From 1979 to 1982, I was a Russian linguist stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany, with the 533rd Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence (CEWI) Battalion, part of the 3rd Armored Division.  If a war had come, assuming we hadn’t been nuked right away, we would have deployed within hours northeast to the Fulda Gap to listen to Soviet army troop movements, triangulate their positions, and report the information to our commanding general.

We often conducted maneuvers in the same area, fighting mock battles against other American forces, especially in the fall Reforger “field problem.”  Although tanks did the most damage to the farms and roads, 533rd CEWI’s trucks and jeeps ripped up enough property on their own, especially when it rained and the mud common to Northern Europe began flowing like rivers.  Any damage was paid for by the U.S. taxpayers.

I talked often with locals, many of whom spoke English.  In the large cities, such as Frankfurt, they didn’t much like Americans being there.  A lot of the hostility was endemic leftism.  Frankfurt is Germany’s banking center, but it also produced the infamous Frankfurt School of cultural Marxism.

“Don’t you hate the lack of freedom?” they sometimes asked me.

“Well, I volunteered,” I’d respond.  “It’s only for four years.  I still have my American freedoms.  We’re not at war.  And Germany is a pleasant country.”

But in the countryside, the Baürn were friendlier.  Just to the east, they could look over at the Wall, which separated them from their less-fortunate brethren in East Germany.  Although not as well known as the Berlin Wall, a wall cordoned off the rest of East Germany, keeping East Germans from defecting to the West.  There was a sharp contrast between the verdant farms of West Germany and the gray fields on the other side of the Wall.  It was visual evidence of why the Soviet “satellites” were called the Grey Republics.

The farmers also were aware that just over the horizon sat the mechanized Red Army hordes ready to pour through the Fulda Gap.  They well remembered that the Red Army, just 35 years earlier, had raped, looted, and murdered its way across not just what had been Prussia and other areas of eastern Germany, but even Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other lands “liberated” from the Third Reich.

International tensions reminded everyone why the Amis (Americans) were stationed there.  The American hostages were taken in Tehran in November 1979, two months after I flew into Germany.  The Red Army invaded Afghanistan on Christmas Day 1979.  Yugoslav dictator Tito died in May 1980.  In December 1981, Polish dictator Jaruzelski arrested Solidarity chairman Lech Walesa and imposed martial law.  So the Soviet threat was real.

Yet immediately after I arrived, I wondered why we were needed.  Germany was well off.  Traveling through much of Western Europe, I also saw that Northern Italy and France were quite well off, as was England, despite her status then as the “sick man of Europe.”  The French and British had nuclear weapons.  There was not much reason for Americans to be there.  The main reason seemed to be the one given by NATO’s first secretary general, Lord Ismay, that the organization existed “to keep the Russians out, the French in and the Germans down.”

I thought that it must not have been pleasant for the Germans to have American troops—and British troops in the north—stationed in their realm for so long.  American culture was toxic.  In the spring of 1980 I was stationed in a small “field station” listening post east of Hanover that was about a mile from East Germany.  The Wall always was out there.

And floating over to the west was soot from East Germany’s dirty coal-power plants.  The East Germans didn’t much care about “the environment”; they were too busy “building socialism.”

There was no U.S. base in the area, so we lived among the German Volk, eating at a local restaurant courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers.  I was especially dismayed that the young people were listening to the same terrible rock music I grew up on, especially on Armed Forces Radio.  “Didn’t Bach live close to here?” I would ask them.

“Ja,” the kids close to my age replied.

“Then why don’t you listen to him instead of the American noise?”

“Because we like the American.”

Rock likely would have come to Germany even without U.S. troops being there.  In the late 1950’s Elvis, who was a member of my 3rd Armored Division, would have been popular, along with the Beatles.  But maybe they would have been a little less popular without such a strong American presence.

Here we are, two decades after the Russians went home, and it seems that not only the Germans are “down,” but the whole continent.  One of the effects of the American military presence in Europe has been a reduction in fertility rates.  A military occupation, even a friendly one, makes the local men useless in their primary masculine role: protectors of women and children.

Imagine if nice Australian lads had been stationed in large numbers in your state since 1944—and that they had superior numbers and firepower to American troops.  During the Cold War, the Aussies kept the communists from taking over your state.  But for the past 20 years, they have stuck around to use your state as a base for international operations.  Meanwhile, your sons have become fanatical AC/DC fans, and many of your daughters have been carried off to Australia to make shrimp on the barbie for their husbands.

American men, under such a circumstance, would be even more demoralized than they already are.  Such is the way things have been for the men in most Western European countries for over 65 years.  Europe is a continent of geldings.  The saving grace for Americans is that we are the occupiers instead of the occupied.

Of course, the American occupation of Europe isn’t the only reason for Europe’s population suicide.  There as here, Christian ministers seem averse to preaching the blessings of large families, or even of small families.  And the elites in Europe, like the American elites, are obsessed with population control, now under the excuse of the global-warming hoax.

But there are differences in Western European population trends relative to the countries that have American troops protecting them from a Red Army that retreated long ago.  Consider the following 2010 estimates from the CIA World Factbook of birthrates per woman in Western European countries that, for decades, have hosted large numbers of U.S. troops.  (Replacement level is about 2.1, and during the same year, the birthrate for the United States was 2.06.)

Germany: 1.42

Italy: 1.32

Greece: 1.37

Spain: 1.47

Portugal: 1.50

Belgium: 1.65

Netherlands: 1.66

Denmark: 1.74

Luxembourg 1.78

Iceland: 1.90

United Kingdom: 1.92

The average, not weighted for population, is 1.61; weighted for population in 2010, it is 1.54.

By contrast, here are the birthrates per woman for Western European countries that have had few U.S. troops in recent decades:

Switzerland: 1.46

Malta: 1.52

Sweden: 1.67

Finland: 1.73

Norway: 1.77

France: 1.97

Ireland: 2.03

Not weighted for population, the average is 1.74.  So, by this measure alone, the countries with little or no U.S. presence enjoyed a fertility rate 0.13 percentage points higher than those with a large U.S. presence.  And, if the average is weighted for population in 2010, it jumps to 1.89.  That is a significant gap of 0.35 percentage points between the 1.54 fertility rate for countries with a large U.S. presence and the 1.89 rate of those with little or no U.S. presence.

It looks like De Gaulle had a point in the mid-1960’s when he kicked out les Américains and developed his own nuclear weapons, la Force de Frappe.  France’s ladies, protected by their own men, bore children at near-replacement levels.

Although the United Kingdom has hosted large numbers of U.S. troops since 1942, their high birthrate of 1.92 may reflect the common identity many Brits share with Americans, and Britain’s position as the mother country of the Anglosphere.  We gave them Elvis, but they gave us the Beatles and the Stones.  The Brits, like the French, also have nukes.

Of course, many of these numbers, especially for France, reflect the high birthrates of recent non-European immigrants.  Yet the point remains that France has a near-replacement level of fertility, while Germany, which also has large numbers of immigrants with high birthrates, does not.

Even for countries with little or no U.S. military presence in recent decades, U.S. troops were in neighboring countries.  I will not rehearse all the numbers for this next section, but confirmation comes from Eastern Europe and Asia.  In Eastern Europe, it wasn’t U.S. forces that occupied countries, but the brutal Red Army.  It left devastation and despair wherever it goose-stepped, beginning with Russia herself and long-occupied Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, all with fertility rates below 1.42 per woman.

But the fertility rates have dropped further since most Eastern European countries have joined NATO, whereby the Red Army’s influence has been replaced by U.S. influence.  All the states of “New Europe,” as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ridiculously called them, have birthrates below 1.47: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The surprise is Catholic Poland, which enjoyed a birthrate of around 2.5 per woman when she belonged to the Warsaw Pact; under NATO her fertility rate has plummeted to 1.29.  The warm embrace of American paternalism is dissolving Poland in a way Stalin’s hordes never could.  Sta­lin once remarked that making Poland communist was “like trying to saddle a cow.”  He should have tried Western materialism.

Maybe Poles, having saved Europe from invasion six times and having stood up to Stalin, need something to fight against.  Instead, they are still begging for more American military aid and even stationing American antimissile defenses on their soil just 35 miles from Kaliningrad, now a Russian enclave but formerly Königsberg.  The reality is that Russia’s 1.41 birthrate and high mortality—Russia’s population shrinks by 500,000 each year—have already put her in a demographic death race with Poland.

Pretty soon, there will be no Russians to fire the missiles at Poles who never were born, but who will be protected by American antimissiles that don’t work.

Asia, where U.S. troops have been occupiers since World War II, provides more examples of the antinatalist effects of the presence of U.S. forces.  Low fertility is found in countries with a strong U.S. troop presence:

Taiwan: 1.15

Japan: 1.20

South Korea: 1.22

Thailand: 1.65

Hong Kong, occupied by the British until 1997, has a similarly dismal rate of 1.04.

Higher fertility rates are found in those Asian countries that lack the presence of U.S. troops:

Mainland China: 1.54

Vietnam: 1.93

North Korea: 1.94

Philippines: 3.23

U.S. forces left the Philippines 20 years ago, although in recent years some Special Forces troops have returned to fight Muslim insurgents in the archipelago’s southern islands.  Numbers from Mainland China reflect the country’s one-child policy, but may be low for propaganda purposes.  For the same reason, North Korea’s numbers may be artificially high.

Like most Americans, when the Cold War ended I figured our troops would finally come home.  The Soviet military threat was gone, the Warsaw Pact dissolved.  Yet today, U.S. troops still occupy Europe, albeit in fewer numbers.

At the behest of the Americans, NATO even has expanded right up to the borders of Russia.  This happened despite the promises made by President George H.W. Bush to Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980’s that NATO would not be expanded, a promise that helped end the Cold War.

During the final days of the Soviet Empire, I wrote numerous editorials in the Orange County Register calling on Moscow to free the “captive nations” of Eastern Europe.  Baltic-American activists told me that, when Lithuania’s independence movement took flight in late 1990 and early 1991, Lithuanians would hold up translated copies of my editorials to the occupying Red Army troops as evidence that the American press was watching.  The Baltic-Americans later gave me an award.  To me, it’s worth more than a Pulitzer.

But in the mid-1990’s, I had to disappoint my Baltic friends when I said that, while I sympathized with them, I couldn’t support their push to get the Baltic states into NATO.  I told them that NATO should be abolished, and that they should not expect America to risk getting New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles incinerated by Russian missiles should the Russian army move into Vilnius, Tallinn, and Riga.

I suggested that they imitate the Swiss.  Granting that Switzerland has the advantage of mountains while the Baltics are low-lying coastal areas, I pointed out that the Swiss model has much to recommend it.  They should, I advised, enlist all men in decentralized militias and require them to keep functional rifles at home.  AK-47s would be a good choice because, in the event of an invasion, they could steal ammunition from the occupiers, or bribe them to sell it.  They also should give RPG-7 antitank weapons to local, neighborhood militias.  And they should abolish all gun control.

The Balts said they admired Switzerland, but that gun control was needed to fight crime.  And they were going to depend on NATO.  All three Baltic countries joined NATO in 2004.  Since then, U.S. defense contractors have made billions selling the Balts overengineered American weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers, such as the BALTNET air-surveillance and radar system made by Lockheed Martin, whose actual (ungrammatical) motto is “We never forget who we’re working for.”  (It ain’t you, Mr. and Mrs. Overtaxed America.)

In my talks with the Balts, I also suggested that they adopt pro-natalist policies, such as ending Soviet-imposed abortion on demand, cutting the welfare state, and reducing taxes on middle-class families.  The best way to defend the Baltic lands, I said, was to procreate more Balts.  Doing so also would replace the hundreds of thousands of them who had been deported and murdered by Stalin.  My friends agreed that pro-natalist policies should be adopted, but thought that it would be difficult to do so in a society that had long envied the material possessions of the West.

Like most Europeans, the Balts have become addicted to the tax dollars and false sense of safety provided by America’s military security blanket.  They refuse to solve their own problems.  They refuse to depend, live or die, on the valor of their own men.

America’s financial meltdown, which is accelerating despite the “summer of recovery” in 2010 proclaimed by Vice President Biden, is forcing a reassessment of U.S. military commitments.  Soon, the choice will be between maintaining imperial occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with continued NATO commitments in Europe, and cutting off Grandma’s Social Security, leaving her to freeze in the street.

The best thing Americans could do to help Europe would be to leave.  The best thing Europe could do for itself would be to tell the Yankees to go home.