The Big Picture

It is natural for wars to draw observers into ever-more detailed studies of their events and potential lessons from them.  But the result can be an instinct for the capillaries that leaves war’s larger issues neglected.  I think that is happening now with the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.  If we stand back away from the details and look at the big picture from an American perspective, what do we see?

We see this country taking potentially fatal risks that Washington seems unaware of.  The U.S. is indirectly involved in two wars, those in Ukraine and Gaza.  In both cases, one of the players has nuclear weapons, Russia in Ukraine and Israel in Gaza.  At the same time, we are directly involved in two possible wars, a renewed war in Korea and a direct confrontation with China over Taiwan.  Again, two of the potential participants are nuclear powers, North Korea and China.  In effect, the U.S. is playing two games of Russian roulette and daring other countries to join us in two additional games.  What is the chance that in one of those four games our luck doesn’t hold and we blow our brains out?  Higher than anyone in the Blob, our foreign policy establishment, seems to realize.

To put this in perspective, imagine what will happen if a single nuclear weapon is used in any conflict.  The world economy is already balanced on a knife edge.  Everybody knows a world-wide debt and financial crisis is coming.  The use in war of just one nuclear bomb could easily trigger that event.  Credit would dry up overnight, international trade would cease and the domestic economies of many countries would plunge into deep depressions.  Such a world economic crisis would in turn bring political chaos in its wake.  Establishment parties and politicians would be swept away (not entirely a bad thing) and states themselves would collapse, creating new stateless regions with all the dysfunction and disorder that implies.  Fourth Generation war would spread like Canadian wildfires.

Why does this country face four conflicts or potential conflicts involving nuclear powers?  A big part of the answer is the hubris and insularity of the Blob.  But it also brings to mind an observation John Boyd often made.  He said Washington is home to ten thousand analysts and no synthesizers.  We spend billions of dollars to gain information on the micro level but virtually nothing to look at the macro picture.  At present, that macro picture should frighten us into reducing commitments abroad, especially those that could push us into a nuclear exchange.  But the only prominent political voice urging that course is President Trump.  As usual, in the valley of the blind the one-eyed man is hated.  

Prudence, that highest of conservative political virtues, counsels us to draw back while we still can.  Once Communism fell in Europe, there was only one reason for NATO to continue, namely bringing Russia into what would have become a northern hemisphere alliance.  Russian President Putin said in his interview with Tucker Carlson that Russia had asked about joining but was rebuffed.  Now, we should tell Europe that it is fully capable of defending itself and we’re going home.  In the war over Gaza, we should tell Netanyahu that if he uses nuclear weapons (Iran is the obvious potential target) we will cut off all support for Israel.  With regard to Taiwan, we should attempt to make a deal with China where that island rejoins mainland China but no PLA or National Police are stationed there so Taiwan’s domestic liberties are maintained.  And President Trump, once re-elected, should attempt to restore the relations we had with North Korea after his first summit with Kim Jong-un (the neocon John Bolton sabotaged the second summit).  That would logically lead to a peace treaty with North Korea and a withdrawal of American troops from the South.

Together, these steps would lead to a more secure America, more secure because it would have fewer foreign commitments that could lead to war with a nuclear power (or, the case of Israel, tied to a nuclear power).  If that leads to mass unemployment within the Blob, well, isn’t that a shame.