We can wring our hands and blame one another and point fingers all we want, but people need to face reality regarding the Middle East and South Asia.
- With Obama’s “deal,” Iran will develop nuclear weapons.
- The only way to avoid a nuclear exchange between either Iran and Israel, or between Iran and Saudi Arabia (or Iran and any Sunni country who has nukes (Pakistan) or who can buy them (from Pakistan, DPRK, Russia??)) will be for Israel either to make a nuclear strike on Fordow (too deep for any conventional attack), or – perhaps – an EMP strike over Iran more generally, shutting down their electrical/electronic infrastructure and devices, which also is a nuclear attack, one with just no direct casualties.
These are the consequences of America’s foreign policy, like it or not. Not Obama’s foreign policy. Not the foreign policy of Democrats or Republicans. America’s foreign policy.
Ours is a republic – and we are responsible for our actions.
It may make some feel better to blame others, the other party, a president they dislike, or the Easter Bunny, but the fact is that all of us are to blame for what happens next in the Middle East and South Asia… and the seeds for this were sown in 1950.
When Mao asked Stalin for permission to invade S. Korea, Stalin told him to feel free. Stalin had no idea how a nuclear America would react to the communist invasion of a nation that, though an American ally, was outside the sphere of concern of the recent “Containment” speech by American’s Secretary of State. If America reacted by fighting back as she had in WW2, a non-nuclear Stalin didn’t want to be on the receiving end of total war, unconditional surrender and societal destruction. So he let someone else to pull American’s tail. Smart. In the event it didn’t work, Stalin could stop worrying about Mao. In the event it did, Stalin would be able to challenge America more broadly on the global stage, which he promptly did in the Pacific, South America, SE Asia, Africa – and the Middle East. The strategic gains to Stalin were huge and the cost nearly zero. Why? Because Truman refused to fight to win. When killing and dying, a “tie” is not good enough.
The leaders of America and Britain established early-on their goal for victory in WW2: Unconditional surrender. They did so precisely because they had watched the storm of WW2 gather in the clouds left from a conditional surrender in WW1 – and were not about to let that happen again.
It was an America that forgot or rejected this lesson in Korea that sowed the seed for today’s Middle-East-South-Asia. It also sowed the seed for Vietnam, but that has come and gone – along with over 2M Vietnamese lives and 60,000 American lives needlessly lost had America learned the lesson of unconditional surrender and total war: it ALWAYS SAVES LIVES.
But – we refused to learn that lesson from 1945. We still reject it.
Many Americans support the pretense that Iraq and Afghanistan would not be the mess they are today had Obama not surrendered Bush’s gains. The only intelligent response to this is, “So what?”
Bush invaded a nation he refused then to defeat. What was the point of that? THAT is why we are where we are today. Obama only capitalized on the failures of Bush. (It’s nice to see all the Americans supporting Bush going on bike rides and have BBQs with wounded warriors – but Bush put them in harm’s way and refused to let them win; Bush destroyed those men, not Obama, and he did so in service of the chimera that is successful limited war.)
Since 1945 America has been invading nations we have refused to defeat. To say this is not strategic maturity is an understatement of historic proportion.
One can make excuses – not very good ones – that Truman had no idea what Stalin (the other nuclear power in the world and an ally of China prior to the Sino-Soviet split of 1959) would do if America nuked Pyongyang, saved over a million Korean lives, 38,000 American lives and won the war. But, as WW1 & WW2 had shown, if you are going to go to war, you must unquestionably defeat your enemy, and Truman refused to do that.
One can make excuses that America was so powerful relative to the entire industrialized world left in ruins from WW2 that no one would seriously challenge us. That would work right up until China invaded south across the Yalu, driving America and the UN forces almost completely off the Korean peninsula, but by then that excuse had been overcome by events.
One can make an excuse the Truman, the only head of state ever to nuke an enemy, didn’t want to have to do it again. But that puts ego above statesmanship and national security – and the lives of our warriors.
Regardless of the excuse, North Koreans today are eating grass, are stunted due to generations of malnutrition, and the DMZ is the most militarized place on the planet because America refused to win a war it insisted on fighting.
By the time of Vietnam, none of those excuses existed. JFK’s hubris simply led directly to the deaths of millions.
But it’s worse than that.
Every time America has engaged an enemy since 1945 we have refused to do so seriously. Our voters – all of us – have been OK somehow with sending our kids to fight infantry battles against non-national-security opponents for reasons of America’s ego. And have gotten our ass kicked. And our kids killed.
Yes, we returned the Korean peninsula to status-quo-ante. So?
Yes, we won every single battle in Vietnam – but lost the war. That was worth the cost in lives and treasure?
Yes, we kicked Saddam out of Kuwait in 100 hours. So? Who cares about Kuwait? And don’t tell me it’s about national borders or sovereignty – what about Georgia? Ukraine? Borders always change. Throughout the entire scope of written history, and before, the only constant in land ownership/occupation/borders has been change. Suddenly, the Baby Boomers, who think more clouds on the horizon means that a global climate that – they ignorantly fantasize because of some Divinity School flunk-out (Gore) – has never changed, is an extinction level event and it’s all out fault, also have decided that national borders are sacrosanct.
It would be embarrassing if Baby Boomers were well-enough educated and raised to be embarrassed.
Bush43 put us into Iraq and refused to fight to win. Period. That is the reason for Iran’s actions today.
No reason existed to invade Iraq. Even had one existed, NO reason exists – ever – to start a fight you refuse to win. That is just killing and dying in vain. If you are aware of a larger moral failure, please let me know.
Had we just nuked Saddam, would Iran take seriously threats of military action to stop her nuke program? Yep. Had we nuked Hanoi (killing far fewer than the 2M Vietnamese we did kill), would Saddam have taken us seriously? Yep. Had we nuked Pyonyang, would Ho have bothered us? Nope….
Baby Boomers must grasp – or it will be too late – that defeating a nation means defeating a nation. An army is just a tool of government, killing the tool doesn’t kill the government that created the tool or the society that allowed it. The nation itself must be defeated.
It is the height of Western arrogance to believe that nations of other cultures want what we want. If they wanted what we want, they’d be us. Any kindergartner can tell you this. But Left and Right in America can’t seem to grasp this fundamental truth.
If a nation attacks us, international law, national security and individual morality require that we respond and remove their ability to ever do so again. By not removing this ability we voluntarily are putting at-risk future generations of Americans. That is existentially foolish as well as immoral.
Killing their military cannot guarantee this outcome; only killing their society can, as we killed the societies of NAZI Germany, Imperial Japan and the antebellum South, which, by the way, are the only wars America has ever won. All other wars in which we have been engaged, from the Revolution to today, have ended with one side or the other tiring of the battle and leaving the field.
Does that mean women and children will die? Yes. Why? Because our women and children are more important than their women and children, and if you don’t believe that, you have no business living within the culture and protections, the economy and opportunity we – alone – provide.
This unwillingness to destroy an enemy – any enemy – is foundational to Liberals. Nothing in the Liberal political lexicon supports consequences for behavior. From spanking a child, to imprisoning an adult, to executing a murderer, to destroying an enemy, Liberals – foundationally – cannot support consequences: their ideology does not allow it. Pretending that logic, experience or centuries of human behavior can be presented to Liberals to make them accept that consequences must follow actions, is ignorant, immature and foolish. Liberals cannot – not will not, not refuse to – they cannot accept consequences and remain Liberal. (This is one of the major reasons I support secession by Red States (adults) from Blue States (pre-adolescents).)
It’s even larger – and deeper – than that, however. Liberals do not care about the future, so why would they care about our kids being sent off to die, to never have families, to chop off the family tree forever?
Not a single American Blue State, or Blue nation (all of the West other than America) has positive fertility with the exception of the demographically tiny and inconsequential Nevada, Hawaii and New Mexico. Not one single Western nation has even close to replacement demographics. If they don’t care about having kids, why would they care about yours?
But Republicans support this limited war nonsense, as well. People like McCain & Graham want to bomb everyone that pisses them off, but also refuse to win. NOTHING is more immoral than this course. People like Rand Paul are willing to say – “we need to fight all these wars, for what reason, again?” and are excoriated by the Right.
Where do we go from here?
With today’s voters it seems impossible to act maturely, to destroy the capability of an existential enemy of one of our allies to destroy that ally. And if defending an ally is not a responsibility, then our alliances need re-thinking by both sides, as does our defense budget. We pay for the defense of the entire West – but if we aren’t going to defend them that money is wasted.
Israel is an American ally. Obama has made it plain that Israel is not his ally. America used to be bigger than that, when our voters recognized responsibility to allies and the consequences of denying alliances, but we have moved past that for good or ill. Israel is on her own, and she knows it.
Japan is another ally. She, too, will be re-examining our alliance and, doubtless, nuking-up, for no other way exists to deter China. Same with South Korea. Ukraine already learned that trusting America with her borders – which is why she gave-up her nukes in the Budapest Memorandum – was existentially foolish.
Pretending that American foreign policy under Democrats who actually believe in that cute little kindergarten style that everyone wants to be like them will have no global consequences is ridiculous. Pretending that American foreign policy under GOP presidents who also have willingly gone to wars they refused to win similarly will be benign is just as stupid.
The world is less-safe now than since 1945, and no amount of jawboning otherwise by Baby Boomers will alter that fact. Societies – all societies – need adults who grasp action->consequence. And that when actions occur, consequences will occur regardless of whether the reaction is to do something in the face of an action… or do nothing; either is a choice, and either has its own consequences.
We are choosing to do nothing regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Although the GOP, especially in campaign season, tells us this is nuts, no one in the GOP – and few in voting booths – are serious enough to destroy Iran’s capacity. Israel may be – we will soon find out. A GOP president may be willing to start a conventional war with Iran, wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, lowering living standards now and for future generations (more empires and kingdoms throughout history collapsed because of war-induced debt than for any other reason), destroying thousands of American lives and thousands of Iranian lives to no purpose, because we will refuse to win, but Iran knows the outcome: They win, we lose.
It’s what American voters have been voting for since Korea.
As long as we do nothing, Iran will continue developing their weapons. In all likelihood they will accelerate their program. They now know not only that neither America nor the EU will do anything to stop them, Iran also knows that Israel probably will, but that with a clear enemy of Israel in the White House, any Israeli action with Obama still in office could lead to a strike by America – not Obama, a real in-America’s-name attack – on Israel, so Iran must strike prior to the next, probable GOP president.
As with Eisenhower in the Suez Crisis, a GOP president may get harsh with Israel and tell her to stand down, but likely will not attack her.
This is where our Republic stands today. A half-century of failed wars and failed military strategy have led the world to the nuclear precipice – needlessly.
Democrat voters and Obama may light the match, but American leaders and voters since 1950 have laid the kindling, stacked the firewood and poured on the gas.
Making the world a safer place for our children requires adults acting as adults:
• Actions have consequences
• Inaction has consequences
• Starting wars and refusing to win is insane
• Proportional force in wars is insane unless you want to maximize killing on both sides
• Both political parties in America are run by people with no grasp of strategy, foreign policy, history or current events.
• If America wants a safe world for our children, America needs to stop sticking its nose in the business of so many other countries.
• When we stick our nose in we need to be serious – and kill our enemies; our enemies are not foreign militaries, they are foreign nations – or residents living under the protection of foreign nations – who have attacked us.
• We need to prove we are worthy of alliance – or re-write all our alliances.
But – mostly – we need to grow-up and elect adults as leaders.
We may get past Iran. I doubt it, but it’s possible. But if we continue to pretend that acting as pre-adolescent children rejecting behavior and consequences will not create similar situations in the future, we have learned nothing.
No one who goes to war and refuses to win in the most productive, efficient manner possible, with the loss of the fewest possible lives, can EVER again be elected to national office… or we are just continuing the same policies and expecting different results.
And that, as Einstein noted, is insane.