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The End of Pax Americana?
Townhall.com ^ | October 7, 2011 | Pat Buchanan

Posted on 10/07/2011 6:15:40 AM PDT by Kaslin

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Observing the correlation of forces in this city and the intensity of conviction in the base of each party, the outcome of the ongoing fiscal fight between Barack Obama and the Tea Party Republicans seems preordained.

Deadlock. There will be no big jobs-for-taxes deal. The can will be kicked down the road into the next administration.

A second truth is emerging. When the cutting comes, as it shall, the Pentagon will be first to ascend the scaffold.

Why so? Consider.

The Republican House cannot agree to tax increases without risking retribution from the base and repudiation by its presidential candidates. All have pledged to oppose even a dollar in tax hikes for 10 dollars in spending cuts.

For his part, Obama has refused to lay out any significant cuts in the big Democratic entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare.

As for the hundreds of billions in Great Society spending for Medicaid, food stamps, Head Start, earned income tax credits, aid to education, Pell grants and housing subsidies, neither Harry Reid's Senate nor Obama, in trouble with his African-American base, will permit significant cuts.

That leaves two large items of a budget approaching $4 trillion: interest on the debt, which must be paid, and national defense.

Pentagon chief Leon Panetta can see the writing on the wall.

Defense is already scheduled for $350 billion in cuts over the decade. If the super-committee fails to come up with $1.2 trillion in specified new cuts, an automatic slicer chops another $600 billion from defense.

House Armed Services Committee Chair Buck McKeon has issued an analysis of what that would mean: a U.S. Army and Marine Corps reduction of 150,000 troops, retirement of two carrier battle groups, loss of one-third of Air Force fighter planes and a "hollow force" unable to meet America's commitments.

Also on the chopping block would be the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. If the super-committee trigger has to be pulled, says Panetta, "we'd be shooting ourselves in the head."

That half defense-half domestic formula for automatic budget cuts was programmed into the slicer to force Republicans to put tax hikes on the table. They will refuse. For tax hikes would do more damage to the party than the slicing would the Pentagon.

Thus America approaches her moment of truth.

Thanks to the irresponsibility of both parties, of the Bush as well as Obama administrations, we are facing unavoidable and painful choices.

We are going to have to reduce the benefits and raise the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare. Cut and cap Great Society programs. Downsize the military, close bases and transfer to allies responsibility for their own defense. Or we are going to have to raise taxes -- and not just on millionaires and billionaires, but Middle America.

And if our leaders cannot impose these sacrifices, the markets will, as we see in Europe, where the day of reckoning is at hand. Ours is next.

But if defense cuts are unavoidable, where should they come? What should our future defense posture be? Which principles should apply?

Clearly, the first principle should be that the United States must retain a sufficiency, indeed, a surplus of power to defend all of its vital interests and vital allies, though the defense of those allies must be first and foremost their own responsibility. They have to replace U.S. troops as first responders.

During the Cold War, America was committed to go to war on behalf of a dozen NATO nations from Norway to Turkey. Eastern Europe under Moscow's boot was not considered vital.

Thus we resisted the Berlin Blockade, but peacefully. We did nothing to rescue the Hungarian revolution in 1956, or the Prague Spring in 1968, or the Polish Solidarity movement in 1981, when all three were crushed.

Now that the Red Army has gone home, Eastern Europe is free, and the Soviet Union no longer exists, what is the argument for maintaining U.S. Air Force, Army and naval bases and thousands of U.S. troops in Europe?

Close the bases, and bring the troops home.

The same with South Korea and Japan. Now that Mao is dead and gone and China is capitalist, Seoul and Tokyo trade more with Beijing than they do with us.

South Korea has 40 times the economy and twice the population of North Korea. Japan's economy is almost as large as China's. Why cannot these two powerful and prosperous nations provide the troops, planes, ships and missiles to defend themselves? We can sell them whatever they need.

Why is their defense still our responsibility?

In the Persian Gulf we have a strategic interest: oil. But the oil-rich nations of the region have an even greater interest in selling their oil than we do in buying it. For, without oil sales, the Gulf has little the world needs or wants.

Let the world look out for itself for a while. Time to start looking out for America and Americans first. For if we don't, who will?


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: isolationism; patbuchanan

1 posted on 10/07/2011 6:15:42 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I read this without knowing who the author was, came to the end and said, “That must be Pat Buchanan”.


2 posted on 10/07/2011 6:22:56 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Kaslin

I’m with PJB on this one. But it’s very hard if not impossible to get the GOP nomination with this sort of thinking.


3 posted on 10/07/2011 6:23:14 AM PDT by Huck (NO NATIONAL SALES TAX -- UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES)
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To: Kaslin

“A second truth is emerging. When the cutting comes, as it shall, the Pentagon will be first to ascend the scaffold.

Why so?”

Because the gutless GOP did not hold firm and agreed to automatic cuts if some BS supercommittee could not agree on a plan?


4 posted on 10/07/2011 6:23:25 AM PDT by icwhatudo ("laws requiring compulsory abortion could be sustained under the constitution"-Obama official)
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To: Kaslin
I agree with everything Pat says about letting our Allies be first responders and bringing troops home. It's long overdue. We have got to retain forces enough to meet any forseeable threat though, and nuclear forces for unforseeable ones....

Mike

5 posted on 10/07/2011 6:25:05 AM PDT by MichaelP (The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools ~HS)
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To: Kaslin

That’s why they call the game “chicken”. Both sides will chicken out and swerve at the last moment. The GOP won’t want defense cut and the Dems won’t want to lose social spending. So they’ll just meet late on Thanksgiving Eve and repeal the whole thing by voice vote. And the spending spree will roll merrily along.

Obama already got what he wanted out of the deal anyway, the debt ceiling can kicked down the road past next November.


6 posted on 10/07/2011 6:25:36 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Kaslin

It will be a long process, but I suspect that the active-duty Army will become a cadre force similar to that of the 1930’s. This is the historical role filled by the US regulars.

The Marine Corps? I suspect that they will survive, but maybe not in the form of a multi-division force.

The Navy will fight to maintain a large force structure and their main competitor for budgetary funding will be the USAF. I expect that large-deck aircraft carriers will go the way of the dinosaur over the next 20 years as the Navy looks to do more with its LHA/LHD platforms and unmanned drones.

It’s all about $$$’s and mission. There will be sudden sharp shifts, like plate tectonics.


7 posted on 10/07/2011 6:32:01 AM PDT by Tallguy (You can safely ignore anything that precedes the word "But"...)
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To: Kaslin

Instead of the Pentagon taking it up the... first, how about the 1/3 of Federal Government “workers”, who just bend paperclips all day, get to go seek their fortunes in the private sector?

Note: Yes, some of those will be civilian employees of the DOD. But, if they have such great experience working for the Federal Government, I’m sure they will have NO problem securing great jobs in private industry. Hehe.../s


8 posted on 10/07/2011 6:33:53 AM PDT by NeverForgetBataan (To the German Commander -- ..........................NUTS !)
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To: Kaslin
Now that Mao is dead and gone and China is capitalist, .....

Same old 19th-century paleocon drivel.

How's your Chinese, Pat? You'll be learning it at gunpoint, if you take your own advice.

Running home crying to Mama doesn't mean they won't come after you and all the way into the house. They will. Arabs, Mexicans, Chinese -- they all want a piece of us.

Man up, Buchanan, and meet your responsibilities to the household.

9 posted on 10/07/2011 6:58:51 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: lentulusgracchus
Running home crying to Mama doesn't mean they won't come after you and all the way into the house. They will. Arabs, Mexicans, Chinese -- they all want a piece of us.

If we don't fix that problem here, they'll get us anyway, and without a fight. I'm for developing resources here and letting various parts of the world melt down as a way to remind those who invested in manufacturing abroad that to do so is "too risky." Returning that manufacturing base to the US is an essential step in national defense. Our supply lines are way too long as it is.

10 posted on 10/07/2011 7:03:45 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: Kaslin

“The Republican House cannot agree to tax increases without risking retribution from the base and repudiation by its presidential candidates. All have pledged to oppose even a dollar in tax hikes for 10 dollars in spending cuts.”

Hey, Pat - it saddens me that you didn’t say, “will not agree to tax increases BECAUSE REJECTING TAX INCREASES IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO”.

God, I hate politicians.

Colonel, USAFR


11 posted on 10/07/2011 7:03:47 AM PDT by jagusafr ("We hold these truths to be self-evident...")
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To: Tallguy
....the active-duty Army will become a cadre force similar to that of the 1930’s. This is the historical role filled by the US regulars.

Wrong model, wrong history. The Army was cut to nothing by cheeseparing, tax-cut-loving Harding and Coolidge Republicans (the Dems can plead out innocent on that one). The Navy was barely kept afloat, the Marine Corps was tiny, and US troops and marines trained with wooden guns and sacks of flour dropped from airplanes.

That's why we lost the Philippines, even after almost two years of bulking-up and calling up the Reserves and National Guard outfits.

We don't want to go back there. Especially since we know, ever since World War II, that every unpleasantry we've faced has been a "come-as-you-are war" with the exception of Vietnam. FDR was the last President to enjoy the luxury of time to prepare even halfway for a really big war.

The Armed Forces are already drastically drawn down from Gulf War levels, thanks to cutting by both Bushes, Clinton, and now Obozo. This time, it's LBJ's vote-buying programs that will have to eat it, and that means throwing the 'Rats out of office and out of power, and going in there and doing what is necessary. Only this time, we can't let McQueeg stab us in the back like he did Bush 43, when Bush tried to reform and de-politicize Social Security.

12 posted on 10/07/2011 7:09:30 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: Carry_Okie
Returning that manufacturing base to the US is an essential step in national defense.

Well, that's a thought. Although I think you're mistaken in the larger sense, to think that really big disturbances and instability overseas somehow works to our advantage. If anything, we depend more than ever on the Navy to protect trading sea lanes and to prevent other countries from enforcing LOST and huge seabed territorial grabs, claims of exclusivity (the Chinese have declared the South China and Yellow Seas and Formosa Strait all to be mare clausum -- we just violated their defi with a CBG transit [the Vinson or the Stennis, I forget which], tho' the Media pretended not to notice), water-column and fisheries claims, and so on.

13 posted on 10/07/2011 7:17:30 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: Kaslin
That half defense-half domestic formula for automatic budget cuts was programmed into the slicer to force Republicans to put tax hikes on the table. They will refuse. For tax hikes would do more damage to the party than the slicing would the Pentagon.

Tax hikes would do tremendous further damage to the COUNTRY, too, Patrick. But saying so doesn't allow you to rail about political parties, so...

14 posted on 10/07/2011 7:18:04 AM PDT by MortMan (What disease did cured ham used to have?)
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To: Kaslin
Now that the Red Army has gone home, Eastern Europe is free, and the Soviet Union no longer exists, what is the argument for maintaining U.S. Air Force, Army and naval bases and thousands of U.S. troops in Europe?

Close the bases, and bring the troops home.

The same with South Korea and Japan. Now that Mao is dead and gone and China is capitalist, Seoul and Tokyo trade more with Beijing than they do with us.

South Korea has 40 times the economy and twice the population of North Korea. Japan's economy is almost as large as China's. Why cannot these two powerful and prosperous nations provide the troops, planes, ships and missiles to defend themselves? We can sell them whatever they need.

Why is their defense still our responsibility?

In the Persian Gulf we have a strategic interest: oil. But the oil-rich nations of the region have an even greater interest in selling their oil than we do in buying it. For, without oil sales, the Gulf has little the world needs or wants.

Let the world look out for itself for a while. Time to start looking out for America and Americans first. For if we don't, who will?

AMEN! Sometimes Pat really nails it.

15 posted on 10/07/2011 7:35:00 AM PDT by pgkdan (Perry 2012!)
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To: Kaslin

No Pat. Pax Americana has not yet begun. It starts in Nov 2012.


16 posted on 10/07/2011 7:54:53 AM PDT by DarthVader (That which supports Barack Hussein Obama must be sterilized and there are NO exceptions!)
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To: lentulusgracchus
I knew you would disagree, but I offered the post because I rightly expected a thoughtful exchange. I think you know that I'm familiar with all the factors you have cited. So there must be more to what I'm saying than simple isolationism. There is.

IMO, we should be making a few territorial seabed grabs of our own. Treating them as a commons has been a disaster environmentally. Seabed mining is very expensive and there are increasing substitutes for what were once thought irreplaceable elemental resources. There are also hazards that would be very difficult to mitigate. Meanwhile, a lot of the rationale for that maritime mining effort has originated because of environmental exclusions on land that need to end.

Moreover, a lot of the problems with maritime wildlife productivity originate because we allow other countries to extract at will as a sweetener for holding our inflated bonds. Many of the agencies supposedly dedicated to protecting maritime wildlife actually have a demonstrable interest in failure. Those two combine into an ugly picture.

That said, I'm talking a larger principle here: Natural Law competition. America has been propping up socialism for nearly 100 years, especially during the Roosevelt era. The cost of doing so has abetted its metastacizing on our shores. If Europe had paid for its defense, would the left be citing it as such a model to emulate? Yet the big gains we have made against socialism were when we allowed it to fail by unshackling ourselves, particularly because the rest of the world saw it fail. Reagan deregulated the oil market and cut back on regulatory suppression and the resulting fall in oil prices collapsed Soviet cash flow. Yet if we prop up socialism, as the EU has done in Greece, look what happened to Greece. It is exactly analogous to how welfare destroyed the black family.

On the domestic side, that "Pax Americana" has operated as a subsidy by which to export American jobs and technology. The beneficiaries do not pay for that protection. Those who developed that technology in expectation of continued employment bear that exclusive and disproportionate burden of paying taxes to subsidize the export of their jobs. The extremely wealthy use tax-exempt "charitable" foundations to fund said green groups lawyers to sue a complicit agency for control of the resource by which to improve the tax-sheltered returns on their foreign investments. So you can see that said "Pax Americana" is more than just a financial burden.

I'm not talking about a complete withdrawal, but I promise you: Letting Europe for example defend itself would wake those babies up in a hurry. "Nation-building" was a success there and in Japan, but it backfires way too often as we move down the cultural ladder to the point that it is an exercise in futility in an Islamic country, central Asia (but I repeat myself), or in most of Africa. We should have stomped Iraq and gone home. Had Iran attacked them, stomp them too, quickly and cheaply, and then go home ala Barbary Pirates. They will learn how to act very quickly. I frankly think that the world would accelerate faster toward peace and civility with a better example of leadership.

17 posted on 10/07/2011 8:09:08 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: lentulusgracchus

... so I take it that you disagree with Pat Buchanan’s basic premise?

There are no Philippines to defend. Taiwan is on its own, as is Japan. The Gulf nations will have to work out their own defenses as our ability to intervene diminishes.

That’s the way I see it.


18 posted on 10/07/2011 8:47:41 AM PDT by Tallguy (You can safely ignore anything that precedes the word "But"...)
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To: Kaslin
It is one thing to cut down on foreign basis and engagements. It is another to end Fifth Generation fighter development at a time when China and Russia are hot on our trail. The F-35C will be ready in 2013, as it is carrier testing now. The F-35B is a mess.

China is not capitalist, at least not in our sense. They are effectively a fascist one-party state. And they are not our friends. Pat wants to cede all of Asia to them, in the hope that he won't have to contest anything.

19 posted on 10/07/2011 9:17:14 AM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: Tallguy
There are no Philippines to defend. Taiwan is on its own, as is Japan.

Then get ready to meet the Chinese in mid-Pacific, basing themselves on the Philippines and the old Mandate island groups, and slug it out for the ownership of Hawaii, and all the Pacific trade routes, including those to South America. And the Panama Canal, of course.

Think that won't happen? We're talking power-projection politics here, and the fate of nations. When the elephants fight, whiny little Paulbots get crushed into the dirt.

They've already served notice that WestPac is theirs, btw, or did you miss that little sotto voce release from an Official newspaper?

Luckily for us, they're willing to share the central Pacific with us ..... for a while.

20 posted on 10/07/2011 1:55:07 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: Carry_Okie
IMO, we should be making a few territorial seabed grabs of our own.

Wow, that's a tough one. Give up access under Admiralty Law to all the seabeds and sea lanes of the world, in order to "nail down" one little patch of it? I don't think that's a good swap. We are the ones with the 1-1/2-ocean navy.

That said, I'm talking a larger principle here: Natural Law competition.

But the biggest champions of Natural Law in history have been the British, proud and successful operators of the East India Company and the Royal Navy. It still seems to me that open sea lanes protected by Admiralty Law and an English-speaking navy are still the way to go. This other scenario sounds like Marxist-Leninists offering us Esau's mess of pottage for our birthright.

On the domestic side, that "Pax Americana" has operated as a subsidy by which to export American jobs and technology.

No, it hasn't. It didn't in the 19th century, when the pax Britannica protected the sea lanes from piracy and claims of "closed seas" all alike. We prospered then, and our industries prospered then, and having a Navy and open sea lanes did not detract from our happiness one whit. Instead, open and protected sea lanes accelerated commerce worldwide and prospered many peoples, some of whom had lived in utter rudeness and darkness of mind as recently as 250 years ago.

Letting Europe for example defend itself would wake those babies up in a hurry.

Letting Europe defend itself will result in a rapidly overwhelmed and occupied Europe. They will not change their bad habits of mind, so carefully nurtured by schoolhouse Reds all these years. They need a long period in intellectual intensive care, protected by us from parties interested in making of Europe a trophy.

21 posted on 10/07/2011 2:19:33 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: lentulusgracchus
I had a reply mostly written for you and FireFox crashed.

So give me a bit and I will get back to you. Suffice it for now to say, the projections in your post does not reflect where I'm coming from.

22 posted on 10/10/2011 10:48:44 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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To: lentulusgracchus
OK, I've got a bit of time for this now.

Wow, that's a tough one. Give up access under Admiralty Law to all the seabeds and sea lanes of the world, in order to "nail down" one little patch of it?

The entire Pacific and the bulk of the Atlantic Ocean is a "little patch"? I'm talking about COLONIZING the oceans, then to sell parcels as private property. So, you see, you were not even close to understanding where I was going.

But the biggest champions of Natural Law in history have been the British, proud and successful operators of the East India Company and the Royal Navy.

British Common Law is an entirely outdated and ossified understanding of Natural Law, particularly as regard mobile assets such as air and water. To understand where I'm going on that front, I suggest you read Chapter 1 of my first book, Natural Process: That Environmental Laws May Serve the Laws of Nature and follow that up with the Thesis.

This other scenario sounds like Marxist-Leninists offering us Esau's mess of pottage for our birthright.

Considering what you know of me, this comment is entirely unworthy of you. Further, apparently little do you know of Esav.

No, it hasn't. It didn't in the 19th century, when the pax Britannica protected the sea lanes from piracy and claims of "closed seas" all alike. We prospered then, and our industries prospered then, and having a Navy and open sea lanes did not detract from our happiness one whit.

Besides a false rendering of history, I'm surprised you don't recall that the British did NOTHING to deter the Barbary Pirates from raiding American shipping. Bribery payments to Tripoli became the largest single expense on the American ledger.

Instead, open and protected sea lanes accelerated commerce worldwide and prospered many peoples, some of whom had lived in utter rudeness and darkness of mind as recently as 250 years ago.

Some of those "dark peoples," knew and know a lot more about land management than did the colonists who converted their managed lands into "wild animal parks" which then became an ecological disaster. Until the people were allowed to own and hunt that commons (as declared under your precious British law) as private property, those game animals were going extinct, CITES or not. When the animals became property, the big game hunting in Africa became the finest and most cost effective in the world. It was racism.

Letting Europe defend itself will result in a rapidly overwhelmed and occupied Europe.

That's not what we just saw in Libya, is it?

They need a long period in intellectual intensive care, protected by us from parties interested in making of Europe a trophy.

I don't think the Czechs or Poles need to learn a thing from us; indeed, quite the opposite. Really, this is an astonishing point on your part. It's as if you think the welfare state doesn't breed dependency.

Frankly, I think your read on history is too full of textbook truisms and could use some serious infill. You quite clearly do not understand why this country was built up by the Marxist global banking community after they took control subsequent to the Civil War (which they abetted). I could suggest some reading, but I'm fairly sure you'd not take me up on it. I just don't think you understand the coercive power attendant to holding public debt.

23 posted on 10/22/2011 8:19:09 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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