RIDICULING THE NEAT ROOMMATE. I think there should be a corollary to the Messy Roommate theory: The messy roommates have an incentive to ridicule the efforts of the neat roommate. This shows up in the NATO context as criticism by the free riding countries in NATO of American “militarism” or American desire to be a “hegemon”.

In the article by Megan McArdle that I linked to yesterday, she says: “as a rightish American who’s spent a bit of time abroad, I can personally attest that many of those NATO members’ citizens feel free to disparage our massive military budget, as if their smaller budgets were some sort of moral sacrifice rather than an unearned benefit paid for by U.S. taxpayers.”

An article in the Charlemagne column in the Economist (February 25) says: “Slamming American-inspired militarism could prove a useful campaign tactic for …[a Social Democrat running in the September German elections].

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