Authored by William Robert Barber
The Spanish American and the subsequent Philippine American War launched America onto the global stage of martial intervention. For preemptive reasons or a defensive reply to aggression, for causes misplaced or misinterpreted, the United States have expended its blood and treasure virtually all over the world. Subsequent to the experience of over hill and dale expeditionary forays, two world wars, and numerous police actions the aggregation of which equates into thousands of casualties, trillions of dollars, and oceans of tears; the nation is now obliged as the world’s super power.
Interestingly, it was the winning of WWII that initiated the coming out of America as a superpower. For America, super-power status was not a choice but a result. In the current concerns of nation state rivalry, it is America’s multi-venue worldwide disbursement of commercial, as well as, deployed, technically superior, combat experienced martial forces that offer the warranted-alternative to disagreeable possibilities. As such, America is a force of and for consideration in regards to any Russian or Chinese transnational exploitive ambitions.
Nevertheless, America is stymied. As if weighted down by an anvil and tossed into the sea, the nation fights to tread water. Its debt threatens its quality of international respect. Its armed forces engage in wars that effectually fiscally divest out of America so to invest in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its population divided by two diametrically different political ideologies and its government spending excessively more than it receives.
As if entrapped within the nexus of it’s on making America has arrived at its self-imposed reality; if America wants to protect its homeland the traditional policy is that it must provide protection for all of its allies. Inclusively, with rare exception, America must not only shoulder-alone the expense of such protection but, in addition, the nation finds it necessary in the case of Pakistan for example to payout billions of dollars to other nation states to bolster their armaments. It is as if America has positioned itself to extort from its taxpayers the ransom of an excessively expensive defense budget.
After years of warfare America is now poised to withdraw from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan; all the same there will be no melting of swords into plowshares. The world is acknowledged, even by the marginally naïve, as dangerous and tenuous. The nation’s duty roster calls for a stratagem that is focused not only on the reality of the moment but one that demands strategies that also provide a surety of national continuum into the foreseeable future.
The God-awful truth is that peace is never secured. History has recorded the negligible effect of pretty words coupled with diplomatic niceties. Evidence documents that polite persuasion and social niceties will not stand alone to secure the future. Diplomacy is best advantaged by not having to trust in one’s best of intentions.
The threat in a nutshell is the pretensions of the strong, the unpredictable propensity of the weak, the often-foolish acts of the audaciously bold, the stupid, and the behaviorally dysfunctional is the combination that creates catastrophe. This combination, with devastating effect, has congregated many times in the past; it’s amassing is as inevitable as death being the result of life. The prevailing idea of war is that it has an end. It does not. War is as constant as commerce. Intensity may vary; indeed, one may find a time when the major powers were not actively trying to destroy the other, but, that time is usually made up by other then major powers actively engaged in trying to destroy the other.
One may ask, “Well, what is the alternative?” How about not to believe in fairytales? Is it not in the interest of this nation to understand its reality? Living as if in a Pepsi Cola commercial will not deter aggression nor facilitate the continuance of overwhelming force. Have we Americans not wasted enough blood and treasure?
We have the inventory within our arsenal but we lack the will to act. We have the means to effectively engage the marketplace but we deny the movers and shakers the necessary risk-reward opportunity. We clearly understand that the legislative process is more than simply cumbersome it is a Byzantine structure coupled with purposeful ambiguity administered by professional politicians, unions, and their faithful bureaucrats.
If blood, and treasure is the price of superpower status then let’s at least invoice all the beneficiaries.