Western governments have gotten very good at doing things they were never intended to do and very bad at the handful of things they were intended to do.
Strike that. Western government haven’t been very good at doing anything for decades, but they’ve been squandering our money and reputation on elective absurdities while ignoring what ought to be their core functions.
The Danish government, for example, has gotten very good at telling us how to sort our garbage and forcing us to live more “sustainably,” but last year we learned our army had run out of bullets and now it turns out that bullets are the least of our problems: we no longer have a functioning army.
Don’t take my word for it: that’s according to Brigadier General Henrik Lyhne, second in command of the Danish army. He tells TV2 News:
This is an emergency call. The situation is extremely critical, especially because we lack soldiers like never before. I have been in the Armed Forces for 40 years, and it has never looked so bad.
In recent years, we have had major problems with retention. People will not put up with the low wages, dilapidated barracks and lack of personnel and equipment. Then they vote with their feet and leave the Armed Forces.
(In the event of war) we will go to war with what we have. It’s how we were brought up. But it is not certain that it will be pretty. I am deeply concerned about our professionalism in the Army. It is really under pressure.
Maybe, but does the good general not realize how good we’ve gotten at recycling?
Does he not understand the importance of our cultural commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability?
In my Substack article yesterday (Western Comfort), which was sort of an expansion pack to the points I’d raised in this space on Saturday, I mentioned that one of the few things on which my politically eclectic friends and I agreed upon during our liquor-enhanced conversation was what one friend called the “decadence” of the west:
…things have gotten so good for so many of us that we’ve begun to take it for granted. We’ve begun to consider our prosperity a birthright rather than a gift bequeathed to us by forebears who struggled against all odds to achieve it. We love all the stuff but we’re not so keen on the struggle.
The world is a dangerous place full of things that want to kill us. There are natural threats like disease, carnivorous and poisonous animals, toxic plants, extreme cold, extreme heat, lightning, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, blizzards, tsunamis, meteorites, and avalanches. Our sources of food and drinking water are always fragile. There are heavily armed nations that wish evil upon us. And, of course, there are plenty of lawless individuals among us eager to prey on our weaknesses.
The first and most important job of any government is the preservation of its citizens’ physical safety. Nothing else comes close. After all, if we’re not physically safe then nothing else counts for much. A country can be wealthy and free and open and harmonious, but if it can’t defend itself it’s just a target… a fatted gazelle lounging on the savannah.
We’ve lost our way.
Here in Denmark our government just eliminated a public holiday and promised it would use the resulting increase in revenue to fund our military. So General Lyhne obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about, right?
Right? I mean, just because one general is out there banging the drum, that doesn’t mean—
The army has for a long time received criticism for not living up to the agreements Denmark has entered into with NATO—the so-called force targets.
Most recently, an internal memo from the Ministry of Defence, which TV 2 is in possession of, revealed that Denmark is only living up to 3 out of 17 of the strength targets.
Most important is the requirement to provide a combat-ready force of 4,000 soldiers in the 1st Brigade. This, which also goes by the name “Army’s Fist”, and which according to the plan should be ready by the end of 2023.
There is a lack of weapons and personnel, and already in 2020, Denmark was criticized for being behind in preparations, when NATO determined in an evaluation that the brigade had a “critical deficit of combat capability” and “will probably be practically useless in a sharp conflict.”
According to TV 2’s information, approximately 1,000 of the 4,000 soldiers are missing today.
But no worries, Denmark. Now that we’ve given up “Great Prayer Day,” things will just take care of themselves. So we can forget all about silly little stuff like our ability to defend ourselves and focus on what really matters: the green transition.
That’s good government.