"The United States must change," President Obama told the Europeans, "but the rest of the world must change as well." I thought of that today reading about the latest North Korean missile launch. Readers of this blog know that I strongly support a standing down of the US as global cop, with the concomitant reduction of the size of the US military and its budget, and a general unwinding of the post-WWII "leading role" of the US. But the international community will actually have to do most, not just some, of the work required for this to occur.
For the moment I think we can forget the Europeans so far as helpfulness is concerned. The only thing more precious to the Europeans than their typically chauvinistic and masturbatory anti-Americanism is the fact that the US absolutely handles all military security for the European continent, from the tiniest "mouse that roared" disputes to the largest conflagrations. The Europeans are of no use and will not be of any until they can, at a minimum, handle military security on their own continent; at the moment there is no doubt that they cannot. They have let this go on because the United States indirectly subsidizes European social "safety net" policies by continuing to pay for European military security, and they've kind of got us: what alternative do we have? Let Europe burn? They are rather effectively holding us hostage.
Asia is a different story. The question for today is, what to do about the failed and dangerous state of North Korea? Two stories illustrate the situation pretty thoroughly: First, GOP candidate-in-waiting Newt Gingrich telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday yesterday that he would have "disabled" the missile (Newt being Newt, his favored weapon was ray guns. No, it's true. Check for yourself), and second, the continuing reluctance of China, at this point North Korea's de facto patron and protector, to take any strong action because of the problem of paying for huge influxes of economic migrants if the North Korean regime were toppled, a burden they would share with the South Koreans in any event.
There's one more country with a border with North Korea, and that's Russia. Another big story this week was about Russia and China working on the idea of a global currency to replace the US dollar, part of a larger strategic aim to work together to establish real hegemony in Asia (that is, to push the Americans out of Asia).
Say, Russia? Um, China? Here's one American who would like absolutely nothing better than for the US to be out of security commitments in Asia altogether. Heave ho! But, uh, guys? That means you're going to have to deal with it.