culture you live in, and the drive each person has in their quest to live their lives.  Which set of conditions do you fall under?  Can you identify how your government treats you and if this is a good or bad thing?  How do you view government and what role should it have in your life?  These are questions that a person should ask themselves to better understand the government under which they live and if they should do anything to make a change in the governing force that surrounds them.

So, as a lesson to our English speaking friends in America I present to you the Die Linke.  Die Linke is a German political party that means “The Left.”  You can visit their website at  (http://die-linke.de/) so you can better grasp who they are and what they stand for but I picked a topic off their news headlines because it has special significance to the American people.  An article entitled, “NATO in Defensive,” reads to say that the Europeans, especially the Germans, should look very carefully with the role that NATO plays in their lives.  The author states that with the upcoming expansion of NATO into “Former Eastern Bloc” countries, the safety of Europe is diminishing daily.   He finishes the article by saying that current NATO policy would divide Europe and that on the occasion of the 60th birthday of NATO, Europe should hold a referendum to allow the withdrawal of membership from NATO by any member country.  Concerning NATO involvement in Europe, they have two options under their belt if they follow through with such a referendum.

The first option is that they can all vote against membership in NATO and dissolve the overarching military defensive alliance with the US.  This option is a precarious one because the implications are great for both sides. The US provides the majority of the defensive military options for Europe in case of an attack on the European continent.  This allows many, if not all, of the European countries to devote billions of dollars that would go towards defense to other areas of their economy.  As an example, according to some statistics, France contributes about 50% of its GDP to its social programs.  We bless them with economic spending of our own because we are living and working in their countries.  Economically and strategically it is a win for both sides.  If Europe is forced to militarize itself, the economic ramifications could be severe, especially on countries that have devoted their spending to government run programs and institutions for the public.

As a second option, Europe could vote to stay in NATO and continue the dealings they have had for 60 years.  Europe would be provided with the regional security that they have enjoyed for years and they could continue to bolster their economy in a fashion that allows them the social justices and needs that they garner so highly.  This would allow Europe to solidify the European Constitution and finally create the economic and political institutions that they have been working so steadily towards for years now.  Europe could say that without NATO, they would not have the economic stability and way of life that they have now.

Now that you have a simple understanding of the issue with NATO let us discuss the Die Linke.  Now, the Die Linke, also promotes the ban on arms sales and even a ban on arms manufacturing in Germany.  In the long run what this means is that the German people and country would have to depend on NATO solely, unless it withdrew and then it would have to arm itself.  Do you see the hypocrisy here?  Die Linke wants to de-arm and withdraw from NATO.  In essence, they want to have their cake and eat it to in terms of compete governmental control of the people in matters of defense.  The German people would be defenseless because of a lack of military forces and they would not have the defensive pact with NATO to provide additional aid unless special agreements were made during their time of need.  Now lets discuss the Die Linke in a little more detail.

Die Linke, is a socialist political party that believes in full government participation in the lives of individual citizens.  They, in some parts, see themselves as the former SED.  In essence, this political party believes that the State is more and better equipped to provide for the people than the people themselves.  The idea that the State is better capable than the individual is foreign to most in the American society.  I, an American, was taught that we are a country “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  So, in the light of a nations leaning towards a socialistic regime, I press you to get educated on what is going on outside the borders of America or wherever you reside and look past the television news and read and understand the understated issues and places.  Even in Germany, a democracy, there is a push for a more centralized and socialized government.  People know of Venezuela, Cuba, China, etc and how the extent to which the government controls and has an enormous amount of say in the daily lives of its citizens.  Would you ever have thought to put a German political party in the same boat as Cuba or China?  In a video attached to this article, you get an idea of what the Die Linke think and how they view the world.  One of the most interesting parts of the video introduces us to their role models for a good government and ruling political party.  These role models include, The Worker’s Party of Brazil, the Unity Party or the National Liberation of Indonesia, and the Communist Party of Cuba.  If these are their role models, how can any person in a free society support them?  How can a political party that is bent on government controlling every aspect of an individuals life gain in ground in a place that is supposed to be “democratic?”

These are questions that the logical person should ask themselves and the people around them.  What we need to do is show our support for the people in the world that are fighting against these regimes.  Show our support for the opposition parties in countries that are dominated by socialist political parties.  Understand, that this concept of thinking is spreading to democracies around the world and that if we do not take a stand now, it will only get worse.  As an American I am scared and worried by the video presented.  I am shocked sometimes, that things like this video exist because you only expect to see them in old propaganda reels from the 1950’s and 60’s.  As a note this video is representative of a convention in 2007.  So this way of thinking is not something that is decades old, it is very recent which is why the need for concern is warranted.

I am writing to not only to Americans but also for those English speaking Germans, I say that the street of understanding runs both ways.  What most Germans do not understand is that for Americans, we have a strict set of social laws and mores with a lot of economic and political freedoms, while they have a plethora of social freedoms and limited economic and political freedoms.  How is this possible in a country that is supposed to be a “democracy” in our international community?  I believe it is the American’s foundation and founding that separates them from Europe.  America was created by individuals who came together under free association to create government.  Europe has had established government in one form or another for centuries.  There was never a time where the people had the opportunity to create the same sense of free association that we were granted.  This opportunity, for instance, many Americans take for granted and in some foreign countries is seen as part of American arrogance.

In conclusion, the people of America and the international community should aid and support those that are working to fight unjust political regimes, socialism, and communism.  America needs to show its support to the foundations and agencies around the world that are fighting the Die Linke’s so that their influence will not spread and so that the people in those countries can see that there is a better choice for them when it comes to governmental choice.  Choice is the key word in that last sentence and Americans take this idea choice for granted as an inalienable right and the international community believes that it is not a right but something given to them.  We both must learn that the right of choice, of free choice and association, is something that is inherent to us all and we must be brave, strong, and insistent enough to take that right as part of the individual in us all not as part of a group giving us this power.  As much as I want to learn from other people from around the world I hope that I can teach those same people a little of what I know.  We both have something to teach and it is in the best interest of both parties to learn so to make the world a better place.  In essence, learning from the past, to live in the present, and plan for the future should be our goal as a society in a free world.

By:  Jonathan Hessling

Here is the aforementioned video:

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