The cold war with the Soviet Union ended more than one score and three years ago, and since then we have been staggering (largely unsuccessfully) through a number of civil wars and peace keeping missions, none of which directly impacted on the safety of the USA. What will come next? I think we should look not to the Middle East, but to the Western Pacific.
Current policy on the “containment of China” seems to be leading to a new cold or hot war in the Pacific Region. The basic idea is that Chinese economic and military expansion in that region is a threat to the USA that must be stopped.
New bases are being found, and fleets are being deployed to demonstrate that the USA will not stand for China assuming a position as a major power in that hemisphere.
Our allies are nervous about this because they can see that their own negotiations with China are very delicate and will be adversely affected by their friendship with an aggressive USA. After Vietnam and Iraq, they are not confident that the USA is much good at winning wars against idealistic but unsophisticated peoples. China is a major trading partner of both Canada and Australia and both countries have independently had considerable success in dealing with the entrepreneurial communists. Japan, Sth Korea and Taiwan are industrial power houses in the region who fear China and so are no doubt hoping that the USA will help to at least establish a stable environment for business.
Most of the smaller countries in the SE Asia and Pacific region are very happy dealing with China. They have accepted generous foreign aid packages from the Chinese and want to build on that progress. They get very little aid now from the western powers.
I truly believe that this early stage is the time to apply the brakes a little on the US anti-commie policy juggernaut and to consider all the implications before we become involved in hostilities with a colossal economic power having a very tough military (toughness means that it can take damage and keep fighting). This could easily become a long drawn out and highly destructive fight that America can’t win. We should know by now that more sophisticated and bigger weapons are not enough.
We need to harness those dogs of war before they get out of control again and drag us to destruction. We need a statesman who has learned the lessons of the cold war and can guide us to wise and pragmatic foreign policy that will protect Americans and their wealth. We can’t afford to have our retirement provisions wasted on hostilities if there is a better way.
The Chinese are (in general) highly intelligent and tough negotiators in both war and peace. They love their children and financial security as much as we do. If we can show them that we want to include them in making the Western Pacific region a prosperous and peaceful place that will enrich us all, then I think they will be smart enough to go for it and bring it on much more quickly than we can without them. Our old allies in the region can help us to do that if we drop the belligerent containment policy and start acting like the peaceful business-like nation we really are.
In order to do this we will have to pull together more in the USA and stop being divided and diverted by irrelevant issues like creationism, abortion etc. Even our deficit is a distraction from the main game here. We have to cope with it without letting it close us down. That last link above shows two extremely ideologically left/right opposed Australian (former) political leaders agreeing on this in the way we desperately need to do here in the USA. Can either of the Presidential candidates lead us through this. One more than the other perhaps, but I am not optimistic that either of them has enough vision to see the terrible dangers we face in that part of the world, or has the statesmanship to address them. Our major obstacle in this is in ourselves: the conservative, smug, John Wayne, anti-commie-at-all-costs, USA first, world view that we must learn to overcome.
Eventually, under either the containment or cooperation policy, China will become a super power rivaling the USA at its best. We can’t stop that, but we can choose to loose or prosper together.
That is what this election is about for me.
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