The 20th Century was “The American Century,” and most of us who came to adulthood in the latter half are accustomed to two constants: The Russians are the enemy, and we can throw-around our weight whenever and wherever we want.
Both of these need to be reconsidered; not from a lack of will, guts or engagement, but because they are, like the century in which they were born, past.
Whether the neocons like it or not, the Cold War is over and we won. Rather than continue to assume that Russia is and always will be our enemy, we need to step-back and re-evaluate our relationship. Russia could – and should – be a solid partner in the global war on terror. Islam is banging not only on their southern door, but within their gates in Chechnya. That Russia does not comport itself with the delicacy of Western PC and lack of defense of its own culture is a plus, not a minus, in what needs to become a real war in order for the West – and for Orthodox Russia – to defeat what is an existential threat to us both.
If we could ally ourselves with Stalin immediately after the Purges, and arm the USSR to defeat Hitler (a war in which Russia bore the brunt of the fighting, losing 20M Russians to America’s 400,000), we certainly can – and should – ally with them to defeat radical islam.
The Ukraine is a mess of our making. For our opinion makers to get their panties in a knot over it is childish. Ukraine always has been the “breadbasket” of Russia. That they were allowed to separate from the USSR and the Russian Federation without violence was remarkable from a historical perspective. That America and NATO demanded to continue pushing NATO east was inexplicable. The USSR was dead, Russia was not threatening advances into Europe, German reunification was bloodless, Poland was again free… so what, exactly, was the point of pushing Western forward defenses deeper into the buffer, and an economically vital region to Russia, against a non-threatening Great Power trying to recover from 70 years of communism, a recovery in our favor?
It was this NATO expansion that caused the problems in Ukraine. The same American presidential geniuses who destabilized the entire Middle East, South Asia and North Africa with wars of no purpose or national need, and who set the stage for tens of millions of refugees and the muslim invasion of Europe, could not wrap their heads around the idea that engaging her as a partner would be far more advantageous than tightening the decades-old vise to contain a non-threatening Russia. This was stupidity writ large.
And those wars were – and are – of no purpose: If they were, we’d fight them to win.
Kuwait? The largest, most modern and powerful military in history took most of a year to move forces to the region, then launched a 100-hr air battle and a two-week land invasion against a large but neither modern nor literate conscript army in order to… what? Make the world safe for islamism? To save a monarchy not threatening to become democratic any time soon? To ensure they could continue executing apostates from the same religion now threatening physical and economic catastrophe across the West? To die for territorial integrity that worked so well for us in Vietnam & Korea – and which has both been ignored (Georgia) or encouraged (Bangaladesh) on the world stage was just plain dumb.
Like the dominoes against which these same neocons warned to waste 60,000 American – and 2M Vietnamese – lives, the rest of the region went up in flames, country after country. To only negative result, America threw-around her weight and burned down Iraq, Syria, Libya, and by immolating Libya, Mali.
If we had actual statesmen in charge, we would not have launched the Gulf War. We would not have destabilized the region. We would not have destroyed multiple countries of no threat to America or Americans. We would not have spent more money in real terms than it cost to defeat the two most modern military forces in the world at the time, simultaneously, across the entire planet on the land, on and under the sea, and in the air in 3.5 years.
America indeed needs to reset its relations with Russia. Not as an adversary but as an ally. We have a war to fight against a real enemy who is murdering our citizens, raping our women and destroying our economies. No reason on earth other than neocon head-in-the-sand refusal to move forward prevents our addressing this real problem by joining with Russia to defeat it, rather than making-up a war with non-threatening, non-foe, Russia.
We need to stop throwing our weight around, or at least save doing so for when it matters – as it does in destroying islamism, which we refuse.
Manifest Destiny is over; it is not up to us to decide how far our sphere of influence expands unless we want to be dictator to the world. It is of no purpose to tell Russians how to live, nor play Darwin with nation states – states survive, or not, on their own choices. Spending our lives and our treasure in pretense that we know best, regardless of cost, is childish. If terrorist, or terrorist-harboring states raise, educate, feed, house, organize, train and equip men killing our citizens, then those choices need to be met with utter destruction, and the idiocy of “non-state-actors” must be seen for the nonsense it is.
The result of utterly defeating a nation can be seen in the peoples of Germany and Japan who are freer, wealthier and better-educated than they have ever been. That tens of millions who did not stop their leaders and ideology were killed to cause this to be so was the price of that. Why are we unwilling to pay that price now? Why are we unwilling to see muslims free, educated and wealthy? Well – that isn’t going to happen unless we unleash real war on their centers of government, ideology and economy as we did on Berlin, Cologne, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. War is about killing nations and ideologies, not about killing warriors – that’s only combat.
We should, instead, make common cause with Russia against radical islam and annihilate that threat to both of us. The retrograde force of radical islam must be removed.
Is throwing around our weight in Ukraine and starting a war with a Russia who can and would help remove it really what we want to do?