11 Nov Yes, Virginia, America Truly is at War
“How many Americans understand the stakes?” – The Lonely Realist
TLR has been beating the drum for years that “America’s enemies are waging a coordinated war against it” and “America needs to address those threats now.” What began in March 2019 as a warning about America’s weak ineffective tariff and sanctions responses to inroads being made against American interests by Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, etc., became recurrent commentaries about the escalating militancy of the “Axis of the Sanctioned.” Until recently, those concerns were viewed with skepticism. Commentators now belatedly are sounding the same alarms. America indeed is at war. Nevertheless, instead of labeling America’s enemies as having been inadequately-opposed and feebly-sanctioned, the media have resurrected a slogan from the Reaganite era to label America’s enemies “the Axis of Evil.” How cartoonish! America’s enemies are not comic book villains. They are heavily-armed real-life adversaries who have been working for years to destabilize America’s wealth, erode America’s power and undermine America’s influence. Like other wealth- and power-seekers, they intend to take what they want. History books are replete with their successes.
How many Americans understand this reality? How many are aware of the power of the international forces arrayed against America? In a recent conversation with one reader – who is well-versed on the facts –, TLR was struck by his insistence that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are time-tested buffers against foreign aggressors, that America’s nuclear arsenal means that it is untouchable, that America therefore doesn’t need proxies like Ukraine to blunt its enemies, and that for all intents and purposes America is economically self-sufficient because “America First” means that it can produce everything Americans can ever need – through a Statist, centralized Trump-planned economy or a Statist, centralized Biden-planned economy. For him, external threats of every kind are fantasy, dredged up by an alarmist media and partisan extremists. He unfortunately is ignoring the clearly evolving geopolitical realities. He also is ignoring the impossibility of operating a successful 21st Century economy in geopolitical isolation. Although America can produce oil, gas and coal to satisfy its current energy needs (even though Middle Eastern nations retain 48% of proven global reserves and 33% of production), can produce enough wheat, corn, soyabeans and meat to fill Americans’ plates, and over time can onshore any number of manufactured goods, it can’t self-produce everything necessary to support America’s current wealth or standard of living. Among items that cannot easily and quickly be onshored are washing machines, computer chips, cell phones, textiles and the component parts of airplanes, automobiles and innumerable other things. Moreover, America doesn’t have access to the raw materials that are today’s and tomorrow’s technological necessities.
Isolationism is a false reality. It worked in the past for purely agrarian economies and in the earlier years of the industrial revolution. It didn’t work in the 20th Century (Argentina being a cautionary example) and most certainly didn’t work for America in the 1930s. It is would be disastrous in the 21st Century.
Gary Kasparov, the former World Chess Champion and anti-Putin activist, recently wrote an acerbic editorial rebuking the Biden Administration for following a failed foreign policy towards Russia. Russia, he asserts, has evidenced its anti-American belligerency in any number of instances over the past decade+, with Russia’s long-term efforts now being coordinated with its allies. “Just as Russia’s armies began to lose ground in Ukraine, [Iran’s proxy] Hamas attacked Israel, and Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro prepared a referendum asserting territorial claims over a large part of neighboring Guyana.” Kasparov notes that Russia’s Wagner Group has embedded itself as America’s principal adversary in sub-Saharan Africa, successfully undermining Western interests “from Niger to the Nile and from Belarus to Venezuela” at the same time as “China prepares to invade Taiwan,” all of which “would have disastrous consequences” for America and its allies. Kasparov adds that the actions of Russia’s agents supporters in Congress exalt its interests over America’s by opposing American assistance for Ukraine (naming Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene). His conclusion simply is that “It’s war, stupid… [and] you can lose a war you refuse to acknowledge exists. In fact, you are sure to.”
Unlike TLR’s years of “lonely realism,” commentators recently joined Kasparov to warn about America’s at-war Axis enemies. The Hamas atrocity finally provided a wake-up call. George Will this week urged America to address escalating military developments, cautioning that “The cure for 1930s isolationism was Pearl Harbor.” The Wall Street Journal had a striking editorial highlighting Axis efforts: “America’s enemies are working together, and it is strategic folly to think the U.S. can treat them like isolated problems. Letting Russia subjugate Ukraine will give Vladimir Putin an opening to further help Iran against Israel.” The message finally is sinking in that in order to retain its wealth, security and privilege, America necessarily must re-adopt Ronald Reagan’s policy of “peace through strength.” Until recently, America’s leaders from both political parties have shown neither strength nor consistency, adding icing to the Congressional cake of irresponsibility.
What might America’s enemies do next? Former President Trump has pledged to withdraw America from the war in Ukraine on his first day in office, as well as to broadly raise tariff barriers on friends and foes alike …, an apparent “Fortress America” approach. His supporters in Congress accordingly are looking for any excuse to highlight Ukraine’s weaknesses and America’s trade deficit in order to further the former’s President’s policy objectives and his odds of re-election, precisely the goals sought by Vladimir Putin. Like Putin, Xi Jinping has found the Biden Administration to be more unexpectedly adversarial than the former President. He, too, as well as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, only very recently, Iran’s ayatollahs, would prefer the former President over the current one. What determines the outcome of Presidential elections are wars and economies. The fact is that inflationary fires in America continue to smolder and could flare-up in 2024 and lead to a recession, one that could be exacerbated by geopolitical events. President Biden’s anti-hydrocarbons policy and his sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve have made America vulnerable to energy price shocks …, a fact that undoubtedly has occurred to Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, which are well-positioned to escalate economic and military
actions pressures against the West.
Winston Churchill purportedly said that Americans always will do the right thing … though only when they have no other choice. America is running out of choices.
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Finally (from a good friend)