Clinton and 1922: is history repeating itself?

By James Henry
web posted July 19, 1999

The ancient Romans said if you want peace, prepare for war. Somehow this is also the downside of the better-known saying that history always repeats itself. Why? Because it is not that history repeats itself at all, it's just that people tend to repeat their mistakes. The great mistake America is repeating is to forget that wise Roman saying. Under Clinton America has been preparing for defeat. Peace comes through strength. In a pacific world the need for military might would not exist. But we live, as we have done since time immemorial, in a dangerous and uncertain world. A world in which powers rise and fall.

In one sense, American power is unique because it springs from a country that was born into liberty. This uniqueness offers no protection against aggression. That can only come from fear. Make no mistake: might is fear and it is fear that keeps democracy safe. It is fear that keeps potential enemies at bay, not treaties. Any treaty between a democracy and a tyranny is only as good as the ability and willingness of that democracy to defend itself. Clinton has greatly reduced this ability thus putting America in grave peril. Democracies are dangerously pacific. This means that once a democracy runs down its armed forces it can become politically impossible to raise the funds to restore them to the appropriate level.

There will always be siren voices telling us that there is no foreseeable danger, which makes as much sense as saying that one should never try to secure property until after it is stolen. The same voices use this fallacious argument to demand that any so-called social spending should always take precedent over defence spending, which is really arguing that defence has no social value. That these arguments are largely articulated by the ant-capitalist Left and its media allies comes as no surprise. This is the same group that considers America an exploitative, racist and unjust country. The very same group Kirkpatrick aptly called the "America-stinks crowd". Now it has found its apogee in William Jefferson Clinton whose savaging of America's defense capability could very well bring on this country another "day that will live in infamy". Only this time it might be our epitaph.

A quick review of the serious damage that Clinton has done to this country's defenses will strengthen my argument. Something like 2,000 combat aircraft plus more than 232 bombers which comprised 20 air force and navy air wings have been abolished. Also gone are 207 ships including more than 121 combat ships plus of submarines and 4 carrier groups . The loss of these ships also meant that their shipyard facilities and the trained personnel needed to maintain them have been disbanded. The damage (or is it sabotage?) to the army and the nation's nuclear inventory has been equally devastating.

This brings us to the disastrous 1922 Washington Conference. The Anglo-Japanese Naval Treaty was to be renewed in 1922. As an alternative, the US government proposed the Washington Conference that would limit armaments. With a little judicious arm-twisting the US government persuaded Britain to abandon the Japanese relationship and sign a US treaty that would limit the capital ship ratio for Britain, America and Japan to 5:5:3. In addition, no new warships over 35,000 tons were to be built and a massive number of existing warships were to be scrapped. To placate the Japanese the treaty denied Britain the right to build mainfleet bases north of Singapore while America was denied the same right to build them west of Hawaii. To make matters worse, in 1930 Hoover managed to persuade, in the name of peace, Britain's labor government to make deep cuts to its naval forces.

The result was to break British naval power in the Pacific. There was no way this ratio would allow Britain to maintain a significant presence in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Something had to give. Moreover, the treaty made it impossible for the American fleet to quickly reach the British if they were attacked. These facts did not elude Japanese militarists who realised that this insane treaty opened up a military window of opportunity for them in Asia.

Thanks to this idiocy the British navy was severely weakened while the American navy became increasingly antiquated. By refusing to prepare for war America and Britain helped bring it about. The rise of appeasement in Britain coterminous with the rise of isolationism in the US persuaded tyrants that the democracies were morally and militarily too feeble to fight. The results were Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor. Not that any of this would influence the historically illiterate Richard Danzig, Secretary for the Navy and noted for his anti-defense views.

The US is making the same mistake today, but for different reasons. These men of the '20s and '30s were misguided idealists who literally did not grasp the nature of the totalitarian threat that was gradually taking shape in Europe and Japan. They really thought their actions were contributing to world peace and avoid another "Great War". They did not loathe their countries or despise their military. Clinton and his crew, however, are the exact opposite. They do not care a fig about their country and they loath the military. Their basic concern is their own selfish ends. If that puts at risk the security of the United States, so be it. Living in clover is all that the likes of Clinton care about. To this crowd, better to be a pampered Quisling than a patriotic sap.

But what brought them to this anti-patriotic state? Nearly forty years of 'progressive' ideology that left in its wake the insidious belief that America is an unjust society that does not deserve to survive. A belief that pervades the media and the three main networks in particular. Remember: 89 per cent of Washington journalists voted for Clinton and everything he stands for, including the destruction of our military.

What America needs is a moral revival and the media is a good place to start.

Reprinted with the kind permission of The New Australian, Australia's answer to stupidity.


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