30 Sep The War Against America
“America has been under attack for more than a decade.” – The Lonely Realist
TLR in its commentaries of March 27, 2019 and September 13, 2020 cautioned that provocations aggressions against America by China, Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and other members of the aptly-named “Axis of the Sanctioned” were intended to more than merely test the American-led post-WWII world order. Their goal is to undermine America and replace American hegemony. When TLR raised that warning more than 4 years ago, it was viewed as unnecessarily alarmist. It now is understood to be a statement of fact. The failures of 21st Century American foreign policy combined with futile military adventurism, counterproductive technology-sharing, globalization of critical supply chains, flaws in social media communications and weak cybersecurity safeguards have been exploited by China, Russia, Iran et al. Their actions follow historical precedents of geopolitical power vacuums inspiring aggressors to capitalize on weakness – by pretenders and worthy replacements alike. TLR had previously suggested that this century’s incipient great power rivalry was “Cold War II,” the successor to the 20th Century’s contest between America and the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, America’s war with members of the Axis isn’t “cold” any more. The successes enjoyed by Axis-actor Russia over the past dozen years in carving-out pieces of Ukraine and extending its power in Eastern Europe (notably in Georgia, Moldova, Transnistria, Serbia, and Hungary) and Sub-Saharan Africa (through the Wagner Group) led to its invasion of Ukraine that frames a seminal struggle between the aspirations of the Axis and the wealth values held by the American-led West. America’s 21st Century errors and divisions similarly encouraged China to assert hegemonic water rights and annex and militarize islands in the East and South China Seas, absorb Hong Kong, and massively increase its army, navy, coast guard and weaponry as a prelude to a stated 2027 intention to take-over Taiwan which, by design, would “neutralize” American bases and America’s carrier fleets in the Western Pacific. Numerous actions by members of the Axis support Russian and Chinese actions and intentions. They include Iran’s and North Korea’s manufacture and supply of weapons to Russia, North Korea’s development of a nuclear arsenal and an intercontinental missile delivery system, and Axis members coordinating efforts to marginalize the US Dollar, the SWIFT payment system and Western sanctions, and attract further entrants into their BRICS coalition …, etc., etc., etc.
The confidence of the China-led Axis in its ability to prevail in its ongoing global contest with America has been increasing, and for good reason.
Ronald Reagan’s muscular policies of “peace through strength” led to the collapse of the Soviet empire. Those policies, respected by America’s friends and feared by America’s foes, were abandoned during the Obama and Trump Administrations. Although the Biden Administration has been trying to recreate foreign policy muscularity, it has been challenged by preceding Administrations’ flabby isolationism and by its own military debacle in Afghanistan, its diplomatic faux pas with Saudi Arabia, and its evanescent hold on political power. Although the Biden Administration’s activist foreign policy has ended suspended American isolationism, the world is not returning to a globalized economy with a respected American hegemon driving global production and international trade. “America First” is U.S. policy today. Whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican, America will continue to on-shore supply chains and subsidize American businesses. America’s European, Oceanian and Asian allies will have to fend for themselves economically. The Axis members understand that this will exacerbate Western tensions.
What is most apparent to both friends and foes, however, is the fracturing of American society and American democracy. Axis members justifiably question whether America will continue long-term support for Ukraine (and other dependent allies), understanding that such support will evaporate if former President Trump wins America’s 2024 election. Another risk is that Congress may fail to authorize budgets that support America’s military and provide payments to government employees, pensioners and the like. Given these repetitive divisive themes, it seems only a matter of time before America defaults on its obligations. America’s divisions similarly are reducing the operational effectiveness of its armed forces. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R AL) has refused to allow military promotions (~300 are stalled in the Senate Armed Services Committee), including the President’s nominee as new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to replace the mandatory September 30th retirement of the current Chairman. These are only a few examples of America’s self-inflicted wounds. The point is that America’s Axis enemies understand that America is on a road to self-destruction. Time accordingly is on their side.
The Biden Administration’s foreign policy is emulating America’s pre-WWII tactic of employing proxies to fight America’s wars. Ukraine, for example, is in a position similar to that of Great Britain after it lost most of its military equipment at Dunkirk. In order to weaken Nazi Germany, America in 1940 “loaned” Great Britain replacement hardware and provided financial support, which is the tactic America and its allies are pursuing to degrade Russia’s and its Axis allies’ military capabilities (which also is America’s tactic towards China-Taiwan and in the Middle East, Africa, etc.). Despite the similarities between America’s foreign policy today and in 1940 – which not surprisingly is mirrored by the deep domestic divides of today’s and 1940’s America –, America’s lack of foreign policy
direction decisiveness may presage a fall from hegemony rather than the rise that resulted from America’s victory in WWII. America cannot be the leader of a democratic West and the global hegemon without a national consensus. Without bridging internal differences, American weakness will not bring about peace. Instead, it will result in America losing fighting wars for years to come.
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Finally (from a good friend)