Why we shouldn't fear the bear and the dragon
By Bruce Walker
A number of conservative commentators have noted, with alarm, that Russia and China have begun to involve themselves in support for terrorism and to note the dire potential consequences this may have upon our safety in the future. I am not one of those worried, provided that we adopt the right consistent strategy.
This involves identifying our interest in places like Iraq. Our interest is democracy, which the people seem to very much want themselves. It does not matter whether Iraqis like us ten years from now at all. We want Iraq to become like Turkey, South Korea, Taiwan or India. We want Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and in similar places to be democracies that want to live in peace.
This means that we need, at long last, to recognize that nations which treat America with contempt, like France and Sweden, but which are pacifist are no threat to us at all. If we could fill the planet with nations like those, then we would take one giant step toward a happy planet. The good news is that democracy does seem to take hold, when given support from America.
South Korea was once an undemocratic nation which toed the American line and now it is a prosperous democracy which snubs us sometimes. The latter is much better. Perhaps instead of promoting six party talks with the North Koreans, we should counter with five party talks - North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan and China. Those are the principals affected by a North Korean regional nuclear capability.
Russia, when it was the Soviet Union and when we were the "main enemy" was a genuine threat to us. No longer. The Russian Republic has half the population of the Soviet Union and the results of the Ukrainian election, in particular, are very encouraging. Soviet power was not just halved, however, by the bloodless Reagan gift to mankind.
The loss of East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria - Yugoslavia and Albania might be thrown in as well - deprived the Soviet Union of effective control of Warsaw Pact allies or communist dictatorships whose collective population and economies were equal to what Russia has today. And these have remained non-communist and non-integrated with Russia.
What was the Soviet Empire - Great Russia, smaller Soviet Socialist republics, Warsaw Pact "allies," and communist dictatorships in Europe - has been permanently reduced to one third of its old size. Moreover, any Great Russian aggression would first have to subdue Poland, Ukraine, Rumania, the Baltic states, Hungary and other lands.
Germany, a pacifist democracy, is much stronger than Russia and at the other end of the Russia nation, Japan, a pacifist democracy, is also much stronger than Russia. NATO, in large measure, no longer needs us. It almost does not even need itself. Russia, whose economy is only one tenth our size, provides no conventional military or economic threat to us at all.
What of China? On paper, China looks formidable, but China has always looked formidable on paper. As a military power, it has proven pathetically incompetent, despite its size and wealth. As an economic power, it is rising, but with that inevitably comes pressure for greater personal liberty and the same internal contradictions which made relatively affluent communist nations like East Germany and Hungary problem children of imperial communism will inevitably affect China.
The conventional threat China poses also poses the threat of great embarrassment. What if China tried to snatch Taiwan and was quickly and easily repulsed? Besides, wherever China pushes it will run into, inevitably, an alarmed Japan, a proud Russia, a large and growing India or a militant Islamic collection of states and tribes.
This leaves America free to consolidate our vital long-term strategy. First, as he is doing, President Bush must bring democracy to every nation we can and to every nation where it will take root; we will fail, sometimes, but we will win more often than we fail, and each victory is very important.
Second, we must develop a strategic defense system that protects America from all nuclear threats. This does not just mean a single missile defense system; it specifically means overkill on missile and related defense systems. It means creating layers of independent systems each of which, in theory, could stop any attack. It will, inevitably, mean throwing hundreds of billions of dollars over decades so that anyone who contemplates attacking us will face the defensive equivalent of triad.
Triad, for those who remember the Cold War, was a system of three completely independent ways of destroying Soviet cities. Submarine launched missiles were one leg; land based missiles were a second leg; airborne strategic bombers were a third leg. The theory was that even if the Soviets developed a way to intercept our bombers and destroy our missiles in their silos, it was all in vain unless they could destroy all three at once.
We must have two or three ways of uncoordinated and independent systems for stopping nuclear attacks on America and each of these systems should evolve at their own pace under their own command with the same mission. America has the money and the technology and the culture to do this. No one else can or can even come close.
Third, we must develop enough oil reserves to supply our nation and we should so subsidize domestic production of oil that instead of oil being used as a weapon against us, we can threaten Russia, Iran, Chavez in Venezuela and other unfriendly powers to dry up their markets. An excellent first step would be, by executive order, for President Bush to declare in this war that we must drill anywhere and everywhere and, explicitly, overrun federal judges all the way up to the nine geriatrics in enforcing this.
A good second step would be to end all domestic taxation on oil produced in the United States. That would dramatically stimulate production and make the oil affordable. Finally, the United States should build up the largest possible oil reserves - buying at a set, low, but profitable rate - and then, when we need to get the attention of the mullahs or Putin or Chavez, dump oil on the world markets.
Fourth, we must develop the human intelligence so often noted now but also marry that to good, old fashion cover operations. Consider, if you will, the value if we had a coup to remove Hussein and replace him with a group supported by American money and military might and committed to developing something like a real democracy. France and Germany would be forced to recognize the new government, whose claim would be the same as Hussein, or support a remnant Ba'athist element in powerless exile.
Fifth, we must maintain absolute command of the sea, of the air and of outer space. Our ability to strike anywhere and to protect America from conventional attack gives us a priceless advantage in any war There is a synergy to these activities as well, and the more we actually undertake research, development, training and operations - as we are doing - the wider the gap between us and anyone else.
Carry out these five things and the world will never face another world war, another nuclear threat, another gaggle of ghastly gulag operators. Do these things, and we will never need fear the Bear or the Dragon, and we can live safely until that happy day when everyone is free and is safe and is peaceful.
Bruce Walker is a contributing editor with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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