On a growing number of occasions the past three decades I have come to the conclusion America increasingly shoots itself in the foot as many of you have also discovered. It puzzles me. Is it due to hubris, arrogance, exceptionalism, incompetence, greed, not knowing basic history, or some sinister hidden conspiratorial motive? We over reach and over extend our influence blindly without proper analysis
As an example, I have researched more that a few volumes and articles that report our ex-President George W. Bush did not realize nor understand the implication Iraq had three large quarreling geopolitical factions, ethnic and religious, existing within the country until a few weeks prior the March 2003 invasion. Bush believed Iraqis were all Iraqis and lumped them together. How wrong-headed he and his underlings were. Today there is a danger of Iraq tearing itself into a Shiite south, a Sunnis central, and a Kurdish government in the north, that at this writing has largely has been formulated. The ignorance of historical facts on the ground by our leaders have caused extensive pain and devastation to Iraq and harm to the United States and should not be taken lightly by the American citizenry. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was a grave mistake. Today al Qaeda-Sunnie forces have taken over two major cities in the north and taken hundreds of hostages while the Iraq National Army flees. (Let me remind the reader, there were no al Qaeda in Iraq before Bush invaded it)
Our leaders are supposedly the most intelligent and universally educated individuals in America, privy to facts, data, and knowledge available at their fingertips; yet, suddenly, when confronted by political demographic realities they become ignoramuses not seeing beyond their nose or their next campaign contribution. Sadly to say I, an average American citizen, realized well before Iraq II that it would be a debacle and actively demonstrated against the invasion. The story of rush-to-judgement-Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction seemed to me to be flimsy at best, and beside Saddam never attacked us, it was the other bad guy, Saddam’s sworn enemy that was the terrorist culprit.
Currently, the U. S. is about to make another miscalculated mistake when it comes to dealing with Russia. This one fortunately is correctable and a matter of calm diplomacy, patience, and negotiation. It comes down to one simple fact, one question, what is the American sponsored North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) positioned near mid-continental Asia and at the doorstep of Russia doing there? We were never there before and do not belong there now. This is Russia’s spere of influence, similar to ours in North and South America. Remember the Monroe Doctrine?
As a member of the 28 nation NATO alliance America is directly committed to assist our European treaty partners in any conflict, but what are our partners ready to do, what have they done, and what will they do? I venture to say… Nothing, with the gratuitous exception of a few weak sanctions. Should some event of critical magnitude occur in the Ukraine or near any NATO member country will they contribute to a solution other than lip service and token assistance given only in their own best interest, not ours, while they our NATO partners hold our coat and the U. S. does the diplomatic and military dirty work depleting American assets and treasure that could be put to better use domestically. Europe has always craved our help, giving up little in return.
The U. S. won two major continental wars for their benefit, 1918, 1945, provided the generous Marshall Plan when Europeans were in desperate need in 1948, and garrisoned troops, aircraft and sophisticated weaponry to protect Europe against the Communist threat. That was then, this is now, the era of the Cold War is over. Our recent decades of assistance should have been enough, but for European governments it is not as they require further support and continued committment. I believe we have baby-sat Europe long enough. Europe as a whole, in particular Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Poland should be able to take care of their own backyard. These countries have large stable economies.
Despite an arsenal of nuclear weapons the Russian Federation is a paper tiger. They have serious economic problems, a debilitated ageing population, and a severely curtailed military. For them it is no a simple task to guard the borders of the largest nation in the world and to govern its varied nationalities that have caused internal discontent and strife. Over 20% of Russia’s population is not Russian. Moreover, Russia will never become a world supper power again. Putin’s Russia, in spite of his bluster, needs peace to recover after losing its empire. Neighbor China desires peace in order to build its economy to compete for world economic power against the United States at a later date. In the meantime there can be a “Pax Americana” if America wants it, but we must avoid direct confrontations with these two nations.
My point is this, it is time to assess our European committment to NATO, established decades ago to counter Soviet military power during the Cold War. The Soviet Empire disappeared twenty-three years ago. And further, it is beyond my reasoning that seven decades after WWII we are still responsible for the defense of Europe. No other nation in the world maintains forces all over the globe as we do, or has so many treaty committment to fight for other nations. The “all for one, one for all” mindset of the NATO treaty doctrine can lead to small nations i.e. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, others into conflicts against a nuclear armed Russia, and by U. S. committment to NATO we are mandated to go to war with the Russian Bear. It’s time for the U. S. to renegotiate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Charter because it does not strengthen the U.S, it merely ties our hands. We should allow article V of the NATO Charter to expire, “the attack on one is an attack on all principal counties.” In the remote chance of a war in Europe the United States should decide solely by itself through a constitutional process whether to become involved or not. It just makes sense.
All the Best.