So… I read today that Obama ended the “American Century,” and Trump is bringing it back…
What to say, what to say. …
The “American Century” concept arose because we kicked ass in two wars, saved Europe with the Marshall Plan, protected it with NATO, and rose to enormous economic power.
Let’s unpack that:
Had by 1917 already arrived at a stalemate between continental Great Powers. Had it been left alone, a rather normal conditional peace likely would have broken out, the Germans and the French, enemies since the Goths sacked Gaul and Rome, would have traded a few towns, perhaps Belgium would have disappeared (countries do, it’s called “history”) and no one would have much cared a decade later.
Instead, Wilson(D), having campaigned against getting involved, did. Why? The Brits intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram in which the German Foreign Minister asked Mexico to open a second front against the US, decrypted it and gave it to Wilson. Big mistake… Yuge. Faced with the miniscule probability of war against puny, illiterate, pre-Industrial, next-door Mexico, Wilson drafted a zillion men and sent them to France. Next, Wilson dreamt-up his “Fourteen Points” and the Germans, tired of fighting, said, ‘sounds good.’ Never having been defeated on the battlefield or occupied in their homeland, they arrived in Paris to learn that they’d lost the war, France was going to chop them up & bill them, and nobody else much cared.
The Russians, having quit partway through, and with their enemies the Germans stiffed by Wilson and Britain, headed home to overthrow their royals and create the USSR, the Purges and the Gulags, communism and to lay the foundation for Red China and the Cold War.
An angry Germany, a broke Germany, a Weimar hyperinflation Germany, as soon as another generation of cannon fodder could be raised – went back to war with the French, whom they’ve hated forever. Oh – and the Ottoman Empire, the “Sick Man of Europe,” having picked the designated loser side of the war, was carved up by the British and French rather than allowed to die in its sleep, and the results are called “al Qaeda” and “ISIS”.
Russia consolidated its power over its subjects, murdered/starved to-death about 30M in the Middle Class, shot all their military officers & experienced governing officials, and generally and traditionally withdrew into its paranoid shell, installing true believers as military officers (which is part of why they got 20M killed in WW2) and apparatchiks as ruling despots (which is why they’ve never gained the economic prowess they should have based on their natural resources).
The Italians, also beset by Depression, switched sides, joined the Axis and followed an idiot into alliance with the paper hanger.
The Japanese, who had kicked Russia’s ass in the first decade of the century, watched them fall apart, saw E Asia seem to open up without an opposing Great Power, and pursued the Spanish model of exploration and trade: Kill all the locals and require all trade with the mother country. It worked so well for the Spanish….
America went home, danced & drank the night away, fell drunk into the Depression, in their stupor followed Keynes (with whom the British, even, were not so dumb as to dance) back onto the dance floor, then looked around and wondered what had become of their prosperity when the lights went out. FDR, having donned a Navy uniform in WW1 (but not leaving DC), and raiding his Father-In-Law’s smuggled opium fortune, decided the best way out of the Depression was… go back to war.
Was nothing but a continuation of WW1 caused by the non-defeat and non-occupation of Germany, which really pissed them off. If they hadn’t been defeated (and they hadn’t), why were they sending all their cash to France? So the paper hanger yammered and bloviated, they put down their wheelbarrows of cash on the way to the store to buy a single loaf of bread – and went back to war. What did they have to lose?
The Germans, rather than leaving this new war to the most modern military and most experienced and best military General Staff in history, followed the paper hanger (as today they follow Mutti Merkel) to their doom. Oops. But they killed 20M Russians and 20M europeans along the way, creating the conditions for the inevitable occupation of most of a destroyed europe by the angry Soviets. Bummer.
The Italians had no idea what they were doing and gave up doing it partway through. Half the French went over to the other side, the other half sat around and drank wine, and three of them blew up some planes, trains and automobiles.
The Japanese, perfectly capable and willing to enslave the entire Pacific rim, China and India, goofed and attacked a somnolent America who had, by intervening in WW1, created the conflagration on the other side of the globe – which the Japanese seemed to think would keep them fully-occupied. Not.
So we kicked Japan’s ass, distracted the Germans so the Soviets could kick THEIR ass, and ended that war. That we had precipitated.
Oh – and in kicking Japan’s ass we enriched a corrupt warlord in China, which pissed off the locals so they chased him to an island and became bosom buds with Stalin. For a while.
Contra history and treaties (gee – the guy who just killed 30M of his own lied to us about E Europe? Shocker!) Stalin never went home from his wartime conquests – and tried to enlarge them. The US used the Berlin Airlift to keep Berlin free, and the Marshall Plan to help europe rebuild from their most recent self-inflicted wounds.
Since the Bear was on the prowl and an economically destroyed europe was an inviting meal, America put together the Marshall Plan to rebuild in europe the european-caused catastrophe (remember Geo Wash: Stay out of europe’s wars? Yeah… I guess Wilson(D) missed school that day…). And then we built NATO so europe wouldn’t have to man-up and defend itself (shocker: they not only didn’t, they stopped having kids so they even could), and infantilized europe to the point of strategic irrelevancy ripe for today’s invasion by the Stone Age “refugees” now the only ones having purposeful sex with european women.
Not content with much of europe and most of non-Chinese Asia (India was a Soviet ally much of the postwar period), when Mao asked Stalin if he’d mind if North Korea ate South Korea, Stalin, interested to see whether America would respond to communist aggression with the mature choice of nuking DPRK, or send their irreplaceable men & women in infantry battles (but not wanting to sacrifice any of his own in those battles), told Mao to go for it. America obliged, and Stalin knew he was free to roam the world and advance in europe however he wanted. (In 1956 the Hungarians thanked him. In 1968 the Czechs thanked him. Spreading totalitarianism was working out just fine, thank you very much!) Truman(D), evidently not wanting to have to use nukes again, instead killed 2M Koreans and 40K Americans for a tie, precipitating the American involvement in Vietnam a decade later, in which two more Democrat prezes, JFK, LBJ, killed 2M Vietnamese and 60K Americans for a loss rather than nuke Hanoi for 100K dead and the win.
America grew to enormous economic strength post-war. Why? Easy: we’d bombed the manufacturing centers of europe and Japan to rubble – and bounced the rubble. From whom else could anyone buy… anything? And yeah – they needed bombing. That bombing made of our enemies several countries freer, wealthier, better-educated and more prosperous than at any time in their history, and economic, political and military allies for the next 70 years… and counting. This is exactly what Rome had done with their enemies 2,000 years earlier, but our education system seems to have failed presidents of both parties since the end of the Victorian Age. (Too bad Truman, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, GHW Bush, GW Bush didn’t learn the value of total defeat and unconditional surrender. Nuking a few hundred thousand and saving millions of people and trillions of dollars is the moral choice; NOT nuking at that cost is the most immoral choice any country has ever made.)
In the years intervening Vietnam and the 21st Century, the Soviets and their Cuban allies raided various nations around the world, convincing them that being in deep poverty under socialism was way better than joining the First World through capitalism, various American prezes sent small numbers of warriors to dissuade them in Central America, the Caribbean and Africa, usually unsuccessfully, the Soviets finally collapsed, the Chinese gave up any pretense of communism and just admitted they were totalitarian, and the NY Times expressed disappointment America, too, wasn’t totalitarian. Oh, and Carter(D), interfering in the business of other nations as the GOP sometimes does (Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq….) and Democrats always have (see Wilson, D, WW1-WW2-Korea-Vietnam-100s of MM dead), enabled the overthrow of the Shah, the return of Khomeini (“man of God”) and the rise of Stone Age sharia, the imprisonment of hundreds of millions of human beings to it, and the now-constant killings by islam.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the prez of Turkey, a muslim named Erdogan, knows more about islam than American academics & prezes and, since he says ‘there is no such thing as radical islam, there is only islam,’ accept that as Gospel, so to speak. And who is the godfather of all modern islamist terrorism? Same guy who helped a bunch of radical islamists overthrow the Shah: Carter(D).
Which, essentially, with the first bombing of the World Trade Center, and the third? Fourth? battle of Mosul, Carter’s (D) “men of God”, ended a 20th Century in which, sure, America kicked ass in two out of four wars, tied one & lost one, infantilized europe, set the table in Kuwait for the muslim invasion of europe (thanks, GHW Bush!), served europe as a meal to islam after not winning Afghanistan and invading Iraq (thanks! GW Bush!) and, by entering WW1, created the conditions for:
- NAZI Germany
- Red China
- WW2 ETO
- al Qaeda
.. and a few hundred million dead, and the rise of a vigorous ideology antithetical to everything the West has stood for since Rome.
But, hey, it was OUR Century…
Oh yeah – and we landed on the moon, turned our backs on the future, and now have to rent a ride to low earth orbit from the Russians….
Can and will Trump turn things around? Sure seems like it.
But let’s – please – not hope for a new bloodiest century in the history of the known universe. Let’s try following Washington’s suggestion and stay out of other people’s wars. Trump seems to prefer this. Let’s not pretend it’s not a good idea…