Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Division of Labor

Its amazing, and somewhat frustrating, that all the best arguments on the European/American division of labor have come AFTER I graduated. Anyway, from The New Republic, 7/13/04, Economist writer Robert Lane Greene writes:
...Britain intervened recently in Sierra Leone, and France sent troops to the Ivory Coast. Both were missions in former colonies with little strategic importance, but in which ugly humanitarian crises called out for intervention. With U.S. forces stretched thin in the rest of the world--and a domestic population leery of using the army for "social work"--these are not the type of interventions America would be inclined to take on.
A division of labor makes sense for both America and Europe. America will certainly continue to do the heavy war-fighting. After all, it's inconceivable that Europe would have to fight against a serious military power without any American help, a fact that Chirac does not seem to appreciate. Meanwhile, Europe can lead in small regional crises in the Balkans and in their ex-colonies (which, after all, take up most of the world). Europe can also do most of the "softer"--but far from easy--tasks like peacekeeping. Even Europe's smaller countries can make themselves helpful by developing divisions with special skills, such as Norway's mine-clearing and mountain experts, or the Czech Republic's mobile biological and chemical weapons detection units. With Europe and America both needing each other and both able to help, no one has to feel taken advantage of, or ignored.

Happy hunting everyone!

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