The Roosevelt administration once talked loudly of pivoting to Asia to thwart a rising Japan. As a token of its seriousness, in May 1940 it moved the home port of the Seventh Fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor — but without beefing up the fleet’s strength.
The then-commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral James O. Richardson, an expert on the Japanese Imperial Navy, protested vehemently over such a reckless redeployment. He felt that the move might invite, but could not guard against, surprise attack.
Richardson was eventually relieved of his command and his career was ruined — even as he was later proved right when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Britain at the same time promoted a loud Singapore Strategy, trumpeting its Malaysian base as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.” But London did not send out up-to-date planes, carriers, or gunnery to the Pacific.
Japan was not impressed. It surprise-attacked the base right after Pearl Harbor. The British surrendered Singapore in February 1942, in the most ignominious defeat in British military history.
By 1949, the U.S. was pledged to containing the expansion of Communism in Asia — even as Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson (who had been chief fundraiser for Truman’s 1948 campaign) declared that the Navy and Marines were obsolete. He began to slash both their budgets. Continue reading “Loud + Weak = War”→
The gangster state of North Korea became a nuclear power in 2006–07, despite lots of foreign aid aimed at precluding just such proliferation — help usually not otherwise accorded such a loony dictatorship. Apparently the civilized world rightly suspected that, if nuclear, Pyongyang would either export nuclear material and expertise to other unstable countries, or bully its successful but non-nuclear neighbors — or both.
The United States has given billions of dollars in foreign aid to Pakistan, whose Islamist gangs have spearheaded radical anti-American terrorism. Ever since a corrupt Pakistan went nuclear in 1998, it has been able to extort such foreign-aid payouts — on fears that one of its nukes might end up in the hands of terrorists.
By any measure of economic success or political stability, without nuclear weapons Pakistan would not warrant either the cash or the attention it wins.
An observant Iran appreciates three laws of current nuclear gangbanging:
1. Nuclear weapons earn a reputation.
2. The more loco a nuclear nation sounds, the more likely it is that civilized states will fear that it is not subject to nuclear deterrence, and so the more likely that they will pay bribes for it to behave. Gangbangers always claim they have nothing to lose; their more responsible intended targets have everything to lose.
3. As of yet there are no 100 percent effective nuclear-defense systems that can guarantee non-nuclear powers absolute safety from a sudden attack. The nuclear gangbanger, not the global police, currently has Continue reading “Nuclear Gangbangers”→
The modern West demonstrates a phenomenon unknown in history––unprecedented wealth, technology, and access to information combined with abject stupidity. Wisdom once known by every village explainer and cracker-barrel crank has been discarded and replaced with phony “sciences” making claims about human nature and behavior that are based on nothing other than false assumptions, political ideology, and wishful thinking. Whether it’s foreign policy, managing the economy, or teaching the young, our leaders institute policies that violate the traditional wisdom accumulated by generations of human experience. Continue reading “Rich, Arrogant, and Stupid”→
After the election, dozens of op-eds — I wrote one myself — cautioned the president about second-term overreach, focusing on how either hubris or simple fate has seemed to do in most modern second presidential terms. Continue reading “Obama’s Non-Triangulation”→
Former president Bill Clinton just appeared in a reelection television commercial for President Barack Obama. At one point, Clinton weighs in on the potential consequences of Obama’s decision to go ahead with the planned assassination of Osama bin Laden. Continue reading “Presidential Narcissism”→