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This week, SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea.
* YOU FOLKS KNOW WHERE THE BALTIC SEA IS... RIGHT?
The Russian planes carried no missiles or bombs.
Message: What are you Americans doing here?
In the South China Sea, U.S. planes overfly, and U.S. warships sail inside, the territorial limits of islets claimed by Beijing.
* WELL, PAT, WHILE I GET YOUR OVERALL POINT, THE FACT IS THAT CHINA IS CLAIMING ISLETS IT HAS NO RIGHT TO CLAIM AND WHICH IF THEY'RE ALLOWED TO FORTIFY ACTUALLY DO THREATEN OUR LEGITIMATE WORLDWIDE INTERESTS AND NATIONAL SECURITY.
* CHINA IS OUR ENEMY. ON THIS ONE PAT AND I MAY DIFFER.
In South Korea, U.S. forces conduct annual military exercises as warnings to a North Korea that is testing nuclear warheads and long-range missiles that can reach the United States.
* WE MADE A MISTAKE IN NOT "WINNING" THE KOREAN WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE. WE MADE ANOTHER MISTAKE IN ALLOWING NORTH KOREA TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR WEAPONS. FRANKLY... I WOULD HAVE RISKED USING NEUTRON BOMBS AGAINST THEM IF NECESSARY TO PREVENT THEIR DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. (BUT THAT'S FOR ANOTHER THREAD; I'M JUST FLESHING OUT WHERE PAT AND I MAY NOT BE EXACTLY ON THE SAME PAGE.)
U.S. warships based in Bahrain confront Iranian subs and missile boats in the Gulf. In January, a U.S. Navy skiff ran aground on an Iranian island. Iran let the 10 U.S. sailors go within 24 hours.
* LETTING IRAN "CAPTURE" OUR SHIPS/SAILORS WITHOUT A FIGHT WAS A HUGE MISTAKE - A DERELICTION OF DUTY, IN FACT. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER WE WERE IN THE RIGHT OR THE WRONG. AMERICAN NAVAL VESSELS AND THEIR CREWS SHOULD NEVER JUST SURRENDER WITHOUT A FIGHT AND THE FACT THAT IRAN WOULD HAVE NO DOUBT ACTUALLY FOUGHT SHOWS YOU HOW BADLY OUR MODERN LEADERS - OBAMA AND BUSH BEFORE HIM (REMEMBER THE HAINAN ISLAND "INCIDENT") - HAVE TARNISHED OUR NATIONAL HONOR.
In each of these regions, it is not U.S. vital interests that are threatened, but the interests of allies who will not man up to their own defense duties, preferring to lay them off on Uncle Sam.
* EXCEPT FOR THE SITUATION WITH REGARD TO CHINA... AGREED; AND EVEN THERE, YES, WE ASSUME AN UNFAIR BURDEN.
And America is beginning to buckle under the weight of its global obligations.
* IF WE'RE SO FUCKING TOUGH... HOW COME WE CAN'T WIN A WAR AND KEEP IT WON? (SEE: AFGHANISTAN; IRAQ.)
* IF WE'RE SO FUCKING TOUGH... HOW COME OUR AIR FORCE (HAINAN ISLAND 2001) AND NAVY (IRAN 2016) SURRENDER RATHER THAN FIGHT WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE?
And as we have no claim to rocks or reefs in the South China Sea — Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines — why is this our quarrel?
* BECAUSE PREVENTING A HOSTILE AND AGGRESSIVE CHINA FROM EXPANDING HER MILITARY REACH TOO FAR FROM HER SHORES IS IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST, PAT.
* AGAIN, FOLKS... BUCHANAN IS MOSTLY RIGHT... USUALLY RIGHT... (*GRIN*)... BUT EVERY SO OFTEN HE'S "OFF" ON SOME OF THE... PARTICULARS.
If these rocks and reefs are so vital they are worth risking a military clash with China, why not, instead, impose tariffs on Chinese goods? Let U.S. companies and consumers pay the price of battling Beijing, rather than U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Let South Korea and Japan build up their forces to deal with the North, and put Beijing on notice that if China will not halt Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program, South Korea and Japan will build their own nuclear deterrents. Half a century ago, Britain and France did.
* MAKES SENSE.
Why must we forever deter and, if need be, fight North Korea?
* AGREED. (BUT KEEP IN MIND MY PREVIOUS STATEMENTS CONCERNING NORTH KOREA.)
And why is the defense of the Baltic republics and East Europe our responsibility, 5,000 miles away, not Germany’s, whose economy is far larger than that of Russia?
Even during the darkest days of the Cold War, U.S. presidents refused to take military action in Hungary, Czechoslovakia or Poland. When Moscow intervened there, the U.S. did nothing. When did the independence of Eastern Europe become so vital an interest that we would now risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia to ensure it?
* IT STARTED WITH THAT FRIGGIN' IDIOT BUSH...
Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack upon any of 28 allied nations is to be regarded as an attack upon all.
* TIME TO WIND DOWN NATO. (FOLKS... HOW MANY OF THOSE 28 NATIONS ARE WORTH ONE DROP OF AMERICAN BLOOD OR ONE CENT OF AMERICAN TREASURE?)
But is this the kind of blank check we should give Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, a few months back, ordered a Russian fighter plane that crossed into Turkish territory for 15 seconds be shot down? Do we really want to leave to this erratic autocrat the ability to drag us into a war with Russia?
When Neville Chamberlain in 1939 handed a war guarantee to a junta of Polish colonels, who also had an exaggerated opinion of their own military power and prowess, how did that work out for the Brits?
* NO, FOLKS... I'M NOT SAYING WE WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER OFF HAD WW2 NOT PLAYED OUT AS IT DID, WITH HITLER'S GERMANY AND IMPERIAL JAPAN BEING CRUSHED... BUT... YOU GET BUCHANAN'S POINT - RIGHT? THERE'S TALKING THE TALK AND THERE'S WALKING THE WALK AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE CALL YOUR BLUFF - WITH TRAGIC RESULTS.
America should not write off the Baltic Republics or Eastern Europe. But we should rule out any U.S.-Russian war in Eastern Europe and restrict a U.S. response to Russian actions there to the economic and diplomatic. For the one certain loser of a U.S.-Russian conflict in Eastern Europe — would be Eastern Europe.
* BY THE WAY... THE RUSSIANS AREN'T GOING TO INVADE EASTERN EUROPE.
(*ROLLING MY EYES*)
As for Iran, the U.S. intelligence community, in 2007 and 2011, declared with high confidence that it had no nuclear weapons program.
* THAT IS TRUE!
Since the Iran nuclear treaty was signed, 98% of Iran’s enriched uranium has been shipped out of the country; no more 20% enriched uranium is being produced; the Arak reactor that could have produced plutonium has been scuttled and reconfigured; and nuclear inspectors are crawling all over every facility.
* HMM... I DO FEAR PAT IS OVERSTATING THE CASE HERE. (BUT FRANKLY... LET ISRAEL DEAL WITH IRAN; LET OUR ABAB "ALLIES" DEAL WITH IRAN.)
Talk of Iran having a secret nuclear-bomb program and testing intercontinental missiles comes, unsurprisingly, from the same folks who assured us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
(*BITING MY LOWER LIP*)
The goal is the same: Stampede America into fighting another war, far away, against a nation they want to see smashed.
Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this country has been steadily bled and slowly bankrupted. We are now as overextended as was the British Empire in the 1940s.
And like that empire, we, too, are being challenged by nations that seek to enlarge their place in the sun — a resurrected Russia, China, Iran. And we are being bedeviled by fanatics who want us out of their part of the world, which they wish to remake according to the visions of their own faiths and ideologies.
Time for a reappraisal of all of the war guarantees this nation has issued since the beginning of the Cold War, to determine which, if any, still serve U.S. national interests in 2016.
* YES, MY FRIENDS - U.S. NATIONAL INTERESTS - THAT SHOULD BE OUR FOCUS!
Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war.
* TOO MANY "ALLIANCES," THAT IS; THE WRONG "ALLIES," THAT IS.
* FOLKS... YOU ALL HAVE MANY FRIENDS... MANY FAMILY MEMBERS; DON'T TELL ME YOU'D DO ANYTHING FOR ANY OF THEM... BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT'S NOT TRUE. WE ALL HAVE LIMITED RESOURCES - TIME, MONEY - AND WHAT YOU MIGHT DO FOR YOUR KID OR YOUR SIBLING OR YOUR BEST FRIEND IS A FAR DIFFERENT MATTER THAN WHAT YOU'D DO FOR SOMEONE NOT AS CLOSE.
* AND THAT'S NOT A BAD THING. THAT'S ACKNOWLEDGING REALITY!