Joe Biden's widely hailed speech hit a lot of the notes calculated to please his European audience. But there's a lot to worry about, too, in the vice president's address.
Most worrying was Biden's call for reenergizing NATO for so-called humanitarian interventionism, energy security, and "out of area" deployments, and for mobilizing US and NATO military force against selected regimes that the West doesn't care for.
Said the veep:
As America renews our emphasis on diplomacy, development, democracy and preserving our planet, we will ask our allies to rethink some of their own approaches - including their willingness to the use force when all else fails.
When it comes to radical groups that use terror as a tool, radical states that harbor extremists, undermine peace and seek or spread weapons of mass destruction and regimes that systematically kill or ethnically cleanse their own people - we must stand united and use every means at our disposal to end the threat they pose.
None of us can deny – or escape - the new threats of the 21st century. Nor can we escape the responsibility to meet them.
That sounds ominously like a call to use military force in cases of humanitarian crisis, a theme raised repeatedly by liberal interventionists such Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, and Samantha Power, who's getting a vaguely defined job at the national security council. Going to war against countries that "ethnically cleanse their own people" sounds, to me, like a call to arms against, well, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, various central Asian states, and a wide range of African countries.
Biden also issued a clarion call for NATO:
We must recommit to our shared security and renew NATO, so that its success in the 20th century is matched in the 21st. NATO's core purpose remains the collective defense of its members. But faced with new threats, we need a new resolve to meet them, and the capabilities to succeed. Our Alliance must be better equipped to help stop the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons, to tackle terrorism and cyber-security, to expand its writ to energy security and to act in and out of area effectively.
NATO must "expand its writ to energy security"? It's clear what he means: that NATO has to take responsibility for the Persian Gulf and central Asia. (That's a theme that I covered in a Nation profile of General James Jones, Obama's national security adviser, who pushed arrogant nonsense like while serving as NATO commander.
The Obama team is also getting ready to demand that NATO get more involved, militarily, in Afghanistan. Let's hope they get turned down, and publicly.