Europeans maintain thin, utilitarian militaries that can keep up with military technology, send enough soldiers to assuage America's thirst for intervention, and make decent showings in Memorial Day parades. Europeans have seen how the Pentagon has pitilessly spent the country into debt, and they want no part of it.
Besides, military force is not the only power behind foreign policy. Just ask the Iranians. They want out from under sanctions. Or ask American members of Congress about European reluctance regarding genetically modified seeds. Or ask the chic Mrs. Assad if she's planning a shopping spree on the Champs-Elysees once her husband has taken care of those nasty rebels. Most likely she's going to stick with E-Bay.
No, I don't see the reluctance, the reticence or the toothlessness that Ms. Dempsey bemoans. I see European and American publics that are a tougher sell for war. The reaction of Europeans and Americans to a real threat in the world? Hard to say. But both peoples know perfectly well what Hitlers and Napoleons and Stalins look like, and I think they would know what to do.
1 | 2