The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

On President Obama’s statement that “It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure”:

He is giving the standard answer as to what our interest is in Middle East peace. You could give a utopian answer [that] we want to see everybody happy. The real answer, the one he gave, is [that it is] in our national interest that there be quiet in this area and other areas of the world because, necessarily, if there‘s a break-out of problems in the Middle East or, for example, in the Taiwan straits or as happened in Korea in 1950, we’re going to get sucked in. So yes, that’s the standard answer. . . . 

I think he meant whether we like it or not we’re going to get drawn in. . . . Although I think he exaggerated in saying in relation with the Middle East that it’s a matter of blood and treasure. The United States has never been involved directly in a Middle East war involving Israel, never.

On the European Union’s bailout of Greece:

I think it is a threat to the European Union because they have a requirement that if you want to join the Eurozone and be part of the currency, you can have a deficit no higher than three percent of your GDP, and as you said, Greece is in at 13 percent, which means it’s wildly out of control. . . .

But from an American perspective, that’s the future. We now have a deficit this year of over 10 percent, which is wildly out of control — 10 percent of our gross domestic product. If we stay on course, the most optimistic estimates out of the CBO are that we are going to have a national debt — a total accumulated debt — in ten years of about 100 percent, 90 percent of our GDP. In which case, we become Greece.

We get complete instability, either hyperinflation, or [interest] rates out of control. It means that we have to start now with deficit reduction, because once we’re on our way it’s almost impossible to go in reverse.

That’s why I have been talking about — for weeks here – a VAT. I don’t see any other way than raising taxes — such as a national sales tax that could be gusher of revenue. . . .

We have just added the largest entitlement since the New Deal in health-care reform. And that is the reason: We’re now at European levels of entitlement and we’re going to have to get European levels of taxation.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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