Clueless Progressives

An interesting article in the New York Times:

…From a militarist empire whose armies tore across Asia in the first half of the 20th century, Japan, seared by the most horrific consequence of war, embraced democracy and nonbelligerence seemingly overnight. It has not sent a soldier into combat since 1945, a record of pacifism that exceeds even that of its onetime ally Germany.

Yet as President Obama travels to Hiroshima on Friday, bringing renewed attention to the city and its legacy, many worry that the ideals Hiroshima has represented for so long are fading in Japan. The deep aversion to military entanglements is being challenged as never before by an ambitious conservative movement led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe…

The article is essentially a long lament over the end of pacifism in Japan. Of course, anyone who bothered to read Bergamini’s Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy knew this was coming, eventually – but it is coming sooner than I expected. What is missing from the article – and Progressive understanding – is that America’s withdrawal from world dominance is forcing Japan’s hand.

You can be pacifist – and devote only a tiny portion of your national wealth to defense matters – when you have an overwhelmingly powerful ally absolutely committed to your defense at the drop of a hat. If that is lacking, then your only recourse is that tired, worn-out (but absolutely true, nonetheless) maxim of “peace through strength”. If Japan wants to merely defend itself, it must build a military force powerful enough to give China and Russia (and North Korea) pause. This isn’t about Japan suddenly desiring to have a second go at creating the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, but just holding on to what Japan has…and that means, primarily, making sure the sea lanes by which Japan lives are kept open. Since 1945, it has been the US Navy which has guaranteed this – now, with the US Navy getting smaller and Obama showing the world that any attack will be met with a cowardly back down on the part of the United States, Japan has to look after it’s own interests.

And it isn’t just Japan building up. South Korea is also making a blue water Navy. Australia, Singapore, Philippines are all making significant investments in naval power – especially the power to move ground combat forces by sea (ie, fleets designed with thwarting Chinese aggression) and submarines which can vigorously attack a superior surface fleet. Japan has already built a semi-aircraft carrier – probably as a test-bed as they get ready to build fleet carriers in the future.

Outside of Western Europe, which is still sunk in apathy about national defense, the world is arming as it hasn’t since before World War Two. Everyone wants arguments ready to hand – and the reason everyone is doing this is because the United States has signaled an unwillingness to defend allies (and, indeed, at times has demonstrated what amounts to a desire that our allies be harmed). This is a formula for a World War – and not ages from now, but within the next ten years. Only a rapid reassertion of American power – coupled with a military buildup not seen since the start of the Reagan Administration – can we nip this in the bud. China won’t care about Japan’s build up…always viewing it as insufficient to meet China’s power (just as Russia doesn’t care about Poland’s build up…Poland, alone and no matter how well-armed, just can’t withstand Russia)

And our problem is our Clueless Progressives – who still think that peace can be brought about by incantation. By merely saying words. It doesn’t work like that because there are people in the world who want to fight – or, more accurately, want to grab what they can, convinced that there will be little or no fighting to get it. It is precisely this attitude which brought on both World Wars…not old rancor or irrational fears…people in charge of nations just wanted to steal things from other nations. China and Russia – and Iran – want to steal things which don’t belong to them. If they think they can do it with little or no loss, they’ll do it – only by convincing them that national suicide is the result of attacking will they be deterred. We’ll see what the next President does – build strength and prevent war, or keep on with Obama’s policies and make war certain.

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11 thoughts on “Clueless Progressives

  1. dbschmidt May 27, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    And the “Clueless Progressives” chime in. I have no issue with them paying for their defense but might have an issue with them owning their defense. Difference between someone standing guard over a child and handing them a gun and saying “You are on your own dude.”

    Much more to add at a different time.

    • M. Noonan May 27, 2016 / 11:35 pm

      That’s just it – without the United States riding herd, anything is possible; and the bottom line is that nations like Japan and Poland lack the resources necessary to defend themselves…without an ally, they are doomed.

      • Retired Spook May 28, 2016 / 8:51 am

        I don’t have a problem with coming to the aid of countries in need, whether as a result of a natural disaster like the tsunami a few years ago or the earthquake in Japan. I also don’t have a problem with providing military aid in the form of supplies or weapons or even advisers (for which we get paid). I do have a problem with expending massive amounts of blood and treasure when the threat to our national security is minimal. I even understand keeping a residual force in nations (Japan and Germany) who were aggressors in the past, or S. Korea which was an ally to begin with and is still under constant threat. But we’ve had troops in Japan and Germany for 70 years. It seems to me that we need to completely re-think many of our global commitments in light of our nearly 20 trillion debt and the drastic cuts to our active forces back to WW2 levels and our navy back to WW1 ship levels.

      • M. Noonan May 28, 2016 / 10:46 pm

        I’ve long thought that we should transfer a few of our older carriers to allied nations – two or three to Japan, one each to South Korea and Australia…maybe even the Philippines, if they could cover the freight. I also don’t want US troops in places like South Korea as a “trip wire”. If South Korea wants to fight for their freedom, then their army should be in shape to hold off even a Chinese attack until we get there (and I think there army is in shape for that, by the way).

        Pace Donald Trump, I would dump NATO as out-dated. I’d have us allied these days with Britain, Poland, Israel, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Philippines – that, I think, is all we need. Allied with Iran, too, if they ever overthrow their lunatic regime.

      • dbschmidt May 28, 2016 / 7:56 pm

        I do not have an issue with the military maintaining bases worldwide at our expense. We have medical ships helping other countries now that would need to be re-purposed if say Landstuh in Germany was to be closed. We would need to re-purpose our fleet including enlargement if we went to a total floating fleet based platform.

        My point was the minions of the left do not think through the simplest of issues. Close all overseas military bases and then what? Discharge all of them into this Obama-crappy malaise? Well, here in NC we would have to retrain them into which bathroom to use depending on “feelings”. NYC has it worse with 31 options.

        It costs the same to retain a base in Germany as it does in Texas. Do we close all of them as well? We, as America, are already smaller militarily in many aspects than we were in WWII times.
        So if anything I am in favor of expansion but we need to in a different direction. It is a new fungible enemy.

        One of the enumerated duties of the Constitution is the protection of the US — enemies, both foreign and domestic. Think most enemies these days are domestic.

      • M. Noonan May 28, 2016 / 10:41 pm

        Oh, you know I’ve long advocated for a major reorganization of our alliances and troop deployments. But the reason the world is arming now is because the United States has withdrawn…that is what our Progressives don’t understand: it was only the raw power of the United States demonstrated in World War Two which has prevented a Third World War since 1945. No one wanted to tangle with us after they saw what we did in Germany and Japan…and in spite of protestations to the contrary, every person with real military knowledge knew that the United States could have beaten Germany and Japan simultaneously single handed. People with real military knowledge also knew that the reason Korea and Vietnam ended as they did was simply because we didn’t even begin to apply the force we could have…we held back. This was a mistake on our part because it did convince the world that they could small war us all they wanted…but the memory of WWII still prevented anyone from really wanting to challenge the United States toe-to-toe. But now we’re withdrawing and very loudly signalling that we won’t fight. Our reputation still likely prevents a direct attack upon the United States (no one will do a Pearl Harbor to us any time soon), but it is clear that aggressive powers now feel it’s ok to attack US allies.

      • Amazona June 1, 2016 / 12:12 pm

        I’ve been arguing for years that we need a strong, prepared, well trained military, and that the best way to accomplish this is to have a well thought-out strategy for foreign deployments. You don’t just fasten your seat belt when you think you might be in a wreck, and you don’t just start to put together and train a functional military when threats loom.

        I see a lot of benefits to having strong military presences overseas. One, of course, is the deterrent factor, as it sends a message to the bad guys that we are here, we mean business, we can kick your butts if you get out of line, so don’t bother. It sends a message to our allies that we are on their side, not only providing security for them but adding to their economy. It gives our young men and women the kinds of cultural and practical experiences they need if we find ourselves having to fight in other countries. Having to deal with bad dorm food and an obnoxious roommate and seeing “poverty” as not being able to afford a new iPhone isn’t a good background for having to adapt to conditions and cultures in a crisis situation, and doesn’t foster an understanding of what it is like to have to live outside the comforts and protections of the United States, which would foster a greater appreciation for what we have.

        As DB said, it doesn’t cost more to have a base in Germany than it does in Texas, but the aggregate benefits of a base in Germany outweigh those of one here in the U.S. One of these benefits is preparedness.

        My family has a company that provides support services for the oil and gas industry, When this industry plunged off a cliff last year, most of the companies like ours went over as well, but some, like ours, with our track record of excellent service and our good relationships with our clients, have survived. The oil and gas companies know that things can change very quickly, but that it will take a long time to rebuild the support infrastructure, so they have worked with us to at least keep us alive and functioning while waiting out the downturn. They have kept some rigs and crews active even when profits were not there, knowing that when the demand returned it would take them many months to ramp up again if they just shut down. This is the same thought process that applies to military readiness.

        Yes, we have to expend the resources necessary to keep a force staffed, trained and ready, because the process of doing this from scratch is one of many months to several years. If we have to, we can send people into battle with just a few weeks of training—we have done so in the past—but we still need the infrastructure, ranging from uniforms and boots and armament to planes and ships and bases.

        Handled well, overseas military presence will build relationships with our allies, provide a deterrent factor to bad guys, and give us a productive way to keep a well trained military active and ready.

      • Amazona June 1, 2016 / 12:27 pm

        There seems to be a belief that if we pull out of an existing treaty organization, such as NATO, we will then not belong to a treaty organization. Ditto for the U.N. But when an organization has outlived its usefulness, or morphed into something that is unlike its original intent and also detrimental to our national interests, it is only reasonable to walk away from it and develop a new group with an agenda that applies to the current situations. We can revise NATO or we can walk away and form a new treaty group.

        I feel more strongly about getting out the U.N. than I do about NATO. The U.N. (or, as it is called in Idiocracy, the UNNN) has become a haven for tyrants, bullies, and a whole cast of unsavory anti-American interests, yet we finance it, we give it a home, and we tolerate its abuses. I wonder how many of the U.N. delegates would be as excited about serving if the U.N. offices were in Sudan, or even the Czech Republic. No, we offer these delegates unfettered freedom to abuse our hospitality and break our laws while being able to live high on the hog in one of the most desirable cities in the world—and we pay most of the freight to keep them in style—while they openly agitate against our best interests, tyrannize and terrorize the people they are supposed to be protecting, and in general operate a seriously corrupt organization that does little or nothing to advance the original charter of the group. Now the U.N. brand gives credibility to atrocities and abuses and corruption.

        Without U.S. dollars and a NYC presence, I think the U.N. would quickly wither away, while decent nations which respect freedom and human dignity would have their own new organization. Go ahead and use the existing U.N. headquarters, if necessary to add some gravitas and presence to the new organization. But instead of fluttering impotently against the insanity of the current U.N. and its excesses, we should just tell the organization that its lease is up and we are dropping out, and they will have to relocate and find other funding. And in the meantime rescind this “diplomatic immunity” that makes America and its citizens subject to lawbreaking and abuse without sanctions. Issue an invitation to nations which live under the rule of law, and start over.

      • Amazona June 1, 2016 / 12:36 pm

        This needs to be restated, here and again in other threads and posts. It is not only well said, it is important.

        …..what our Progressives don’t understand: it was only the raw power of the United States demonstrated in World War Two which has prevented a Third World War since 1945. No one wanted to tangle with us after they saw what we did in Germany and Japan…and in spite of protestations to the contrary, every person with real military knowledge knew that the United States could have beaten Germany and Japan simultaneously single handed. People with real military knowledge also knew that the reason Korea and Vietnam ended as they did was simply because we didn’t even begin to apply the force we could have…we held back. This was a mistake on our part because it did convince the world that they could small war us all they wanted…but the memory of WWII still prevented anyone from really wanting to challenge the United States toe-to-toe. But now we’re withdrawing and very loudly signalling that we won’t fight.

        Having said this, what do we have to look forward to in the next four years, given the facts on the ground at this moment? A Democrat presidency which will only push our military might deeper into silliness and impotence? A nominally Republican president known for his belligerence but also his erratic behavior, who lacks consistency and coherence, who would probably react strongly if impulsively to an attack but who has shown absolutely no understanding of any but the most superficial aspects of national defense?

        It’s a very bad time to be at the mercy of Identity Politics.

      • M. Noonan June 1, 2016 / 12:45 pm

        The thought of Trump or Hillary in charge of the most powerful nation in human history is about as distressing as the thought of Obama being in charge…of course, since WWII only Reagan actually understood American power and how it could be used (the elder Bush entirely wrecked the outcome of the first Gulf War and the younger Bush failed to understand that long, drawn-out campaigns are always unpopular among the American people…gotta strike fast and keep striking; forward movement and continual victory on the battlefield is what keeps political support).

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