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Will 2015 Bring War?

“If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you,” said Calvin Coolidge, whose portrait hung in the Cabinet Room of the Reagan White House. Among the dispositions shared by the two conservatives was a determination to stay out of other people’s wars.

Peering into 2015, there are wars into which our interventionists are eager to plunge that represent no immediate or grave threat to us.

One is the war the Islamic State group is waging in Syria and Iraq, a menace so great, we are told, it may require U.S. ground troops. But why? Syria and Iraq are 5,000 miles away. And because of its barbarism and incompetence, the Islamic State is losing support in the Sunni lands it now occupies.

The Kurds have halted the group’s advance toward Irbil, Iraq. Shiite militias, no friends of ours, have halted its advance toward Baghdad. The Islamic State is under steady drone and air attack by the U.S. and Arab allies. Iran is providing men and materiel to Damascus and Baghdad in their battle against the group. Now the Turks and Gulf Arabs, including the Saudis, appear to have awakened to the threat and are weighing in against the Islamic State.

Why not let them do the fighting?

By staying out of the two world wars of the 20th century until the other great powers were fully engaged and horribly bled, America emerged triumphant with the fewest casualties and least damage. That used to be called statesmanship.

Moreover, compared with Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s USSR and Mao’s China, the Islamic State doesn’t even make the “JV,” to use Barack Obama’s term.

Last month, the drums were beating for an attack on North Korea for what Sen. John McCain called a “new form of warfare” and what Sen. Lindsey Graham called “cyberterrorism” aided by China. In “A Reply to Kim’s Cyberterrorism,” the Wall Street Journal urged a “forceful response” to deter “future attacks.” Swiftly, there followed the crashing of North Korea’s Internet system.

Query: If reports are true that Sony Pictures was hacked by ticked-off ex-employees yet North Korea’s Internet was brought down by a U.S. cyberattack, who is the cyberterrorist now? Perhaps some of those Iranian technicians in Natanz who watched their centrifuges breaking down and blowing up from the Stuxnet virus have some thoughts on this.

But the most determined push for war in 2015 will come from neocons and interventionists who want a U.S.-Putin confrontation and regime change in Russia. And as Russia has a nuclear arsenal to match our own, this is a matter of real gravity. Because of U.S.-EU sanctions on Russia for its role in Ukraine and the collapse in the price of oil, Russia’s principal export, the ruble has lost half its value, and the economy faces a contraction of 5 percent in 2015.

Real hardships lie ahead for the Russian people. But it seems they are not blaming Vladimir Putin for their troubles. They are blaming us.

“According to the respected Moscow ‘Levada Center,’ which measures political sentiment in Russian society,” the New York Observer reports, “74 percent of Russians have negative feelings towards the USA. … In the 1990s, 80 percent had positive attitude toward America.

“Currently, 76 percent of Russians hate Obama personally and only a meager 2 percent like him. … These are the maximum peaks of anti-American feelings in Russia in years. … Just last week Visa and MasterCard completely stopped their operations in Crimea, leaving more than 2 million people there without access to their money.”

One Moscow supermarket is using American flags as doormats, and customers are wiping their feet on them.

Before going home, Congress voted to levy new sanctions on Russia and authorized U.S. lethal weapons to be sent to Kiev to enable Ukraine to retake Luhansk and Donetsk and perhaps Crimea. Obama signed the bill.

With Republican hawks taking over all congressional committees dealing with foreign and defense policy, peace and war, in the new year, there will be a competitive clamor that Obama send the guns to Kiev.

And what happens then?

Will Putin abandon the rebels and face the rage of the Russian people for backing down? Will Putin wait for the U.S. anti-tank weapons and ammunition to arrive and be sent to eastern Ukraine? Or will Putin, a decisive sort, send in the Russian army before the U.S. weapons arrive, hive off a land bridge to Crimea—and maybe more for bartering purposes—and call Obama’s bluff?

In his New Year’s message to the Russian people, Putin hailed the annexation of Crimea as an achievement that will “forever remain a landmark in the national history.” Doesn’t sound as if he’ll be giving Crimea up any time soon.

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” said the wise Yogi Berra. But one prediction seems not too risky.

Either Obama and Putin enter negotiations over Ukraine or the war in Ukraine, with 4,700 dead since April, gets bigger and wider.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of  The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. [1] Copyright 2014 Creators.com.

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19 Comments To "Will 2015 Bring War?"

#1 Comment By balconesfault On January 2, 2015 @ 1:19 am

It is a bad thing, albeit in some ways understandable, that much of the clamor on the right for upcoming military intervention is coming from long-time died in the wool neocons who never seem to see a conflict that the US shouldn’t be a part of.

It is a travesty, and a mockery of our political system, that there’s no shortage of those on the right who are pushing for war not because they contend that the US has a role in some of those conflicts, or because they believe our intervention will actually improve anything … but because they think the US getting involved in a war will stain Obama’s reputation. Which explains their cynical rush to be painting Obama as “weak” each time some tyrant or terrorists act badly somewhere in the world.

But given how the GOP has been able to work to block most of Obama’s economic recovery measures, and then be rewarded for blaming Obama for the slow pace of the recovery … this could work for them too as they keep their eye on the prize.

That prize, of course, not being a healthy America free of being entangled in geopolitical struggles that pose little or no existential risk to us … but the 2016 Presidential election.

#2 Comment By Rich Broderick On January 2, 2015 @ 2:00 am

I’d pick door number two — Putin solidifies his hold on the Crimea and begins undermining the regimes in our NATO allies Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (none of which, oddly enough, are located anywhere near the Atlantic Ocean) and in NATO-wannabe, Georgia. As Gorbachev was getting ready to let the Soviet Union dissolve he received a solemn pledge from George Bush I that the U.S. would not try to expand NATO eastward. Obviously, our real policy the past 25 years has been to try to kick Russia while it was down — a policy that’s coming home to haunt us.

#3 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 2, 2015 @ 2:58 am

This is foreign policy, wagged by Wall Street rules.

#4 Comment By Michael N Moore On January 2, 2015 @ 6:16 am

It is time to wake up to the fact that NeoCons are not just Zionists. They are imperial fanatics and salesmen for the military industrial complex. Their full time job is fomenting war.

Janine Wedel reports on page 8 of her book “Shadow Elite” on the archetypical, but low profile, NeoCon, Bruce P. Jackson. He left the Department of Defense for a position at Lockheed as VP for strategy and planning. While there he helped found the US Committee to Expand NATO with Perle and Wolfowitz. Jackson was also project director of the Project for a New American Century. In 1997 his job at Lockheed was to secure new international markets for that military contractor. He served on the Republican national security platform committee. He was important to winning Senate approval to expand NATO into Eastern Europe. Jackson was also a founder of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

#5 Comment By JP On January 2, 2015 @ 10:17 am

Russia is a demographic basket case. Its population is aging, many villages in the rural areas are being abandoned, and its economy is a one trick pony (highly dependent upon energy exports). Yes, its military is still formidable from a regional point of view; but the Russian military lacks the resources and training to project its power around the globe. Ergo, the US should not focus on the “Rising Bear”.

In retrospect, the Iraqi war (2003-2009) was a strategic blunder. However, no one could imagine an even more brutal regime replacing Saddam’s. ISIS, while lacking in sophistication, is a credible threat. If it does manage to conquer Iraq, it does pose a threat to Kuwait and Saudi Arabian oil fields. However, Iran and Turkey will insure that does not happen. Our total exit from Iraq was an unforced error on our part. But reinserting large scale combat units into this area is a huge mistake. First of all, Obama does not have the authority to do so – no matter what his lawyers say. The American people do not want that. And if the President does wish to bring on impeachment, this would be the issue that would do it. Once the new Congress convenes, there will be a significant block of lawmakers that will contest any unilateral move on part of Obama. We already have over 1000 special forces operators there, already. Obama never went to Congress and asked for additional funding. That is where the initial hot point will be.

This isn’t 2002, with the ashes of the WTC still burning. After spending $2 trillion on the WOT since 2002 and 4000 dead servicemen, the American people simply do not wish to involve the nation in another War to Nowhere.

#6 Comment By David Naas On January 2, 2015 @ 10:56 am

I have suddenly realized WHY torture is the NeoCons designer drug. If you piss off enough people around the world, you will have no shortage of enemies, and wars in perpetuity.

Who’s running the NeoCon foreign office, Ribbentrop?

#7 Comment By I Don’t Matter On January 2, 2015 @ 11:31 am

Mr Broderick, the three Baltic countries you mentioned are called “Baltic” for a geographical reason. You may want to check it out.

#8 Comment By tzx4 On January 2, 2015 @ 4:32 pm

@JP
“In retrospect, the Iraqi war (2003-2009) was a strategic blunder.”

“in retrospect” really?

With all due respect and humility, the Iraqi blunder was apparent to me months before the first “shock and awe” bombing commenced. The level of directly discernible lies and pounding war drums and outright propaganda emanating from the political and media classes here in the USA, and directly from Mr. Bush’s lips in his televised speeches and interviews was astoundingly painfully apparent to my mind’s eyes. I was exposed to Fox news for one hour at that (pre-war)time, and the EXTREME pro-war slant they were presenting made want to run screaming from the waiting room I was in. It was revolting and frightening.

#9 Comment By Clint On January 2, 2015 @ 5:10 pm

Putin and the Liberal Interventionist.

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#10 Comment By RadicalCenter On January 2, 2015 @ 6:30 pm

I Don’t Matter: Broderick’s point was that those countries are not on the Atlantic Ocean and thus do not fit, by definition, in an alliance called “North Atlantic.”

Was either one of those points incorrect?

#11 Comment By RadicalCenter On January 2, 2015 @ 6:38 pm

JP: Excellent point about Russia’s demographic death spiral.

Even if Russia’s population were growing — which it is not — it is not that substantial compared to current world powers (China, USA) and the larger contenders to be future world powers.

Russia has less than half the population of Brazil.

Russia has fewer people than Pakistan.

Russia will sooner have fewer people than the Philippines.

Russia soon will be unable to fight any major conventional conflict against China, the USA, or even lesser military powers.

Russians suffer from a grossly inadequate fertility rate (except among Muslims in Russia proper and the Caucausus) and their population declined in at least about 20 of the past 25 years, sometimes precipitously.

The Russian population is aging more than the populations of China, the USA, and many others. Soon there will be thousands of villages across the Russian Far East which are totally abandoned or populated overwhelmingly by elderly people.

The massive, burgeoning, much younger, increasingly well-equipped Chinese population just across the border — and even on “Russian” territory itself already — will not be deterred forever….

Unlike many in the US government, I think these trends, and Russia’s permanent, irrevocable decline, are NOT in America’s interests.

#12 Comment By balconesfault On January 3, 2015 @ 10:56 am

@Clint Putin and the Liberal Interventionist

A pretty poor writing job. But I particularly liked this line:

“But Remnick completely misses the plot in trying to explain Putin’s new anti-Americanism, which is arguably the most important question of all given a possible nuclear conflict over Ukraine.”

Sorry. We’re not launching nukes over the Ukraine. You can bury that particular right wing pornography in the trash-bin.

#13 Comment By Rossbach On January 3, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

“Unlike many in the US government, I think these trends, and Russia’s permanent, irrevocable decline, are NOT in America’s interests.”

While this statement is certainly true, we need to remember that the long-term interest of the American people is a matter of small importance to the globalist elite in DC who decide matters of war and peace for us.

#14 Comment By EngineerScotty On January 3, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

Lots of NATO members don’t border the Atlantic Ocean (north or otherwise), including longstanding members back when there was a Soviet threat to defend against. While I won’t argue pro or con concerning the wisdom of admitting the Baltic states into NATO, the fact that they touch the Baltic Sea rather than the Atlantic Ocean proper, is not a very good argument.

#15 Comment By I Don’t Matter On January 3, 2015 @ 10:47 pm

RadicalCenter, excelent point about demographics, and definitely declining and falling-apart Russia is not in any rational person’s interest (amazing how so many Russians paranoidally refuse to understand this).
When yours truly was growing up there, way before the horrors of the nineties, the most common number of children per family among my peers was 1 (one). This collapse started way before Gorbachev.

#16 Comment By Bangle On January 4, 2015 @ 9:10 am

Of course if the west specifically the E.U. and the U.S. would stop kicking sand in the Bear’s (Russian) face then maybe the Bear would act more in accordance with what the west wants. There is some pretty solid evidence that shows that western meddling led to this latest round of civil chaos in the Ukraine. And that outside western meddling led to the 2014 coup and the over-throw of a duly elected Ukrainian president who was forced to flee to Russia. There is little doubt that over the last three decades the west has been trying to splinter the Russian federation (and during the Reagan era the Russians assisted in their own demise) with the intent of bringing at a minimum the Ukraine (granted semi-autonomy prior to Gorbachev) under the NATO umbrella and into the European geopolitical sphere of influence. This latest western attempt at Ukrainian realignment with the west appeared to be a good gambit until Putin called the bluff first with the annexation of the Crimea and then with his firm stand against the coup and protection of ethnic Russians in the eastern Ukraine along with protecting the long and tenuous border between Russia and Ukraine. It would seem that a prudent course of action for the U.S. would be to stop the chicken-hawk saber rattling and war posturing toward Russia and to work with the current Russian regime to further a geopolitical strategy that is beneficial to both nations. Before the coup there was to be a Ukrainian election in several months at which time there would have been a relative peaceful transition of power from the coup related ouster of a legitimate government and there is no indication that Putin had any intentions of interfering with that election process or the results of the election. Sometimes the law of unintended consequences is powerful incentive which negates rash action. To bad the west didn’t take that into consideration when it undertook more meddling into Ukrainian and by consequence Russian civic and national and geopolitical affairs.

#17 Comment By Alex On January 4, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

The USA turned into the Soviet Union. The US do not respect sovereign countries, for example why does the US changed banking system rules of Switzerland? Why the foreign policy of the UE comes from Washington? The US has been humiliating Russia for decades and wanted that they will be cleared from the map. Russia had recovered of their collapse and it does not satisfy Obama.
What you did in Irak 1,2 and 3, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and so on and so on you have made things worse and you CIA created a 2 monsters far worse than north Korea and communism. Can’t you politics mind their own business and take care of your folks in the US and your debts instead of killing and suffering people abroad. You got only 4 centuries of history so you do not understand how the world is running and stop colonizing the world.

#18 Comment By SmoothieX12 (aka Andrew) On January 4, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

Russia has less than half the population of Brazil.

How about getting your facts straight?

#19 Comment By Clint On January 5, 2015 @ 10:37 am

@balconesfault:

Top 10 warning signs of ‘liberal imperialism’

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