Americans instinctively know that empires bring more wars, not fewer. Over the centuries, Europeans have had ample opportunity to learn the same lesson, and many still understand it. The surge of so-called “populism” in much of the world today, and not just the West, is largely about not being dragooned into empires, in which taxes and mandates on the people, and each generation’s fighting men, are devoted to the agendas of rulers at some level that can’t be held accountable.
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We don’t fight for abstractions that may bring others unknown to us under the rule of emperors. We fight so that fighting will stop, and we will have homes to go home to when it does. We fight so that the vulnerable and beloved among us can live securely in peace. We fight so that empires cannot prey on us, whether attacking us in our cities and farms or denying us tradeways and travel and interaction with our fellow men. We fight so that self-organizing “tribes,” subject to ideological fits, cannot wage guerrilla war among us.
On the PBS News Hour today or yesterday two American think-tank people discussed the Biden administration’s new enthusiasm for promoting a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war. (The Biden people now sound like Elon Musk, except that when Musk said it people who usually support Biden called Musk a Putin supporter. Perhaps Biden finds that he can be more flexible now that the elections are over.)
One of the think-tank people, agreeing with the Administration, said that an imperfect negotiated settlement in Ukraine is preferable to the risk of nuclear war. The other think tanker said that, on the contrary, the Ukrainians are winning, and since their cause is just we should help them to reclaim all of their land and win a complete victory. The obvious (unasked) question was, Why should we even consider taking such a risk? We may sympathize with Ukraine and supply them with weapons, but risk a major war? A possible perfect outcome isn’t worth additional fighting, death, unpredictability and geopolitical peril if a muddled-through deal that leaves everyone unhappy but puts a quick stop to the fighting is available.
The Biden people and too many members of Congress have been gratuitously bellicose towards Russia. And of course Biden pulled us out of Afghanistan in a way that could only have encouraged Putin to invade Ukraine. Our leaders have forgotten, or never knew, the first principles to which J.E. Dyer alludes.
9 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: Veterans Day 2022”
All is explained when the money is revealed. If they say “It’s not about the money,” it’s about the money. Of course the money won’t be revealed. Just assume corruption and you won’t be disappointed.
This is a great insight – we’ve never wanted an empire it seemed to me
Governing an empire requires a great deal of expense of men and money; at heart we’ve always been pretty much into a more muddle it through ourselves. But also we don’t have what some call confidence and others arrogance to run other peoples countries. The essence of the city on the hill is that we show something works then figure it’s up to others to notice it does. The Brit’s seem to me to mostly have most things right but the maddening thing about them is they are pretty sure they got it all right. Suspect the Roman’s did too
Anyway thanks for the perspective. Still think we should help them as much as possible and don’t see anything that gives the Russians much is likely to be something the Ukrainians will rue in the long run. Death is terrible but I feel more strongly that me grandchildren should live in freedom as much as in peace
“This is a great insight – we’ve never wanted an empire it seemed to me”
So the 800+ military bases all over the planet mean nothing at all?
The situation now has changed. Putin’s very restrained approach to the SMO was always opposed by the Russian Military and now that has failed, they are running the show. The reason Putin’s plan failed was that NATO is now the entity fighting this war, and its C&C and ability to see what is happening is far beyond anything the Ukrainians can do. He really should have seen that coming.
So the Russian MOD withdrew from Kherson as its not tenable and they will not waste Russian lives there. The fight west from the Donbass is going well and this will now be a more conventional war, as the MOD gets its act together. I do not expect negotiations, and the Russians view this as a setback, not a defeat.
We can look at almost any war and wonder if it was worth it — especially to those who died on the battlefields.
Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world in battle after battle, and then the whole thing collapsed when he died. Rome totally destroyed Carthage in 3 consecutive wars, and then Rome passed away. London pushed its subjects into wars all over the world, and now the British Empire is dead. Many US citizens died in a dreadful civil war “over slavery”, and yet much broader slavery all over the world came to an end about the same time without any such blood-letting. Was World War I worth it for any of the participants? Did World War II bring Germans any benefit?
Sadly, however pointless, war is the way that some Political Classes try to exert their dominance, and other Political Classes have to respond in kind. Very sad that the US is now in thrall to an evil Political Class which has been killing people and supporting wars all over the world for decades. If there is a God in Heaven, we will all have to pay a heavy price for letting Our Betters behave this way.
Mike K, I agree, Qui bono is always the place to start. I just wish more people would ask it. Certainly the Press doesn’t.
so ftx was the laundry back to the states,
clint eastwood said he was antiwar, because it never really solves anything, dwight eisenhower said something similar at the tail end of his presidency, before the military industrial complex speech,
take the long view, who won the world war in the end, Germany, despite having lost the two major engagements, they own Europe, who won in Asia, likely China, after Korea and Vietnam
So there are 867 American military bases spread all over the world. A visual database is interesting: https://worldbeyondwar.org/no-bases/
“All is explained when the money is revealed. If they say “It’s not about the money,” it’s about the money. Of course the money won’t be revealed. Just assume corruption and you won’t be disappointed.”
Money and power. If it’s not money, it’s power. If it’s not power – it’s money. Pretty much every weaponized conflict can be explained with this.
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