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By Bruce Walker
Freedom loving democracies have proven very good at winning wars, consistently exceeding the expectations of leftists, whose instinct is to view Americans, Israelis and Britons as soft and gullible. The truth is different. Democracies with broad spectra of opinions and beliefs represent millions of individual hearts and minds. Reaching the painful decision to war requires soul searching by these millions, but once that consensus forms, these democracies are juggernauts.
The free democracies have had four chances in the last sixty years to secure total victory after decisively winning a war. Each time democracies hesitated. Each time democracies paid a higher price in the following years. It is important - indeed, vital - that we not make this mistake again.
In 1940, any sensible Frenchman understood that Britain could not possibly continue to fight a flock of enemies that including not only the open foes of Germany and Italy, but the secret hostility of Russia, Japan, Argentina, Egypt, and a dozen other envious nations anxious for the British Imperialists to get their comeuppance.
Events took a very different path. Britain recovered its army at Dunkirk, sunk the French Fleet in Algeria, beat the vaulted Luftwaffe, crippled the Italian fleet at Taranto, and routed the Italian Army in the most lopsided victory between modern armies in the Twentieth Century. And this was all in the last half of 1940.
After the end of the Second World War, after the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan, the United States had the power to virtually impose its will upon the rest of the world. Moreover, it had every moral right to do so.
The French had collapsed with breathtaking ease in 1940, and even worse, they sat passively behind the Maginot Line while panzers and the Luftwaffe savaged brave Poland. The Italians were unsympathetic to the Fascists siding with the odious National Socialists, but they still fought beside Hitler's forces. The Soviet Union played an important role in defeating Germany, but this was not because Stalin wished to fight Hitler but rather because Hitler attacked Russia.
The Soviet Union and France had not earned any "right" to be permanent members of the Security Council or guarantors of world peace. Canada and Poland had much stronger moral claims to those permanent seats than France or Russia. Indeed, Italy had a stronger claim for membership on the Security Council than France did. Histories gloss over what the Italians did in 1943: not only did the Grand Fascist Council strip Mussolini of his powers and offices, but Italy formally entered the war against Germany.
Communist apologists and other leftists pretend that the Soviet Union, with its vast army and heavy armor, was coequal in military power to the United States. In fact, Soviet power was vastly weaker.
America naval and air power surpassed all the rest of the world combined. The economic dynamo, which had already begun to shift to a consumer economy before the end of the war, dwarfed all the other major powers combined, and that is considering that its factories not only supplied all the needs of the huge American armies, fleets and air forces, but built the ships to carry supplies to Britain and Russia and supplied much of the military and transport equipment used by both of these nations as well as food, oil, and other valuable goods.
Beyond all this, until 1949 the United States had a complete monopoly on atomic weapons and for an even longer period it had a monopoly on the delivery systems needed to use these weapons. America could have reformed the governments and the borders of every nation on Earth, had it chosen to do so in 1945.
The decision not to do so cost the world decades of needless wars, huge armament expenditures, enslavement of almost half of mankind, and the psychic pain of the nuclear Sword of Damocles. America should have expended the year or two of continued fighting to insure that only relatively free, peaceful democracies existed in Europe and Asia.
Something like that, on a smaller scale, happened twenty-two years later. Israel in 1967 utterly routed its Arab neighbors. Today it is dumbfounding to consider all the nations at war with Israel and how quickly Israel beat them all. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Kuwait, Libya and Tunisia all sent military forces to fight Israel. Within six days, Israeli tanks had open roads to Cairo, Damascus and Amman. Yet the Israeli Defense Force stopped.
If there was ever evidence that all Israel really wanted was peace, here was the proof. But was the decision to be lenient wise? Probably not. If Israel had overrun Egypt, and maintained exclusive control (i.e. both sides) of the Suez Canal, it would have given Israel vast leverage and much cash in the following years.
If Israel had grabbed the water supplies and oil fields, which were within its easy grasp in June 1967, it could not only have paid for the costs of the IDF and protected Israel from threats to water supplies, but diluted or broken the political threat of OPEC. Thirty-six years later, Israel is still waiting for peace. Had Israel won total victory in 1967, there would not be homicide bombers killing Jewish children today.
Twelve years ago, American and coalition military forces had decisively defeated not only the most battle-tested army on Earth, but the fourth largest army on Earth. Although everyone agrees now that we should have deposed the Ba'athist thugocracy of Saddam Hussein, it is useful to understand just how much was lost by that bad decision.
Iraq occupied by coalition forces at that point in history would not be over the loud objections of French and other European nations. They could have participated in the establishment of a moderate Arab nation, and acquired a vested interest in its success. A prosperous, relatively free Shia nation next to Iran would have produced even more problems for the mullahs than they have today. Indeed, it is difficult to see how the oligarchies of Teheran could have stayed in power.
If Iran did try to "fill the power vacuum" by attacking Iraq, that would have been met by American forces fighting beside Iraqi forces to liberate Iran. This would have allowed the profound Persian cultural influence in Central Asia, especially among the former Soviet socialist republics in that region, to be oriented more toward America and western democratic values.
As we learn how little Russia and China like us, influence with these new nations contiguous to both those two behemoths would have been very valuable. The Iranian people, by 1991, were quite sick of the corrupt and cruel mullahs. An independent Iran would have been a priceless asset.
And, of course, stable and healthy governments in Iran and Iraq would have kept the price of oil low, which in turn would have kept the world for the recession (or, in some parts of the world, depression) that may cause much more mischief in our future.
Now we stand at a crossroads again. Syria is a rogue gang of terrorists, rather than a true nation. Iran is an oppressive regime intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. North Korea will soon have the power to incinerate a major Japanese city with impunity. Libya will do all the mischief that it can, and if it acquires even a few nuclear weapons, that means the ability to evaporate any large city in southern Europe in an hour. Cuba remains a nightmarish regime with a dying megalomaniac.
Now is the time to end the odious cliques ruling each of these five governments. Some actions will be tricky. We cannot expect to conquer and occupy North Korea - it is enough to end the reign of the paranoid child running that nation, and allow it to descend into a nation within the recognized spheres of influence of China, Russia and Japan.
Iran should logically fall from within, although American support in every way short of ground invasion would insure that result. It would be enough if we were able to have friendly relations with a growing Persian power, perhaps resuming sales of American arms to the Iranian military (American arms are now much more marketable than Russian or French arms, and our military advisors, technicians and spare parts provide a link to America).
Cuba and Libya are fairly simply exercises, much more direct and much less dangerous than Afghanistan or Iraq. Purging decades of propaganda will be hard, but not impossible, and ending mischief these two terrorist nations will greatly simplify our problems in the Arab world and Latin America.
Syria will be complex peace keeping, but fairly direct conquest. If Syria is conquered and occupied, then several terrorist networks that keep the Palestinians in constant ferment can be quenched. Lacking any external support, the murderers within the Palestinians will find it impossible to survive long.
Will this make nations hate us? They hate us already. They must learn instead to fear us. They must watch the Libyan and Cuban thugs cast out of power and into their own prisons. They must see the pent-up anger of the tormented Iranian people unleashed upon their indigenous tormentors and not the phantom scapegoats of America and Israel.
What about the opinion of the graying sophisticated nations? If they wish us to listen to Paris or Berlin or Tokyo or Moscow, then the governments of these nations must stop trying to chip away at our well-earned power and prestige. Then we will listen.
The democracies have had three prior chances to turn breathtaking military victories into breathtaking geopolitical realignments. This fourth time around, it was largely America against the world. We won; the world lost. Like Israel, America cannot afford to lose a war. Now, we cannot afford to lose a peace either. This time military victory must mean total political victory as well.
Bruce Walker is
a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The
Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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