International Commentary (20)

Stirring up Hornet’s Nests

It is difficult to observe US foreign policy, whether it be in relation to northern Asia, the Black Sea or the Baltic, and not come to the conclusion that the US has a deliberate policy to stir up trouble.

Why?

Because the ways of peace seem unknown to the United States. The only option seems to be sabre-rattling, and more of it. And the trouble with sabre-rattling, is that sooner or later it may provoke an angry or frustrated response.

Perhaps that’s the intention. Teddy Roosevelt over a century ago, spoke of the US foreign policy of being to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Well, it seems that the US has forgotten about the “speak softly” part, and replaced it with belligerence instead.

The North Koreans want to have nuclear weapons, and have missiles that can fire across the Pacific, and possibly hit the US mainland.

Is that a good thing?

Not especially, but there are a lot of nations of the world that have nuclear weapons, and the U.S. was the first, and they used them on essentially civilian targets, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. When it comes to the use of nuclear weapons, the US has a dismal record, but that doesn’t mean that the truth should get in the way of a good story.

And what makes the desire for nuclear weapons especially evil, especially when other nations have them? Nothing. Besides, they’ve become an international status symbol. The Big Boys have them.

Various media outlets in the U.S. have loudly proclaimed for months, that the Russians tried to influence the U.S. elections of 2016, but no evidence has yet been produced. And let’s face it: the U.S. regularly tries to influence elections around the world with various means. It’s done this with impunity for over a half century. If the Russians tried to do it, what would be new about that?

The U.S. has military bases all over the world, including near the borders of potential enemies. It has around seven aircraft carrier fleets, which can turn up almost anywhere to threaten a nation. But what if the Chinese conducted a set of naval and aircraft carrier exercises, fifty kilometres off San Francisco? That would be just as legitimate.

What’s really happening?

Bullies don’t like threats to their territory. They want to be able to intimidate everyone, get their way, and enjoy it. After an Iranian passenger jet was mistakenly shot down in 1988 by a US cruiser, killing all 290 people on board, President Bush said that

I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.

But wait, there’s more.

Empires historically, have been brought down by two things: war, and debt. It’s been the same since the Roman era.

Will the US be any different? Why should it be? Almost certainly, it will be brought down in the same way as every other Empire.

How do I know that?

Because over the last sixty years, the U.S. has had no more than two years, when they actually balanced their budget. Every other time, they spent more than they took in taxes, and this has escalated since the Reagan years of the 1980’s. Now, they have passed the point of no return, and this will end badly.

Gary North has commented that,

We keep adding debt upon debt to the national government. Interest rates are still low. There are always takers. Yet we know where this will end: default. No one cares.[1]

And remember this: empires never surrender gracefully. They throw their weight around till the end comes, which always does.

There are a lot of influential political leaders in the U.S, who are unafraid of war. John McCain’s only one of many. Military blunders, costs and casualties mean nothing to them. It gives them the chance to go around the country, make speeches and feel really important.

We have to remember too, that there are significant donations made by arms manufacturers in the U.S., to political parties. They appreciate profitable wars. Think of Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. Their business (especially the former) depends on contracts with the Pentagon being regularly renewed. So, what’s wrong with a good, old-fashioned shoot-em-up war, even if 100,000 U.S. soldiers don’t make it back? “Good profits in those years!”

And let’s face it. High casualties have rarely been a problem for U.S. Presidents, from Lincoln onwards. High casualties mean we simply have to try harder to win; forget about the grieving folks back home. They’ll always get over it, especially when the true motivations for a war can be concealed under the cloak of The Righteous Cause; the normal thing for U.S. Presidents.

Fred Reed comments that

Just now, the usual damned fools in Washington and New York contemplate wars against Russia in Syria, China in the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia in the Ukraine, and Iran. All of these offer superb chances for disastrous and unexpected consequences.[2]

U.S. media rarely find war unappealing. Otherwise, how could successive governments get away with waging war in the Middle East, and other places? And these are wars that the U.S. hasn’t won. Think of Afghanistan and Iraq: absolute disaster.

Today, the Australian commentator, David Kilcunnen writes that

US troops are ready for a North Korean strike. With the continental US itself under ­direct threat, there may be no other option.[3]

Conclusion:

Stirring up hornet’s nests around the world has become part and parcel of U.S. foreign policy for a half century. And it’s led that country into massive military commitments, expenditure and debt, along significant casualties and wars they haven’t won, and cannot win.

When will it stop?

When the money finally runs out. Then the carrier fleets will head for home, for the last time.

 

[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “If America Were to Get in Another War,” 6/8/2017.

[2] Fred Reed, “Milk-Bar Clausewitzes, Bean Curd Napoleons: In the Reign of Kaiser Don,” 3/8/2017.

[3] David Kilcunnen, “Sky High Risks Tempt Endgame,” ‘The Australian,’ 5/8/2017.

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