Can We Defend The Entire World? Should We?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Robert Gates, Neo-Isolationist?
    by Patrick J. Buchanan


    "(A)ny future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as Gen. MacArthur so delicately put it," Robert Gates has just told the cadets at West Point.

    America would be nuts, Gates is saying, to fight a new land war like the two he inherited.

    It follows that the "neo-isolationists" who opposed invading Iraq and a "long war" in Afghanistan were right, in Gates' eyes. Quite an admission from a defense secretary who presided over the surge in Iraq and the surge in Afghanistan.

    Yet, do not the balance sheets of both wars bear Gates out?

    Nearly 10 years after 9/11, at a cost of $100 billion a year, we are still bleeding in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, however, is long gone, but embedded today in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa.

    Eight years after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, the butcher's bill is in: 4,400 U.S. dead, 37,000 wounded, 100,000 Iraqi dead, half a million widows and orphans, half of Iraq's Christian population in exile, the other half terrorized and a Shia Iraq drifting toward Tehran.

    For what? Al-Qaida was not in Iraq in 2003, but it is there now.

    Pushed by neoconservatives to institute a no-fly zone over Libya, Gates retorted: "Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya." To sustain it would require at least two aircraft carriers. Why is Libya's civil war our problem?

    Gates is now singing in tune with his country.

    Yet his position implies a new foreign policy.

    For if we are not going to fight another land war in Asia, what are we doing with 28,000 troops in Korea, many up on the DMZ, as Pyongyang rants about hurling a "sea of fire" against the South?

    Why not withdraw the U.S. troops, let South Koreans take their place and sell Seoul the weapons to defend itself, while restricting our role, should the North attack, to air and naval support?

    Why should U.S. troops fight a second Korean War, 60 years after the first and 20 years after the end of the Cold War? Was not the first Korean War the war that soured MacArthur on any future land war in Asia?

    What vital interest of ours is at risk on that Asian peninsula?

    The Nixon Doctrine of 1969 declared that, post-Vietnam, should any U.S. Asian ally be attacked, "we shall furnish military and economic assistance ... in accordance with our treaty commitments. But we shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense."

    Is this doctrine not relevant to today and consistent with what Gates is saying? If we are not going to fight any new land war in Asia, bring the Marines home from Okinawa, where they have been based for 65 years. Let Japan take responsibility for the island's defense.

    Yet, even as Gates was speaking, Pentagon officials were talking of using Marines to evict Chinese troops, should they occupy disputed islands in the South and East China seas.

    Among the claimants to the islands in the South China Sea are Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei. The co-claimant to the Senkakus in the East China Sea is Japan.

    Why should holding or recapturing these islands, none of which is ours and almost all of which are uninhabited, be the Marine Corps' job?

    If we are not going to fight another land war in Asia, when the troops come home from Afghanistan and Iraq, let us close the U.S. bases in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. As the Russia-Georgia clash showed, America is not going to fight in the Caucasus, either.

    As for Europe, the Red Army went home decades ago. Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics are free. As President Eisenhower urged JFK 50 year ago, we should bring U.S. troops home and let Europe man up to its own defense.

    No one threatens Europe today, and we could sell them all the missiles, tanks, ships, guns and planes they need to defend themselves.

    Robert Kagan writes in The Weekly Standard that before we cut defense we must decide what commitments we are going to give up.

    He is correct. Instead of cutting the sinew, bone and muscle of defense, let us first terminate treaty commitments to go to war for nations that have nothing to do with U.S. vital national interests.

    U.S. policy should be to tell Europe, Asia, Africa and the Mideast: Your defense is first and foremost your responsibility. You police your own neighborhood. And if there is something you can't handle, give us a call. We may be able to help. Then again, we may not.

    Robert Gates may just have started a long-overdue debate.
  2. 377OHMS



    Why are we still in Iraq? Why are we still in Afghanistan? Why are we operating predators over Pakistan? Why are we abducting people? Why are prisoners still being tortured?

    I'll tell you why. Barrack Obama's worldview extends at best to the southside of chicago. Anyone outside of that sphere isn't entitled to Social Justice.

    In Afghanistan Obama props up Karzai who is enormously corrupt while at the same time he throws Mubarek under the bus.

    In Iran Obama ignores the popular uprising but condemns Ghadaffy who employes the same tactics against protestors as does the Iranian regime.

    In Lebanon Obama ignores the takeover of the democratic government by Iranian and Syrian Hezbollah proxies but condemns Israel for building housing for its people in areas of clear Israeli possession in effect annexing Jerusalem for the arabs.

    George Bush gave all of these people a budding hope for democracy by creating a democracy in the middle of the region that they can all see plainly.

    Now Barrack Obama is squandering that opportunity via his complete inability to construct or express a coherent consistent policy in the region. Bumbling uncertainty combined with innate timidity is creating a disaster.

    Hey Barrack! Do this:

    1) Immediate orderly withdrawal from Iraq

    2) Immediate orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan

    3) Immediate cessation of Predator Drone attacks in Waziristan

    4) Immediate dispatch of an F-18 4-ship from a med CV to bomb and strafe the best known Ghadaffy location

    5) Immediate dispatch of funds and weaponery to the Iranian opposition

    6) Put down the joint and pick up the phone. Git 'er done.
  3. pspr


    I think we are over due to have the conversation about reducing our footprint in the world. We don't have the resources to continue being the world's cop.

    However, doing this is going to make Earth a more hostile, and waring planet. There isn't anyone to step in with the moral equivalence of the U.S. and there won't be any nation soon to take that place. (And don't say China, for a host of reasons) I don't see aggressive nations maintaining peace without the threat of U.S. intervention from nearby forces looming over them. So, we need to be cautious how we back ourselves out of world affairs.
  4. The issue President Obama and the rest of the West has with the more virile elements of Iranian opposition is that they are either hand in glove with al-Qaeda or unreformed Communists.
  5. jem


    haven't all thinking people been wondering the same thing since the late 80s early 90s?

    the money we could have saved the last 30 years.
  6. TGregg


    Actually, we kinda tried that. Once Reagen creamed the Soviets, everybody was all "Cool, we're the lone super power which means we can hammer some swords into plowshares."

    To be honest, I was one of them. :(

    Shoulda realized that Lone Superpower Status would mean that nobody would be stupid enough to tangle with us conventionally. Well, OK, other than powermad lunatics like saddam. But even Qaddafi (or however his name is spelled this week) wasn't dumb enough to go toe-to-toe with the US military.

    We shoulda hammered some swords into unconventional weapons and training and especially into intelligence gathering/processing.
  7. AAA, you were one of the most vocal and strident neocon supporters during the Bush years...

    Pat hasn't changed, but perhaps you have.

    If you were wrong, and now you get it, fine.

  8. Time then, to cut the unnecessary defense spending, and just focus on methods that actually work with our current threats.

    We have enough nukes to keep any country in check.

    We have proved that spending a trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan didn't keep oil prices low, nor has it made our borders safer, etc.

    Can you now give credit to those who said the war in Iraq and Afghanistan were going to be a net loss of a trade?

    Those who were most against the war were the very left wingers, and the libertarians...

    Bush's fuckup (telling rational people "God told me to invade Iraq") will go down in history as one of the greatest blunders.

    Not to even mention funding the war with tax cuts and making sure only the taxpayers of future generations, the soliders and their family, the innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan actually pay the price for it.

    You do know now that war profiteering claims were true, right?

    ...and no, trickle down doesn't work.

  9. For our efforts to enforce the peace and bring democracy to certain countries, all we've done is postpone the inevitable. We're running out of money so we will have to stop our military efforts around the world at some point. When we do, the world will get back to what it was going to be doing all along.... fight and kill each other as they will.

    We have accomplished NOTHING which will endure and caused ourselves great financial harm in the process.

    Best we can do is stop the financial bleeding, bring home our troops, secure and defend our borders.

    We have enough military might to defend the US against all transgressors, and they know it.

    Besides, the planet already has a few billion people too many to support. If the warring zealots were to cull their own ranks, the world would be healthier for it.

    We must accept that we can't change nor stop them.
  10. "There isn't anyone to step in with the moral equivalence of the U.S."

    False. Plenty of countries would argue you were wrong on that one.

    I think your American hubris is showing...

    Some of the people in those countries are just waiting for Bush/Cheney to visit them so they can be arrested for war crimes...

    #10     Mar 5, 2011