Countries cannot leave planet Earth

The EU is a bit of a busybody, with some unnecessary regulations. It also does lots of good things, and overall I view it as a force for progress. Still, I’m glad that countries are free to leave if they find the EU to be too oppressive.

Unfortunately, there is no way for countries to leave planet Earth, no matter how oppressive its Global Master becomes. And in recent years the world’s master is becoming extremely oppressive, bullying both friends and enemies:

The company laying the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline said it had suspended work, as US sanctions against a project Washington says will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy imports came into force.

Germany condemned the sanctions, which threaten to plunge relations between Berlin and Washington, already badly damaged by President Trump’s constant attacks on Germany’s trade surplus and relatively low defence spending, to a new low.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz described the punitive measures as “serious interference in Germany and Europe’s internal affairs and our own sovereignty”. “We object to them in the strongest terms,” he told the German TV channel ARD.

Such measures were “incomprehensible and improper for friends that are also linked by our common membership of Nato,” he added.

I actually have no problem with the US putting economic sanctions on Russia. That’s our decision. But when we bully other countries into following our lead (including allies like Germany), then we show that we are no better than the countries we criticize. A truly shameful moment in American history, in a decade full of such disgraces.

History suggests that eventually someone, or a group of countries, will cut the US down to size.  Let’s hope it’s soon.



19 Responses to “Countries cannot leave planet Earth”

  1. Gravatar of SV SV
    21. December 2019 at 10:10

    Should a country that props up a rogue nation’s economy, purchases equipment deemed as spyware by our nonpartisan national security apparatus while refusing to pitch in the requisite amount to NATO truly be deemed our “ally” in the first place?

  2. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    21. December 2019 at 10:56

    “That’s our decision.” Well, it’s not *my* decision; it’s someone else’s decision that is being forced on me.

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. December 2019 at 12:53

    SV, Yes.

    Philo, yes.

  4. Gravatar of Plato’s Revenge Plato’s Revenge
    21. December 2019 at 13:49

    The US are a terrible bully, I agree, even by the low standards set by those collective coercion entities named ‘states’.

    But isn’t Northstream II one of the weaker examples? You are yourself on record — and I agree — that Russia is the biggest (external) security threat to the US. I would derive this less from its nuclear arsenal and more from its self-professed Great Power politics, and its total disregard for any limits on its power projection, save ability and readiness to cause it more pain than it’s willing to take. (So, its nuclear arsenal IS crucial, but indirectly — by preventing victims to use their full force against Russia.)

    Compared to Russia, the US is an amateur bully.

    US security policy has always been to start its defense in Europe. Call this illegitimate or expansionist; as a European, I have always been grateful, even when I was not immediately in receipt of this protection: I used to be an East German (not by choice, obviously).

    If the Russian threat can be disputed with respect to the US, it can NOT be disputed for Europe. Neither can be the European reliance on our American ally. So what is this ally to make of the deal of the century to
    * cement European dependence on Russian gas (and create powerful material interests in preserving it
    * safeguard the one industry an otherwise backward Russian economy has to finance its Great Power plans
    * cut Ukraine out of its position to take non-military measures against Russia?

    Apparently, the US is prepared to take meaningful measures to help its European allies with what they profess — and should — strive for: reigning in blatant Russian aggression. At the same time, Germany pursues what can only be called appeasement (and Its own economic interest)

    If there was NO alliance between the US and Germany, maybe it would be none of the US business. WITH the alliance, I think it’s reason to question it.

  5. Gravatar of CC CC
    21. December 2019 at 15:07

    To some foreigners like myself, that of a world with the US “cut down to size” is a dread prospect. It’s the least malevolent hegemon the world has ever seen. Eastern Europeans seem to agree: here is two articles by Ambrose Evans Pritchard on the HS2 affair.×900×360×900

  6. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    21. December 2019 at 15:58

    How would you feel about Germany selling centrifuges to North Korea for the extraction of uranium for nuclear weapons.

  7. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    21. December 2019 at 17:21

    Does President Trump know what we are doing to his friend Putin?

    The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population. The United States can easily be self-sufficient in everything.

    The globalist-multinationals rule US foreign, trade, and military policies, with expensive results for taxpayers and citizens.

  8. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    22. December 2019 at 05:37

    Europeans also want Huawei (the Chinese company) 5G technology, and the U.S. is threatening retaliation against those who do business with Huawei. Protectionism, whether by tariffs or threats, increases the risk of military conflict. Trade, on the other hand, reduces the risk of military conflict. I’d take trade over military conflict. What if 40 years ago China decided to build up its military capacity rather than its economic capacity. Would the world be a better place today?

  9. Gravatar of Brent Buckner Brent Buckner
    22. December 2019 at 06:52

    “Let’s hope it’s soon.” — be careful what you wish for, whatever the replacement regime may be it could be worse!

  10. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    22. December 2019 at 09:43

    Europe seems to have very tough antitrust laws and is constantly issuing multibillion dollar fines against tech companies. Now imagine if a $2+ trillion company issued these kinds of sanctions against a competitor to increase its own natural gas sales and then used its clout to get many other companies to go along with it. That seems like a huge and obvious antitrust law violation and the European Commission would fine that company out of existence. In my view, if a government acts in a commercial manner it should be subject to the same laws as private entities engaged in the same commercial transactions. If the European Commission has balls, it would issue the biggest fine in its history against the US government for this.

  11. Gravatar of ChrisA ChrisA
    23. December 2019 at 07:38

    It’s a very strange decision by the US, to say that two third parties cannot make a deal because it would make one of the third parties more dependent on the other third party. Surely that decision should be left to the third party who is at risk? Of course if the US sees itself as in loco parentis to Germany then this would perhaps make sense, but this attitude is a bit demeaning to Germany. I can only think this decision would be likely to make Germany even more friendly to Russia and less friendly to the US.

    I have seen two conspiracy theories on the reasons behind this approach; first it is the Ukraine lobbyists in the US who fear their country will loose transit fees (much of which eventually ends up lost in corruption). And second it is to boost US LNG exports. As Scott says it is a bad precedent that these special interest end up driving US foreign policy.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. December 2019 at 10:24

    Plato, By all means we should try to persuade the Germans of your reasonable argument. But treating Germany as an enemy because of a difference in point of view? That’s not how you treat an ally.

    dtoh, They would not do so, because they are our ally. How does your question relate to this post?

    Brent, I don’t want any global hegemon.

  13. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    23. December 2019 at 16:15


    You’re being deliberately obtuse again. You know full well our allies don’t always act in our best interest, and…

    you know full well I’m asking the question to advance the argument that depending on the circumstances it may be perfectly fine to bully other countries.

  14. Gravatar of Brent Buckner Brent Buckner
    24. December 2019 at 07:09

    Dr. Sumner: I didn’t posit a global hegemon as the replacement regime, I posited “whatever”. For example, I believe that there was a lot of bullying during the Cold War.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. December 2019 at 14:24

    dtoh, The analogy doesn’t work, in my view. I have more faith in the German view of what’s best than the US view of what’s best. Look at our Iran policy, which Germany opposed.

    Brent, There were two bullies back then. I’d prefer zero. (Just to be clear, the Soviet Union was far worse than the US.)

  16. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    24. December 2019 at 17:03


    “I have more faith in the German view of what’s best than the US view of what’s best”

    Yes maybe, but that’s an entirely different argument than “countries shouldn’t bully other countries.”

  17. Gravatar of Brent Buckner Brent Buckner
    25. December 2019 at 05:24

    Dr. Sumner: I’m sure that’s your preference – you simply didn’t express it in your original post, as though any replacement regime would be overwhelmingly likely to be better than the status quo. All best wishes!

  18. Gravatar of Plato’s Revenge Plato’s Revenge
    25. December 2019 at 13:12

    rogue states try to do business with the West, more frequently than engaging in outright hostility. The means may be peaceful, the aims are still the same (“The same thing we do every night, try to take over the world!”)

    Also, they will quite consciously target individual ‘weak links’ and try to break them out of the unified front of disapproval.

    Also, they will buy politicians and support political movements to achieve this.

    By the way, Germans may not have sold centrifuges to North Korea, but both Iran and (in the past) Iraq were more successful. Doing exactly what I described.

    ANY countermeasure against the attempt to buy Western support for their sinister aims will — by design — hit ‘innocent’ private companies. If you accept US sanctions, how can you expect them NOT to be like bullying?

  19. Gravatar of Plato’s Revenge Plato’s Revenge
    25. December 2019 at 13:19

    To elaborate on the point of ‘excess US hostility’: From what you quote, it sounds like the German government took this personal and expressed hostility to the US.

    Of course, our government doesn’t tweet, so ministers sounding off about ‘interference in internal affairs’ sound EXACTLY like the Soviet Union of late, when it was caught red-handed with some corrupt scheme, be it against its own subjects, be it against the external enemies.

    They also had the term ‘useful idiots’ for those (wittingly or unwittingly) recruited in the West

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