Authored by William Robert Barber
I am 65 years of age; old enough to have fought in the Vietnam War. If I was 85 years old, I could have fought in WWI; if 76, I could have participated in the Korean Conflict. If 99 years of age, WWI and if just a little older, the Spanish-American War. Sadly, the children of those that fought in Vietnam are now killing, dying, maiming, and being maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since its inception, America has engaged in a number of benchmark hostilities; these events coupled set the standard of this nation’s history. Withstanding America’s long and consistent narrative of warlike behavior, it would be wrongheaded to suggest that successive administrations, from different political affiliations that extend as far back as the Spanish-American War, was all war-mongering Philistines, indifferent to utilizing peaceful means to settle conflicting interest.
Instead, I think the world is, has been, and more than likely will always be, a hostile environment. I also believe that peace as commonly defined is a delusion. Factually, peace has not ever existed and does not now exist. To push the denial just a bit further, I do believe that peace, as popularly defined, is unattainable. If one agrees with these hypotheses, then it follows that a foreign policy designed to establish or attain peace is an illusionary goal, unworthy of effort.
Our current policy is immersed in issues of lethal proportion. I deduce that there has never been a more dangerous time for America. Religious zealots of Muslim origin have submitted to a doctrine of holy war against the West and specifically against the Anglo Christian peoples of the world. It is their intent to destroy the Judeo-Christian alliance by either converting or killing them.
This nation has many enemies which would include North Korea, Iran, Syria, and their martial compatriots. These are the very same provocateurs of terrorism that pledge destruction while complimenting such pledges with exemplifying horrific behavior. To negotiate with those that espouses destruction as a means to their end is not only a waste of effort but takes the nation off focus. Just because our state department creates an unsubstantiated assumption that such negotiations are in the interest of peacefulness, does not mean that in real terms such actions will transmute a negative into a positive. Such head-in-the-sand approach to reality is only an acknowledgement of wishful diplomacy which will never substitute artful statecraft.
Our present action and counter-action will not settle our disagreements; at best our efforts only prolong the inevitable. At worst, putting off the inevitable (war) only strengthens the counter parties’ military might and enforces the counter parties’ belief that as part of their diplomatic efforts, America will not utilize military might to achieve a goal. Clearly, the Obama administration will not go to war to preserve or protect America’s interest. As a consequence, any and all efforts are not sufficient of a deterrent to counter North Korea, Iran, or Syria’s intent on executing war-like measures detrimental to this nation’s interest.
The Obama administration did not set a precedent; even Bush would not commit American might as it should have been deployed. America somehow has taken on the presumption that the exercise of power is inherently a limited act. How absolutely absurd; but is that not our policy?
At a minimum, at least since the ending portion of WWII, our administrations, in unison with congress, have tasked our armed forces with missions that they deem necessary while hampering our forces’ ability to wage war.
For example, Eisenhower’s decision to allow the Russians to take Berlin; Roosevelt and Truman’s ineptness at understanding Russian intentions while dealing directly with a brutal dictator — the very same person that signed a treaty with Hitler and participated in the invasion of Poland; Stalin was a rat and still, these two presidents looked away from the obvious. Imagine, America had the strongest navy and army in the world, logistically in place, with the atomic bomb — and within five years after the end of WWII, freedom-loving peoples still lost China to Mao and Eastern Europe to Stalin.
We committed our forces to Korea to stop and impede an invasion from the north. Right there, at that very moment, this nation’s leaders should have known we were in trouble. Stop and impede is not wiping out the root of North Korean aggressiveness. It is instead the equivalent of pushing the bully back rather than smashing him in the nose, gouging out his eyes, and breaking both his arms. Today, because of our faint-hearted unwillingness to destroy North Korean command, control, and political hierarchy, North Korea is a rouge totalitarian nation armed with nuclear weapons.
Eisenhower enabled the CIA to recruit, train, and arm Cuban dissidents; he promised air support for their invasion. Kennedy permitted the invasion to go forward but reneged on air support… the invasion failed. This demonstration of weakness and timidity, this blatant disregard for those lives within the invasion force, bolstered Castro’s image and prestige. Domestically and throughout the world, Castro confirmed that America can be managed and manipulated; it also verified that American resolve is limited. Khrushchev and his politburo were watching.
President Kennedy is credited with ending the Cuban missile threat — which only existed because we did not invade Cuba!
Laos and Vietnam are other examples of America’s inability to commit to a foreign policy task; at the time, we actually believed that a show of force was enough. How very silly of us. Such harebrained behavior all stems from a canon of foolish naïveté; this American doctrine of naïveté established precedence that is very hard to overcome. After all, our presidents want to be re-elected or revered; elected representatives want the wind at their back; the entire objective is retention of power, therefore the concern is safeguarding political interest. Hence, a guiding rule of the elected applied: Controversy in any form should be avoided.
From a strategic, even tactical prospective, in order to disable the North Vietnamese from invading the South Vietnamese, the United States should have invaded the North. That should have been the minimum requirement for engagement; if congress disapproved of such an invasion then it would be clear that America could not support the South Vietnamese people. But once again the policy half-measure won the argument and 58,000 or so Americans, not to mention many thousands more of Vietnamese, lost their lives because of the bewildering incompetence of the administration(s) and congress(es).
Soon, Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver and America is immersed in the utility of the same head-in-the-sand foreign policy; a policy of half-measure and denial. This administration (not unlike the many that preceded Teddy Roosevelt) will not accept the reality of world affairs and as a consequence, there are two distinctive operating dimensions. One is the department-agencies of state and the other real-time reality. Neither seems impaired by the existence of the other.
However, unlike the foreign policy challenges of yesterday, this time the threat has the biological, radiological, chemical, and nuclear weapons to choose from. This particular threat has demonstrated its resolve by killing thousands of innocents (regardless of their sameness of religion); what they want, no sane person or state can give them. There is nothing to negotiate over, no other options are open to the West, except deterrence by any and all means.
But instead of addressing the issue unilaterally and head-on, the Obama administration is contemplating self-invented options where no option exists. Obama will inevitably break with half-measure and just execute a full measure of denial.
Iran will soon have a nuclear weapon; neither Israel nor the United States will act to eliminate this threat to Middle East stability. There will be no embargo or blockade, the UN will accept an Iranian declaration that these weapons are for defensive measures only; Obama and Clinton will submit to the UN acceptance.
Iranian prestige will rise, particularly amongst the hard-line fringe of Islamic militarism. Syria notes the weakness and re-establishes final control of Lebanon. The political-terrorist tactics of Hezbollah and Hamas will be validated; by any and all means the radical elements of Islam will dominate over the moderate. The stage will be set for WWIII…