Skip to comments.The decline and fall of American deterrence
Posted on 03/10/2014 11:00:04 AM PDT by armydawg505
A few days ago, America experienced the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. At the end of September, the world observed the 75th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, whereby Britain and France surrendered Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Hitler's Germany. Nazi Germany annexed most of the rest of Czechoslovakia within months, and invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, thus beginning the Second World War.
What do Pearl Harbor, the Munich Pact, and Germany's invasion of Poland have in common? The common thread running through these events is that western democracies' military weakness tempted aggressors to strike.
Add to this the fecklessness of western leaders, who did nothing when Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland, Germany annexed Austria, and Japan invaded China and murdered thousands of civilians, and one sees how toxic the witches' brew was.
If that's true, then why are we doing it again?
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
GWB was the best deterrent we had. The fact that he talked and acted like he’d take on any bully no matter the cost kept the bully’s acting nice. Then we got the subtle, nuanced beta metrosexual. We’re luck we haven’t been nuked.
We'll be really lucky if they put the first one on Washington, DC.
As Major Kong said, “Well, boys, I reckon this is it nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies.”
I once read that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor not to antagonize the US into action but because they thought they could get away with it.
It’s been said the only person afraid of American military power is Barack 0bama.
“Were luck (sic) we havent been nuked.
We’ll be really lucky if they put the first one on Washington, DC.”
Typo. You caught me. Actually, you may not be far off. To undo the Gordian knot that is our government would take a sword to cut through the entire thing. But I’m not confident that what we’d end up with would be any better. Most likely we’d have a dictatorship worse than the one that seems to be so obviously evolving now. I admit to fearing the Carter wouldn’t leave. Bill Clinton actually sent a letter to the Supremes outlining why he should be allowed another term. (They wrote back, ‘Hell no.”) I think if any of them truly will try to hang on, it’s Obama. Once he’s out of office he won’t be able to control his past. When we find out what he has hidden, it may undo everything he (ahem) “accomplished.” Embezzlers never retire. They can’t as they must stay to cover up their theft. He has the same problem.
“I once read that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor not to antagonize the US into action but because they thought they could get away with it.”
I doubt that serious professional military leaders in Japan thought that way. One of their admirals was reported as saying “I fear we have awakened a sleeping tiger,” although I am not certain of the accuracy of this. But there was a clique of politically inclined dreamers of Glorious Nipponese Ascendancy within the military class.
Nah, if they (the enemy) bomb DC, there’s a good chance Obama would be on vacation. I think the whole gang leaves for Asia soon.
Life is a party doncha know.
“Life is a party doncha know.”
The interesting thing is that The Evil Bush stopped playing golf because it was bad optics while we were at war. When he went on vacation, to his own home, the press screamed about it. But Obama can go on a money raising tour while our ambassador dies, he can golf four times a week while American’s struggle, he can spend a hundred million on vacation and the press rolls on their back wiggling until they pee.
When the US cut off oil to Japan, the Japanese figured the only other place to get oil was the Dutch East Indies. So the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor to keep the US fleet from being able to stop their invasion of the Dutch East Indies. Then, once the Japanese got the oil supply, they figured on being able to maintain a defensive perimeter in East/Southeast Asia.
They got the Dutch East Indies, but of course the rest of the plan didn't work out.
The Romans had a saying that’s appropriate at all times, particularly when a country is being governed by a weak, can’t we all get along leftist. The saying was ‘ Si vis pacem, parabellum ‘, which means, ‘ If you would have peace, prepare for war ‘. It works every time. That’s how Ronaldus Maximus defeated the Evil Empire. It’s similar to ‘Peace through Strength’. Modern 9 millimeter pistols that are called parabellums get their name from this ancient Roman saying.
You know, sometimes I really don’t care. I want to live long enough to see the smug smiles wiped off leftist european faces when they have to balance a REAL budget, which would include spending for THEIR OWN DEFENSE.
I believe it was none other than Admiral Yamamoto himself who said that or something similar. And you are correct, the military leaders did NOT want to antagonize the US.
Only problem with this theory is that the Roman Republic was more or less continuously at war throughout the 700 years of its existence, leading one to logically question the credibility of Roman advice on how to live a peaceful life. :)
Didn't save Georgia from being invaded by Russia and losing territory to them.
Maybe Europe and Asia will learn to build up their own deterrence?
More to the point, Yamamoto thought he could cripple the US fleet in the Pacific that the US would wue for peace and the Pacific would essentially belong to the Japanese.
“Didn’t save Georgia from being invaded by Russia and losing territory to them.”
If the bully is beating his wife there isn’t much you can do about it. But when it came to the rest of the neighbors China and Russia were much more restrained.
that’s true but like GWB said, rather to fight on their land than ours.”
The Pax Americana can be found at WalMart. It looks a lot like an EBT card.
You’re correct, they engaged in continuous warfare from their creation in 750 BC, until their inglorious end in 1453, by another group who happened to be better at it, the Turks. The Romans survived some 2,200 years, though, and owed their survival to the application of science to warfare. For most of their existence, life was peaceful, for the Romans. Historians have called this Pax Romanus, or The Roman Peace. Life is a struggle for all of us, and as a great American once said, in war there is no substitute for victory. Life has been peaceful for most Americans, for most of our existence as a nation precisely because of our success in war. We are the end product of the Romans themselves; our government is modeled on their continuous success, and so it should be.
Before and after this period they engaged in nearly constant foreign and civil wars.
Very good, and technically correct. However, war is the normal state of the human condition, and defeat is still not an option for happiness. Rome lasted for 2,200 years, not 700, and the fact remains that being a Roman citizen was better than not being one, from the perspective of being ‘happy’. Almost every generation of Americans has engaged in war, from the beginning, and continues to this day. All nations have. War is the normal human condition, and it is better to win than not, if you want to be happy. Si vis pacem, parrabellum.
Back in the late 70s we on the Helms staff would say that the Soviets would NEVER bomb Washington because they would get too many of their own kind. Today it is even more commie.
Not exactly. The Romans made warfare methodically, as they did everything else. Their legions were professional killing machines, not venues for individual glorification. When a machine ran up against a bunch of glory-hounds, the machine generally won. The main exceptions were when the Romans had an idiot in command. Given the bizarre way they chose military leaders under the Republic, it's amazing this didn't happen more often.
The Romans were ignorant of the scientific method, as indeed were all the ancients.
The Greeks and Romans accomplished amazing things, but they never developed true science, even though they had all the tools and the social environment they needed to do so.
One of the more interesting theories I've read about why this is so runs as follows: Higher education was the prerogative of the rich and powerful in the ancient world. Messing about with bits of string and glass was beneath the dignity of a Greek or Roman aristocrat. That was for slaves and mechanics, who were despised.
Only with the advent of Christianity, in which at least one line of thought recognized and promoted the dignity of manual labor, was there the possibility of highly educated men (initially mostly monks) becoming familiar with the mechanisms necessary to perform true science.
What you say regarding Christianity is absolutely true. The monasteries, abbeys and convents of Europe were islands of learning and repositories of knowledge in a sea of violence. Also, the elevation of the labor of the common man was a very long road, culminating in the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the American Revolution. Even in my lifetime, the civil rights tumult of the mid 1960’s was a demonstration of the power of Christianity, whereby MLK, who laid claim to the title ‘Reverend’, called on the conscience of a Christian nation to exact recognition of equality.
What you say regarding education is also true, and it is surprising how deeply embedded the prejudice against it was, and how long it lasted. Even into the days of Henry the 8th 500 years ago, the lords of England, Scotland and Wales heaped scorn on ‘clarks’, and refused to recognize the value of any literacy at all. In fact, as late as the 1770’s, when John Harrison was solving the deadly problem of longitude, with his precision timepieces, he was scorned by the Board of Admiralty as nothing more than a mechanic. His clocks eventually solved the problem, but not without enormous effort in overcoming the prejudice of the ruling class.
I beg to differ, however, on your assertions regarding the scientific approach taken by the Greeks, and then the Romans, to various problems. For example, in the field of architecture, there are four civilizations considered to be of great stature. The Egyptians, for the pyramids; the Greeks, for their temples and public buildings;, the medieval French, for their cathedrals; and the Americans, for the skyscrapers. The Romans don’t count, for they just imitated the Greeks. However, the fact remains that there was a great deal of innovative mathematics and scientific building techniques involved in what they accomplished.
Additionally, their siege engines and other implements of war required many scientific principles, many of which are still in use today.
Also, the manner in which they deployed their legions was, in fact, a scientific method, but not, I grant you, in the modern sense of sensory extensions such as microscopes, telescopes, bunsen burners and such like, or, as you would have it, ‘true science’. As you quite rightly pointed out, their armies were like machines, and that was my point. If you haven’t already, you might check out John Keegan, a military author, historian, and professor at Sandhurst in the UK. One of his books in particular comes to mind, on the origins of war, titled The History of Warfare. He points out that virtually all cultures endured the same internecine warfare, and that this consumed all of their time, treasure and energy. It was only with the advent of what is called decisive battle that cultures and societies were able to advance beyond the most elementary necessities of life. This was the beginning of Western Civilisation as we know it. The early Greeks refusal to continue in the petty warfare, virtually universal at the time, and their demand for a final battle that would decide everything, whether they won or lost, is, in itself, a scientific decision, one that laid the groundwork for all civilisations that came after, including our own. No society could progress beyond the most elementary existence, much like Native Americans in the pre Columbus years, or in Asia or Africa, until this brave decision could be made, and it was brave, because you could always lose the battle.
I apologize for the incorrect spelling of Pax Romana, it has been nearly 40 years since I have used the term. However, I must reassert my statement, wikipedia entries notwithstanding, that the Roman Peace extended far beyond the technical definition given by historians who have a penchant for exactitude. I was taught by nuns in the 1950’s, who were well steeped in the history of the ancient latins. We were taught that wherever the legions conquered, peace would follow, for the reasons I’ve given earlier. It was a victor’s peace to be sure, yet in the centuries that followed, territories such as Gaul, Germania and Britainia no longer had to fight the small, internecine wars that had plagued them from time immemorial, but they could now engage in peaceful pursuits, such as commerce (mostly), but also the arts, music, etc.
In any case, I could be wrong about this, but I’m repeating what I was taught long ago. Perhaps they were wrong as well. Comparing the peace brought to Europe by the Romans reminds me of more recent history, that of Pax Britainia in the Raj (India). With the departure of British troops and the British Viceroy, the Subcontinent descended into perpetual war, and coninues to this day. Could be wrong, but just saying.
I hope I haven’t taken too much of your time. I haven’t been posting / responding on FR very long. It’s been interesting. :)
The term "science," properly used, does not just mean an accomplishment that is impressive or one that takes a lot of ingenuity or intelligence.
Science is a method, nothing more. It is a way to discover information about our world.
The Greeks and Romans sat around and thought some very deep thoughts indeed. Nobody has really advanced beyond their philosophy, literature and art. Different but not better.
However, even the most "scientific" of the Greek philosophers, Aristotle, was greatly handicapped by his poor methods. He had to figure things out, with no real way of proving them. He had very poor methods of measuring time, distance, weight, etc. Without accurate methods of measurement science is not possible.
I'd be the last person to denigrate the accomplishments of the ancient Greeks, Persians, Indian and Chinese. The closest any of them ever came to developing true science was in Alexandria during the Hellenistic period. And that wasn't really very close.
Science is a worldview as well as a method. It creates a society in which one scientist freely communicates his discoveries so others can build on them.
What are the chances someone discovered the compass earlier than is commonly thought? Pretty good. But he was likely to keep it secret as a personal advantage. And soon it was lost again.
Anther "invention" based on the Christian worldview of the Middle Ages is that "all men are created equal," since they are all equally children of God. As with science, this notion never crossed the mind of any other society.
Greetings. Just one last thing. If you like to read, there’s an excellent author named Daniel J Boorstin. Author, historian, appointed to head the Library of Congress. Excellent book with a strong history on the discovery of science and its methods over the last 2k years, titled The Discoverers. I’m sure you’d enjoy it, circa early ‘80’s.
Thanks for the reference. I’ve read probably three or four of his books.