Skip to comments.2010: Our Year of Decision
Posted on 01/07/2010 4:40:25 AM PST by Kaslin
Sometimes long-festering problems collide -- and explode -- in a single memorable year. We can go as far back as the fifth century B.C. to see this phenomenon -- and we may see it again in 2010.
In 480 B.C., a decade of Aegean tension culminated in the Persian invasion of Greece. Nothing seemed able to stop the onslaught of King Xerxes as he broke through the pass of Thermopylae -- until the Greeks under Themistocles rallied at the sea battle of Salamis and saved the West.
In A.D. 69, the Roman Empire was tottering on its very foundations. Rome had been rocked by decades of corruption, assassinations, coups and military revolts. By the end of 69, Vespasian -- the fourth emperor that year! -- had put an end to over a century of erratic Julio-Claudian rule when he brought sanity back to Roman government.
Fast-forward to the modern era. The rise of fascism erupted into war and conquest in 1939. That year, Franco's Nationalists won the civil war in Spain. The Soviet Union fought Japan in a border war -- during which it signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact with Hitler's Germany. Weeks later, the Nazi invasion of Poland marked the start of the Second World War.
Events in 1939 alone did not cause the outbreak of the global conflict. Rather, it followed from years of bad ideas like serial appeasement of Hitler, the near-disarmament of Western democracies and flirtation with pacifism. This behavior had inadvertently sent a global message: Britain, France and the United States were unwilling and unable to meet the challenge of totalitarianism. And so dictators called their bluff in 1939 and began to move.
Closer to the present, 1979 was another climactic year. Jimmy Carter's prior years of sermonizing about American bad habits had convinced many of the world's bad actors that it was time to press forward their regional agendas without fear of American reaction.
Once theater aggression began, there was little way to stop it. President Carter's whiny "crisis of confidence" speech in which he confessed to a collective American malaise only made things worse.
What a year 1979 proved to be! Daniel Ortega's Sandinistas took control of Nicaragua. The Iranian Revolution triggered an oil panic. A global energy crisis followed. Islamic terrorists took American hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. About seven weeks later, the Soviet Union's Red Army entered Afghanistan. China earlier in the year had invaded Vietnam.
2010 may turn out to be a similar year of destiny. In 2009, the United States gave Iran at least four deadlines to stop its nuclear program. All were ignored. Does an emboldened theocracy believe this now is the year to become nuclear and change the entire strategic makeup of the Middle East?
For much of 2009, the Obama administration boasted that it would shut down the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility, despite having no final idea of where or what to do with all the detainees -- many from terror-infested Yemen.
We renounced prior notions of a "war on terror." We reiterated that the now-quiet Iraq war had been a mistake. We apologized to the Islamic world for purported past American sins, while inflating Muslim achievements.
After months of hesitation, in Janus-fashion we both announced we were sending more troops to Afghanistan and promised to start soon bringing them home. We reached out to Putin's Russia at the expense of our democratic Eastern European allies.
All of this has not been lost on Islamists. In general, al-Qaida interprets our outreach as a sign of moral weakness. Since 9/11, more than one-third of all terrorism-related incidents in the United States occurred in 2009 alone. Maj. Nidal Hasan's murderous rampage at Ford Hood, and al-Qaida's foiled Christmas Day effort to blow up a jet over Detroit are just precursors of what to expect this year.
Meanwhile, the cash-flush Chinese have not been idle. This year they will continue to use their vast budget surpluses to expand their armed forces -- as skyrocketing debts in the years ahead force us to curtail our own.
With America engaged in two wars, and drowning in trillions in debt, our Asian allies are already starting to take their respective measures of Barack Obama and the Communist cadre in Beijing. Expect allies like Japan, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan to begin to make regional accommodations with a rising China -- while distancing themselves from a floundering and confused U.S.
In 2010, our year of decision, events may come to a head and overwhelm the existing American-led global order unless President Obama can galvanize Western allies to meet the mounting danger.
What do you mean, WE, paleface?
We have no allies.
Well, I agree with Hanson. You do have allies. This president, however, doesn’t recognize them.
“unless Obama can galvanize Western allies to meet the mounting danger.”
King obuma is the danger.
Spain, on the other hand, was both willing and able to challenge totalitarianism, crushing the Communists and anarchists who had been Sovietizing the country and murdering Catholics by firing squad for several years.
Franco was such a brilliant tactician that he beat the Soviets and their surrogates, helped by air support from the Nazis. But he stiffed Hitler when Der Fooey asked to use Spain as a base of intelligence operations. And then he helped Jews escape the Nazis.
Does Prof. Hanson really believe that the outcome of the Spanish Civil War was a victory for totalitarianism? It was a victory against it.
Well Victor Davis Hansen forgot to mention that 2010 will be a memorable year in that we could see a POLITICAL TSUMMI in the making with a large number of DEMS and RINOS being VOTED OUT. In other words, VOTE THE BUMS OUT!
But also the time during the period of Franco in Spain was also a dictatorship, if my memory is correct.
Wasn’t there a movie titled “Eleni” that portrayed the Spanish Civil War. If I recall correctly, the commies were actually shown as the bad guys.
We used to talk about it that way in the 1970s. And it's true that whatever Franco wanted, he pretty much got. But by 20th-century standards, Franco's Spain fails the test of "dictatorship" by a bit. State control of media? Yes. Concentration camps? No. Execution of political opponents? No. (They went into exile, and were not hunted down there, unlike modern-day, post-totalitarian Russia.) State control over religion and the Church? No. State ownership of everything? No. Grinding, forced equality and poverty? No.
The thing that turned Spain into a relatively prosperous country (for the first time in 100 years) was the decision by Franco in the 1950s to turn the Mediterranean coast into a tourist area.
Compared to what's running around now, including the present government of Spain (and the U.S.), I say Franco looks like a breath of fresh air.
Not to worry.
Americans will continue to vote for brilliant, intellectual, enlightened, really smart, Liberal Democrats.
“Independent” voters will still be Liberal Democrats in disguise and will still vote for Liberal Democrats.
“Independent” voters will continue to think of themselves as brilliant while they think of conservatives as dumb, ignorant, knuckle-dragging, bible-thumping dolts.
Liberal Democrats will continue to give full citizenship rights to Islamic radicals while seeking to curtail the rights of bible-thumping, gun-loving, supporters of the second amendment.
Republicans will not do as well as they think in the upcoming mid-term elections in 2010.
That's what I gather. But it was about Communist tyranny in Greece, which has never been talked about much in the US. I'm sure that's why that movie could be made, by the way. If Hollywood liberals had been tutored by Soviet disinformation on the subject of Greece as they were on Cuba and Spain, I'm guessing no one would have touched the project.
The truth is that most independents are not Democrats as they are much more conservative. Just my 2 cents.
bump & a VDH ping
The traitor-in-chief, the greatest communist mole in history, would surely laugh out loud at that hope.
Eleni was about the Greek Civil War that took place after WW 2.