I’ve been thinking a lot about world events lately, as though each seemingly independent thought is a tiny part of some gigantic global puzzle. I have the sides and top and bottom in decent position, but it’s the middle that continually plagues me.
And if you’re a seasoned political science type who studied at Harvard or UCLA, gather your 12 gauge shells and prepare to take aim. I’m just an average guy who thinks a lot, and I’m sure you’ll want to take pot shots at this article. Think Tankers, beware.
So let’s start with some basics, and you may shoulder your shotgun temporarily for a few paragraphs. I hope that’s the correct expression, and, if not, just point the thing at the floor and take care not to blow away your beagle.
December 7th, 1941, as President Roosevelt declared, a day of infamy, or to be more precise, “a date which will live in infamy,” after the attack at Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
June 6th, 1944, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. 34,250 American troops came ashore here during the D Day invasion in that area alone, and roughly 2,400 died in the process. I would be remiss in failing to mention the Canadians and the British, who fought and died side-by-side with American troops.
February 15th, 1989, under the direction of Colonel-General Boris Gromov, the final elements of Russian combat troops withdrew from Afghanistan after a ten year war the Soviets failed to win. My comments about Afghanistan are brief. When enemy combatants do not wear uniforms that distinguish themselves from the general populace, when enemy combatants prepare to die gloriously to the extent that they strap explosives to their wives and children, and when enemy combatants fight unwaveringly for decades against what they believe is a morally corrupt enemy, they will always win the war. Always. Ask Colonel-General Gromov about that, or perhaps we might have interviewed him in 2001 about the concept of boots on the ground.
I watched a movie the other night about the brutality of the Bataan Death March. If after only sixty years, “a date which will live in infamy” means we’ll become allies and BFF with the Japanese in little more than half a century, then I’m missing something in President Roosevelt’s scathing address. I somehow believe a grudge at being attacked should last forever, and I have the same attitude about Germany. We died there trying to overthrow a madman who was hell-bent on destroying an entire race of human beings. Nazis killed and burned millions, not just Jews, but gypsies and anyone else who wasn’t an arrogant Aryan. Fast forward sixty years, and they’re our friends and allies now, as well. Japan and Germany, our allies.
We Jews have it right. Two simple words. NEVER forget. Do we seriously believe that the concept of Aryan supremacy is dead and buried, simply because Germans are no longer wearing uniforms and waving sticks with little swastikas on them? And the Japanese were right there with them, with a sense of superiority and the need to dominate all those around them.
Okay, there are flower boxes now on the windows in a town named Dachau, and Japan has a current, more peaceful disposition. And this next statement will shock you, for this article is not at all about revisiting the atrocities committed by those two nations or about promoting hatred directed at Germany or Japan. Instead, it’s about choosing to remember the hatred those two nations brought to bear on us, revisiting our current alliances, and learning the lessons of history. The list of nations has changed … that’s the middle of the puzzle that’s elusive and somewhat fluid …, but hatred of the United States is rampant and the stakes are currently higher than ever. Today, those nations who confront us possess nuclear weapons, or in the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they will achieve them in short order.
As our allies, Japan and Germany are currently irrelevant, and how we can now embrace them as friendlies is beyond me They are simply there, in relatively small print, perhaps to cast a supporting vote or two in an assemblage of nations. They are meek on the stage of world events, and as we look to the challenges that face the United States, we must completely reevaluate our alliances to all nations, including our partnerships with Japan and Germany. It’s all right that, in retrospect, Germany is our minor league ally, although the thought is revolting. Better that than a resurrected Nazi Party goose stepping merrily through the streets of Berlin again. But do we dare consider defending Germany or other European nations in a conflict with Russia? And in a similar vein, do we consider defending Japan in a conflict with the People’s Republic of China? I say that we should not. Instead, we must be more clever than that, and as in the game of chess, we must think three or four moves ahead, at all times.
The chess game in the middle of the puzzle.
Think of our current enemies. We cannot and should not face confrontations on multiple fronts, and with Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran as enormous nuclear powers and players on our stage, we must take steps, very bold steps, to hone down that adversarial field and somehow keep it manageable.
One step, and it’s better than a great head fake by a wide receiver and then a dazzling catch to win the game. One step, to put our adversaries on their heels and keep our enemies at bay.
We must enter into a mutual defense pact with the Peoples Republic of China.
Get in bed with a communist power, you exclaim? The liberal minds at the Brookings Institute would have a field day with that one, I’m sure. Shotguns are quickly being loaded by eager hands, assuming Think Tankers actually own guns. I can see the holes in these pages forming quickly. But here’s the simple truth. We’ve busily and often blindly propped up any and all challenges to Communist rule for decades in dozens of nations, and my suggestion is to change all that, at least in our relationship with the People’s Republic of China.
A Sino-American treaty would put into harmony two incredible superpowers. Vladimir Putin’s hands would shake. Even a small increase in Chinese troop postings on the 2,615 Russia/China border would cause Russia great concern. Imagine a more substantial buildup by China, together with lots of saber-rattling. I recall Mao Zedong said of his nation’s capabilities, if they march ten abreast into the sea, they will never stop coming, or words to that effect.
At the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, the People’s Republic of China fielded 2008 drummers who, with perfectly synchronized movements, greeted the rest of the world to their capitol city. Two thousand and eight drummers. It scared the hell out of me, and it wasn’t simply perfectly timed drum beating that was powerful. That moment, that exhibition of a sense of duty and commitment, was a significant political and military statement.
What better way to tame the North Koreans than to have China as an ally of the United States? What better way to prevent the flow of nuclear technology from Pyongyang to Tehran in return for Iranian dollars for food than to simply have those in Beijing utter a cease and desist demand to the North Koreans? What better way to tell Russia to chill in Eastern Europe and Syria than to have Beijing beat those two thousand drums louder and more violently than ever before?
In dealing with modern day China, we make a grave error in believing this is a nation in the early stages of development, barely awakening to a modern world. While some of that statement has merit, purely from the standpoint of industrialization, the political infrastructure of China is far more deeply entrenched than those enamored with Mao Zedong might indicate. Two thousand years ago, Confucius established the thought process that’s so tightly interwoven into the fabric of Chinese culture, that the role of the state is a guarantor of the people’s welfare, and that good government can bring about order, peace, and a good society. Communism in China is not a new concept; rather it is a reemphasis of Confucian doctrine.
Think about a Chinese military that’s expanding its technological superiority at an alarming pace. Think about which nation’s troops you’d like to see standing next to us, and which nation’s troops you’d prefer not to challenge.
And think about those two thousand drummers.
They are at the heart of the puzzle that plagues me, and their warning is deafening.
Alan N. Levy is the author of the geo-political thriller, The Tenth Plague, which Kirkus Reviews calls, “a bombastic and cinematic thriller … A fleet and dramatic … tale of global conflict.” The novel is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local bookstore.