Authored by William Robert Barber
From about the turn of the 1900’s we Americans have taken upon ourselves to expend our blood and treasury in Cuba, Nicaragua, the Philippines, China, the Mexican border skirmishes, France, and Belgium. Now, fast-forward another twenty years and into the present to include Germany, Italy, North Africa, Korea, the Pacific islands, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other distant lands that five minutes of research could verify. Thousands upon thousands of Americans have died directly from battle wounds and thousands more from disease, shock, sorrow, and starvation as a consequence of their engagement.
I do believe that the two World Wars not only killed, murdered, and maimed millions of humans. But in fact, the devastation inflicted upon humankind by their fellow humans was/is to a large part caused by the naive, imprudent foreign policy, exercised by this nation’s leadership. The list of such naïve and imprudent policies initiated by former American presidents consists of certainly more than the two noted below.
However, Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt are perfect leadership models of this nation’s credulously unwise policies.
Wilson was an international idealist. A liberal progressive leader, serving as president before and during World War One. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a liberal progressive who grew to favor an oligarchic-socialist form of governing, he too was also president prior to and during the last World War.
Both leaders utilized the reason of present danger and economic emergency to dramatically enlarge the qualitative size of government power. Interestingly, in proportion to the enhancement of government in general, specifically, so grew the power of the executive branch. Irrespective of the growth of their domestic and international power, both of these leaders, Wilson as one of the victors of The Great War allowed the United States to be bullied and ostracized by his wartime allies. The other, with the atom bomb exclusively within his arsenal, the largest American Army ever station and at the ready in Europe, withstanding, Roosevelt does not protect the Europeans from Stalin. As if stymied, unable to comprehend the obvious and connect the dots. Ignoring the advice of Churchill, to the detriment of a democratic Europe, Roosevelt’s naive policies worked in favor of Soviet dominance; when challenged by a totalitarian regime, this American president faltered and failed to secure the peace. Roosevelt’s inaction serviced the Soviet Union as if the west was a Stalinist ally. In the grand game between a totalitarian dictatorship and a democratically elected republic, the good guys suffered an ignominious defeat. Roosevelt, the leader of the free world, ceded his Queen for fear of the opposition’s many pawns.
The Traité de Paix de Versailles and the Potsdamer Konferenz set the stage for future wars by creating (or allowing to be created) issues, concerns, and situations that preempted the next violent engagement. Versailles created draconian reparations upon Germany’s citizens; Potsdam ceded Eastern Europe to Stalin’s Russia. And if that was not enough, idiocy western leadership agreed on a divided Korea.
In 1912 Woodrow Wilson was elected president. In 1913, progressive income tax was legislated with the Revenue Act. This one law in short order would empower the federal government beyond the scope of the founder’s intent; this law debilitated state’s rights from its origin; this one law moved America from a republic to a government of and by federal mandate. This law was preceded and post-ceded by the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission, Clayton Antitrust Act, and the Federal Farm Loan Act. This progressive president, with the enabling of a Democratic congress, was the original “change you can believe in”… Woodrow Wilson was the presidential precursor to Barrack Obama.
He narrowly won the reelection in 1916 with the promise of keeping America out of “that fracas” in Europe. Of course that lasted until Germany sank the ‘Lusitania’, and by 1917 American soldiers and marines were in France. Wilson proceeded to form the War Industries Board, promoted labor unions, took over railroads, and enacted the Lever Act. This Lever fellow was an elected representative, of course a Democrat, who, at the prodding of President Wilson, decided it would be a very good idea to control food and fuel — hence the Lever Act. Sounds familiar? This legislation empowered a “Food Administrator” to oversee the working of this new government agency. The act also banned the use of “distilled spirits” from any produce that was used for food — the agency even tried to set the price of wheat. I trust one can visualize the resemblance between the Wilson administration and Obama’s.
Right after the First World War, President Wilson’s vision to guarantee the prophesy of “war to end all wars,” was to engage the United States in a global community of nations, an entity named The League of Nations. Although congress rejected the membership, President Wilson won a Nobel Peace Prize for his outline of “Fourteen Points”, a formula to entice Germany’s surrender while blueprinting a world order after the war. Wilson, as with Obama, visualized the world as they wished it to be; they both fail(ed) to see the world for what it truly is.
Not unlike President Obama, President Wilson’s experience was either public service or academia; he lacked the understanding of a world wherein persuasion was not a matter of finding a podium to exercise his rhetorical sensibilities. He just could not grasp that persuasion in the world of nation states is a matter of martial power. Either the direct use of such power or the indirect threat of power; this was the world of England, France, and Italy, his allied partners. In the finality, Wilson’s foreign policy concepts died an ignominious death; retributions ruled the Treaty of Versailles and while still looking for the cheese, the spring on the mousetrap was set; the next war would be even more brutal than the last.
Wilson, Roosevelt, and Obama all attended Harvard; none of them ever ran a private enterprise. Interestingly, they all shared the oneness of socialistic economic principles, large governments, and the belief that they could, by the power of their intellect or the coercive power of government, bend spoons in midair. And if they failed at that — surely they could bend any person or institution to their will.
Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1932 and passed away April 1945, in office. When he died away, thousand wept. He had been president longer than anyone. Indeed, so long that after his death congress passed an amendment to the constitution prohibiting a president’s term of office past two terms.
This is the man that took the nation off of the gold standard, favored deficit financing, unprecedented concessions to labor, created Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, and most outstanding, after his reign government could legally regulate the economy. We have all heard of his attempt to stack the Supreme Court and the invalidation of a few of his government’s programs.
Roosevelt is credited by many as saving the American people from the ravages of The Great Depression; of course there are those who feel FDR’s economic policies enabled the depression instead of abating its effect. But all will agree that he was a strong wartime leader. Of course this is also the president that detained Japanese Americans in internment camps for the duration of the war, deprived them of their property, liberty, and citizenry rights. This president was a liberal-progressive with strong socialist-like inclinations; he reminds me of President Obama’s political, economic, and social preferences.
I do believe that because this nation’s leadership decided to judge worldly events through the distortion of a liberal progressive’s naïve predeterminations, the continuum of violent conflict was and is a constant liability. Note that when this nation was confronted by a declaration of emergency, whether it is formed by domestic or foreign influence, government is enlarged and power-enriched to the few. Fear has been the wherewithal of liberal progressives to gain power and extend their ideological agenda.
In every instance of rule by an emergency agenda, personal liberty and individual freedom is being abated.
When will we Americans ever understand that weakness begets aggression? That peace is not a reasonable foreign policy goal? That the preservation of the ‘American Exception’ is in fact an intrinsic necessity, a value of worldwide priority? America cannot continue to win the war and lose the peace. The bona-fide relationship between the world’s nation states is founded on self-interest and without physical reality, omnipotent American power, Russia and China will fill the vacuum. The cost for liberty and freedom is always materialized into blood and gold; the fare is prohibitive. Leadership must reconcile the difference between the worlds as we wish it to be and as it truly is. This is no place for idealistic fantasies…