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Imperial Overstretch
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Toward the end of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, America stood alone at the top of the world — the sole superpower.

After five weeks of “shock and awe” and 100 hours of combat, Saddam’s army had fled Kuwait back up the road to Basra and Bagdad.

Our Cold War adversary was breaking apart into 15 countries. The Berlin Wall had fallen. Germany was reunited. The captive nations of Central and Eastern Europe were breaking free.

Bush I had mended fences with Beijing after the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin were friends.

The president declared the coming of a “new world order.” And neocons were chattering about a new “unipolar world” and the “benevolent global hegemony” of the United States.

Consider now the world our next president will inherit.

North Korea, now a nuclear power ruled by a 30-something megalomaniac, is fitting ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

China has emerged as the great power in Asia, entered claims to all seas around her, and is building naval and air forces to bring an end to a U.S. dominance of the western Pacific dating to 1945.

Vladimir Putin is modernizing Russian missiles, sending ships and planes into NATO waters and air space, and supporting secessionists in Eastern Ukraine.

The great work of Nixon and Reagan — to split China from Russia in the “Heartland” of Halford Mackinder’s “World Island,” then to make partners of both — has been undone. China and Russia are closer to each other and more antagonistic toward us than at any time since the Cold War.

Terrorists from al-Qaida and its offspring and the Islamic Front run wild in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia. Egypt is ruled by a dictatorship that came to power in a military coup.

Japan is moving to rearm to meet the menace of North Korea and China, while NAT0 is but a shadow of its former self. Only four of 28 member nations now invest 2 percent of their GDP in defense.

With the exception of the Soviet Union, some geostrategists contend, no nation, not defeated in war, has ever suffered so rapid a decline in relative power as the United States.

What are the causes of American decline?

Hubris, ideology, bellicosity and stupidity all played parts.

Toward Russia, which had lost an empire and seen its territory cut by a third and its population cut in half, we exhibited imperial contempt, shoving NATO right up into Moscow’s face and engineering “color-coded” revolutions in nations that had been part of the Soviet Union and its near-abroad.

Blowback came in the form of an ex-KGB chief who rose to power promising to restore the national greatness of Mother Russia, protect Russians wherever they were, and stand up to the arrogant Americans.

ORDER IT NOW

Our folly with China was in deluding ourselves into believing that by throwing open U.S. markets to goods made in China, we would create a partner in prosperity. What we got, after $4 billion in trade deficits with Beijing, was a gutted U.S. manufacturing base and a nationalistic rival eager to pay back the West for past humiliations.

China wants this to be the Chinese Century, not the Second American Century. Is that too difficult to understand?

But it was in the Middle East that the most costly blunders were committed. Believing liberal democracy to be the wave of the future, that all peoples, given the chance, would embrace it, we invaded Iraq, occupied Afghanistan and overthrew the dictator of Libya.

So doing, we unleashed the demons of Islamic fanaticism, tribalism, and a Sunni-Shiite sectarian war now raging from North Africa to the Near East.

Yet though America’s relative economic and military power today is not what it was in 1992, our commitments are greater.

We are now obligated to defend Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics against a resurgent Russia, South Korea against the North, Japan and the Philippines against a surging China. We bomb jihadists daily in Iraq and Syria, support a Saudi air war in Yemen, and sustain Kabul with 10,000 U.S. troops in its war with the Taliban. Our special forces are all over the Middle East and Africa.

And if the neocons get back into power in 2017, U.S. arms will start flowing to Kiev, that war will explode, and the Tomahawks and B-2s will be on the way to Iran.

Since 1992, the U.S. has been swamped with Third World immigrants, here legally and illegally, many of whom have moved onto welfare rolls. Our national debt has grown larger than our GDP. And we have run $11 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I went home to Kennebunkport.

Thousands of U.S. soldiers have died, tens of thousands have been wounded, trillions of dollars have been expended in these interventions and wars.

Our present commitments are unsustainable. Retrenchment is an imperative.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2015 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, Eurasia, Russia 
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  1. Such a lot of things unsaid – such as Russia supporting secessionists in East Ukraine only because the Imperialist States of Amerikastan saw fit to overthrow the government there in a stage managed colour revolution using nazi thugs as stormtroopers. Such as ISIS only having come into the picture as a consequence of deliberate Amerikastani strategy to foment civil war in Syria to overthrow Assad. Probably the most ludicrous assertion is the one that says Amerikastan had any intention of spreading democracy anywhere. This is the same Imperialist States which backs the cannibal headhunters of Saudi Barbaria and the no less evil scum in Egypt, Qatar and Bahrain, after all.

  2. It’s not all bad news, Pat.

    Israel occupies and plants settlers in more and more territory as the days go by.

    Israel’s unregistered foreign agents wield ever-increasing power in not only the US Congress but in state capitals in the nation.

    The lead writers at mondoweiss.net remind readers frequently that “Jews are now the elite in USA.”

    Jane Eisner, editor of The Forward, told a J Street audience that “Jews are now the wealthiest, most powerful group in USA.”

    So how can you say that “it was in the Middle East that the most costly blunders were committed.” From the point of view of the above declarations and benchmarks, these were not blunders at all.

    But from the broader American point of view, “Five weeks of shock and awe” were not America’s finest hour, they were the prequel to a sustained display of hubris. The winter of American blunders started with George H W Bush’s unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 1991. Bush committed what Leo Strauss termed the reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy —

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/bush-gulf-war/

    “Bush, a World War II veteran, condemned the aggression and spoke of it in terms of “good and evil,” often comparing Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler. For Bush, the only possible resolution to this “naked act of aggression” would be a clear and unequivocal withdrawal of Iraqi forces. And Bush became convinced early on that only military action would force Saddam to pull back. ”

    In fact, just as the Danzig question could have been settled non-violently, so too could Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait have been retracted through the diplomatic efforts of Jordan’s King Hussein and his counselor, Jack O’Connell.

    Believing liberal democracy to be the wave of the future, that all peoples, given the chance, would embrace it, we invaded Iraq, occupied Afghanistan and overthrew the dictator of Libya.

    Isn’t that a self-contradicting statement?

    “Liberal democracy” means that a people choose their own government as an expression of their own national will.

    Invading and imposing what an outside entity — the USA — thinks is the “wave of the future” is the antithesis of sovereign self-government.

    G H W Bush was stuck in a delusional remembrance of US “victory” in Europe — conveniently forgetting that USA committed war crimes in the firebombing of German civilians to “win” that unnecessary war, and that in the final analysis it was Russia that sealed the deal (committing more atrocities against civilians in the process).

    The imperative, before “retrenchment” can be considered, is for the American people to ask themselves to think really clearly about why they went to war against Germany, twice, in the 20th century;
    why they and their leaders have never been held to account for the war crimes the USA (and other Allies) committed against so many people in WWII;
    how proud they are to have enjoyed an era of phenomenal prosperity at the cost of vanquishing their European brothers, sisters and heritage;
    and to get over “greatest generation” and “good war” delusions.

    • Replies: @Jonathan
  3. MEexpert says:

    Please tell me what is wrong with this picture.

    The US, the UK, Canada, Australia, the NATO, the French, the Germans, the Saudis, the Emiratis, Turkey, and Israel and a host of well armed and well organized armed forces are fighting a collection of ragtag volunteers of Al-Qaeda and ISIS in a global war on terror.

    On the other hand, the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, the NATO, the French, the Germans, the Saudis, the Emiratis, Turkey and Israel are funding, arming, and training the volunteers of Al-Qaeda and ISIS to fight what the Jordanian King calls a Shiite crescent.

    No Shiite country has ever attacked any of the world powers or even threatened them. All the attacks, such as 9/11, the World Trade Center, the USS Cole, etc. have been carried out by Sunni terrorists with the help of Sunni monarchies.

    Please help me understand this picture. I am really confused.

    • Replies: @GeorgyOrwell
  4. Realist says:

    “The captive nations of Central and Eastern Europe were breaking free.”

    Now they are captives of the US.

  5. Realist says:

    “Hubris, ideology, bellicosity and stupidity all played parts.”

    Excellent synopsis.

    • Replies: @Kat Grey
  6. Realist says:

    “And if the neocons get back into power in 2017, …”

    They have never been out of power.

  7. Kat Grey says:
    @Realist

    With the emphasis being placed on stupidity. Here in Europe we shall pay the price for Obama’s ill-advised calls for sanctions against Russia at the Bavarian G7 summit. A shame Obama’s mummy didn’t read little Barack bedtime stories of fairy tales instead of Marx and Baldwin. At least he would have learned what calamity befell the Sleeping Beauty when the eighth fairy didn’t get invited to the big feast.

    • Replies: @Realist
  8. Johann says:

    It is also apparent that the American created ISIS is continuing the campaign to extirpate the Christian Church from the Mid East. The two thousand year old Catholic Church in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc. has been savaged by the onslaught of the American foreign policy. As a Catholic I well know who the enemy is and he is located on the banks of the Potomac. How any Catholics or Christians can continue to wave the flag of American imperialism and continue to sent their offspring into these disastrous wars is inconceivable. It is apparent who the foretold “beast” is and the number 666 now applies to the American power structure and its culture.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Pat Buchanan should be our Secretary of State!

  10. Jonathan says:
    @SolontoCroesus

    There may come a day when the majority of Americans will turn on the Jewish Americans (like Hitler and the Germans did) for ruining our country all for the benefit of Israel and their own pocketbook.

  11. Art says:

    Not one “I” word, not one “Z” word, not one “J” word – this is unacceptable.

    How can you explain US foreign policy for the last 60 years with out those words.

    Boycott Disinvest Sanction

    • Replies: @Kyle McKenna
  12. @MEexpert

    When things don’t appear to make sense, perhaps they do make sense, but just in some other way.

  13. “Believing liberal democracy to be the wave of the future, that all peoples, given the chance, would embrace it, we invaded Iraq, occupied Afghanistan and overthrew the dictator of Libya.”

    That’s what our leaders told us and them why they were making war on them – to give them freedom and democracy.

    But when those peoples actually do democracy that reflects their own interests, instead of our elites’ interests, then their autarkies are replaced with corrupt dictators or oligarchs our elites choose whose first loyalty is to bribery and the foreign power, economic and military, that installs and props them up.

    As if imposing a government that’s in the interests of another power could ever be democracy, even if you’re hegemon enough to be able to lord it over others.

    The lords giveth, and the lords taketh away.

  14. I’m impressed that Mackinder is being referenced increasingly in the UNZ Review; this is turning to be a serious geopolitical blog!

  15. @Art

    Words like those are how PJ became effectively marginalised in the first place. Our Ruling Class doesn’t like people saying those words.

    • Replies: @Art
  16. “Our folly with China was in deluding ourselves into believing that by throwing open U.S. markets to goods made in China, we would create a partner in prosperity. What we got, after $4 billion in trade deficits with Beijing, was a gutted U.S. manufacturing base and a nationalistic rival eager to pay back the West for past humiliations.

    China wants this to be the Chinese Century, not the Second American Century. Is that too difficult to understand?”

    What I found funny is that pat actually thinks because we, the USA trades with China = China should become our bitch and follow our lead.

    If we seriously think China as a partner, we wouldn’t even be thinking about it in the terms above. We wanted China to be our bitch but it didn’t become one.

    There are no partners in the current unipolar world. USA never wanted one and will do everything it can to prevent one from ever appearing.

  17. Art says:
    @Kyle McKenna

    You are right – Pat has done more the most and must be commended.

    I do think there is a little bit of a change – that there is in limited quarters a willingness to speak up.

    Let us hope.

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