Thursday, September 22

Victor Davis Hanson on the prospect of a large war

Victor Davis Hanson is a professor of history, and a sound thinker.  He's written a piece on the probability of world war in the near future, and it's...interesting.  I've edited his comments below, but it's certainly well worth it to read his original.

The summer of 1914 in Europe was quiet.  But on July 28 an Austrian duke was assassinated in Sarajevo, triggering World War I and the deaths of tens of millions. 

In the summer of 1939, most observers thought that the West's serial appeasement of Adolf Hitler  had satisfied his demands for more territory.  British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to the UK to tell the Brits he was confident that his concessions to Hitler would ensure "peace in our time."

Of course delusion this proved astonishingly wrong, and would have devastating consequences.  On Sept. 1 Nazi Germany invaded Poland, starting a war that killed some 60 million people.

Wars often seem to come out of nowhere, as seemingly small events ignite long-simmering disputes between nations.  The orders to fire are often given by politicians who assume--often reasonably--that the nation they're attacking wants peace at any cost, and so will not retaliate.

This is "reasonable" because the attacking nation has seen--again and again--the leaders of competent nations bowing and scraping, fleeing from confronting evil or aggression rather than risk unpopularity with their supporters.  The result is *always* fatal.

The relative calm of 2016 has masked a lot of festering tensions that are now coming to a head -- largely due to disengagement by the United States.  Because your emperor has consistently bowed and surrendered, the leaders of other nations assume the U.S. will no longer defend either itself or its interests around the world.  And this may well be true.

Russia is massing troops on its border with Ukraine, in part because Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Europe in utter disarray and assumes Obama's main goal is still apologizing to foreigners for the past evils of the United States. Putin is wagering that no one in the entire West can or would stop his reabsorption of Ukraine -- or the Baltic states next.

Who in hip Amsterdam cares what happens to faraway Kiev?

Iran was able to squeeze over $100 BILLION from American taxpayers thanks to the idiocy of Obama and John Kerry, and their treaty-they-refuse-to-call-a-treaty.  The emperor and Kerry foolishly believed giving a huge pot of gold to Iran would buy friendship from the mullahs, but an Iranian missile narrowly missed a U.S. aircraft carrier not long ago. Iranians hijacked an American boat and buzzed our warships in the Persian Gulf. There are frequent promises from Tehran to destroy either Israel, America or both.

Say, emperor, how's that "peace dividend" from your huge concessions to Iran working out?

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has been launching missiles over Japan and testing nuclear weapons.  Because he's had absolute power for so long (third generation dictator) he likely thinks threatening the West will win him even larger concessions and economic gifts--because when Bill Clinton was president he decreed that the U.S. would give the North half a million tons of crucial fuel oil (needed for heating government buildings) and a million tons of food if they'd just stop trying to build a nuclear weapon.

How'd that work out, Democrats?  And yet the deal with Iran will surely work SO much better, eh?

Anyone who believes that is an idiot.


Radical Islamists likewise seem emboldened to try more attacks, convinced that the targets of their attacks won't respond.  And so far they've been right, so who can blame them for such a conclusion?  The past weekend brought pipe bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey as well as a muslim immigrant stabbing nine unarmed Americans in a Minnesota mall. 

Europe has been overrun by huge numbers of military-age male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. Political correctness has paralyzed Western leaders from even articulating the threat, much less replying to it.  Instead your emperor's goal is to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, ensure that no administration official utters the words "Islamic terror," and warn Americans against "Islamophobia."

Aggressors are also encouraged by huge reductions in our defense budget.

Human nature almost certainly hasn't changed in the last 4000 years.  And one constant is that thuggish dictators almost always view appeasement as timidity to be exploited. 
 
The bottom line is that the U.S. is no longer considered a deterrent to evil acts.  And it's a tough fact that once a reputation for military toughness is lost, it's almost impossible to get it back without war.
 
The emperor--trying to salvage some positive legacy after 8 years of unmitigated disaster--has been assuring Americans that the world has never been more peaceful.  Others said the same thing in the last calm summer weeks of 1914 and 1939.

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