The Illogic of Empire

Regarding the situation in Georgia, Megan McArdle writes:

Another way to look at the question is: are we going to allow Russia to reassemble the old Russian empire? At its heart, that’s what this is about. Maybe we should; maybe it’s none of our business who Russia decides to invade, or what puppet governments they decide to prop up, so long as they don’t share a border with Germany.

I don’t mean that sarcastically–I can make all sorts of arguments in favor of this attitude. On the other hand, it has obvious, dramatic costs, including the fact that Russia’s imperial ambitions are unlikely to stop at the Georgian border. Also, as far as I know, Georgia controls the only major pipeline to Europe not owned by Russia or Iran–Russian control of Georgia would dramatically increase its negotiating power with the entire European Union.

There’s an old saying that I recall from my childhood: “You and what army?” The simple fact of the matter is that short of displaying a willingness to use nuclear weapons, Russia simply lacks the manpower and resources to expand its borders by force. Note that even right now, they are not invading Georgia proper–just the provinces in dispute. With a declining population, increasingly antiquated equipment, and a shaky economy outside of the energy sector, that’s about all they can do.

It’s also worth pointing out that, short of displaying a willingness to use nuclear weapons or engage in large-scale bombing of civilian populations, there’s not much that the United States could do right now to intervene in the situation in Georgia to any significant extent. Our manpower and resources are busy in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Military Affairs, , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    The simple fact of the matter is that short of displaying a willingness to use nuclear weapons, Russia simply lacks the manpower and resources to expand its borders by force.

    Contrariwise, I think that without being willing to face nuclear war we have no way of stopping them.

    On the positive side (if that’s the right word for it) they don’t need to. They can get everything they want without conquering their old territories outright and I suspect they’ll proceed right alone and do it. They’ll annex a little here and there (there are plenty of former Soviet citizens in the USS-were who’d welcome that) and Finlandize the rest.

  2. RW Rogers says:

    Note that even right now, they are not invading Georgia proper—just the provinces in dispute.

    According to The Telegraph and other reports from the area that have been available for some time now, Russian troops have advanced outside of the provinces in question, and effectively divided the country in two.

  3. A Stoner says:

    Actually, there is plenty that we can do. The single reason that our military seems stretched because of Afghanistan and Iraq is because of our Large footprints in places like Europe, South Korea, Japan and so forth. These forces are in place to stop these specific instances from continuing. Simply put, if America decides to back up Georgia, we would wipe the USSRRussian troops off the map in Georgia.
    Also take note in the fact that we do not have a huge need for Fighters and Bombers in Iraq or Afghanistan at the moment, and these forces could easily be shifted to assist Georgia, if that is what America decides to do.

  4. anjin-san says:

    Great plan stoner. When we have the Russian troops on the run and they use tactical nukes are your prepared to choose between defeat and WW3?

    Gotta love those armchair warriors…

  5. JohnG says:

    Iraq had a big enough army to take over Kuwait but Russia doesn’t have a big enough army to take over Georgia? Seriously?

    If Russia doesn’t conquer Georgia, it will be because they don’t want to, not because they aren’t able to.

  6. Pug says:

    Go get ’em, Stoner!

    You’re quite a strategic thinker for A. Stoner. On par, almost, with William Kristol who is also ready for war (as long as his children don’t have to fight).

  7. BiBiJon says:

    “Georgia controls the only major pipeline to Europe”

    There lies the sorry saga of US foreign policy. Remember, in 1997 Khatami, the tocqueville-quoting, walking-olive-branch president of Iran was asking for the pipeline to be routed to Iran, the answer was a neocon no. We will snake it through 5 countries in the midst of civil wars rather than engage Iran economically/diplomatically and go to the shorter rout to connect up to existing pipelines and pre-existing oil loading facilities in the gulf.

    The reformists in Iran got the rug pulled from under their feet. Ahmadinejad replaced Khatami. etc. etc.

    The black or white rendition of the world left no grey areas. Georgia encouraged to fantasize about joining NATO, threw caution to the wind, and here we have it.

    This neocon thing just keeps on giving.

    For a reality check on Iran, see
    http://www.bibijon.org/iranimage/

  8. PD Shaw says:

    George W. Bush was President in 1997?

  9. Steve Plunk says:

    BiBiJon, Bill Clinton was president in 1997 and I don’t recall him being considered a neo-con. I don’t dispute your contention that engaging Khatami would have been a good thing but we all have 20/20 hindsight.

    I don’t think (perhaps I’m wrong) A. Stoner was advocating the steps he outlined but merely pointing out the options. Seems there are some who don’t want to hear certain things even if they are reality. I wouldn’t go to war over Georgia either but we must assess options every step of the way.

    I know it’s complicated but didn’t Georgia start this? We haven’t invaded Mexico to stop their smuggling and corruption. Just because Georgia wanted to join NATO doesn’t mean they are just in all causes.

  10. Brian J. says:

    I guess, if not Georgia, the question is which ally do we risk nuclear war to help defend against a nuclear power aggressor?

    Is it Iraq?
    Is it Saudi Arabia?
    Is it Kuwait?
    Is it Afghanistan?
    Is it Taiwan?
    Is it South Korea?
    Is it Ukraine?
    Is it Poland?
    Is it France?
    Is it Great Britain?

    I expect the answer is “none of the above” for many people. The Russians (and soon the rest of the world) probably think so, too.

  11. od says:

    I guess, if not Georgia, the question is which ally do we risk nuclear war to help defend against a nuclear power aggressor?

    During the cold war there was a pretty clear understanding that some countries you go to nuclear war over (mainly Europe but also much of the middle East), and others you don’t (Afghanistan and Vietnam being the two obvious ones). I suspect the list hasn’t changed that much.

    One element was always proximity – Cuba was close to the United States, hence the Cuban missile crisis. In this case, Georgia is close to Russia and pretty far from the United States … you can kind of guess that Russia is going to consider it much more worth going nuclear over than the United States.

  12. Wayne says:

    The perception of the U.S. military as weak and unable to do anything about this is way off. It may be this “perception“that has emboldened Russia to conduct these operations. From the sound of it, this was a plan and prepared for operation on the Russian’s part.

    This is a very ugly situation. In our rush to make friends with everyone we can, we put us between a rock and a hard space. If we don’t do anything, our friendship will seem empty. Not only does our credibility suffer but our moral high standing (I’m talking real morality not just false bravado talk) will take a great hit. If we step in, it may be the start of WW3 and need to be ready for that. I wonder if those who thought stopping Hitler early on was so obvious still think so.

    So how many of you highly moral individuals are willing to do what is right versus not taking a chance of getting into a bloody conflict?

  13. Note that even right now, they are not invading Georgia proper—just the provinces in dispute.

    Hmmm…, you might want to check out James earlier post. As for Ms. McArdle and your other comments, that’s some fine realpolitik you got goin’ there. Oh, and I hate to sound all cliche and all, but when it came to dividing up Czechoslovakia in 1938 lots of people were able to make all sorts of arguments in favor of this attitude.

    You know how people in Boston used to say, “that’s just Manny being Manny?” Well, this is just Russia being Russia — the Empire Strikes Back. There really isn’t a lot the US can do to stop it. Maybe there isn’t a lot the US should do to stop it unless NATO wants to grow a pair and step up. But I don’t see it happening. But hey, no doubt there are some sternly worded UN resolutions that can’t even make it past the UN Security Council. At least if this latest Russian adventurism could kill off the UN something good could come out of it.

  14. Tlaloc says:

    The black or white rendition of the world…

    Heh. Nice double entendre there!

    It’d be nice if we could, just you know for the once, stay the hell out of every little mess. The Georgians are not exactly angels. The russians are being belligerent but comparisons to Germany invading Poland are retarded (de rigeur for Kristol). Our role should be limited to condemning Georgia for their actions against Ossetia, condemning Russia for their response, offers of help for refugees that flee the warzone, and support for UN sanctions (which will not happen thanks to the veto power of the permanent sec. council memebers of course). We have no business even thinking about taking unilateral military action, and people casually talking about nuclear war with russia should be rightly pilloried.

  15. bains says:

    Not that the USA can do a whole lot, but I.m reminded of a line of a Tom Cruise movie when I heard Barry’s recommendation. To resolve the conflict (now) Barry wants the UN to condemn Russia’s aggressions.

    Only the galacticly stupid would think that the UN, where Russia holds plenary veto powers would ever issue a resolution of worth condemning… Russia.

    At least Barack is really dreamy…

  16. Bithead says:

    Great plan stoner. When we have the Russian troops on the run and they use tactical nukes are your prepared to choose between defeat and WW3?

    Whereas I notice in one thing at least you’ve not changed… you’re willing to accept defeat without firing a shot.

    And what do you do when Iran threatens us with Nukes? I mean, how do you look in a beard?

  17. BiBiJon says:

    Bill Clinton was president in 1997.
    And the project for New American Century was in full swing and greatly influential

  18. anjin-san says:

    Whereas I notice in one thing at least you’ve not changed… you’re willing to accept defeat without firing a shot.

    Your quite the warrior bit. Well, at least when the only danger you are in is from a hangnail from excessive posting.

    Are you seriously suggesting that even one American should die in this conflict? Oh wait, I forgot, you would not be one of the guys getting shot at, so maybe war is a good idea.

    Tell you what pal. Go stock up on depends, so the next time Cheney goes on a Iran rant, you will not embarrass yourself. Me, I have spent my entire life with nuclear weapons pointed at me. I think I stopped loosing sleep over it when I was about 12. I don’t think Iran has any plans to use nukes in an aggressive manner even if it does acquire them. I see no evidence at all that they are suicidal.

    You Bushies sure love to talk tough, but the way your knees knock when the subject of Iran comes up… pretty pathetic. Cowardice is not becoming in a man. Since you are so amped about war, why don’t you enlist and show us that yellow is not your true color?

  19. bains says:

    You Bushies sure love to talk tough

    Bushies? Hardly. But I understand the need to group those with whom you disagree, but whom prevent your side from getting what it wants, in, you know, the non-violent way, with the evilest most Nazi like caricature.

    Helps you sleep at night even; after all if the real baddies are those living next door, why worry about the docile Iranian government, or the accommodating Russian government.

    Gotta create boogie men you can defeat – hurts the cartoon image otherwise.

  20. Bithead says:

    Are you seriously suggesting that even one American should die in this conflict?

    And what do we do the next time the bear gets hungry, as it will? It’s the one issue you never seem to manage to answer.

    Me, I have spent my entire life with nuclear weapons pointed at me. I think I stopped loosing sleep over it when I was about 12.

    Interesting, but there’s a few things in your tirade that don’t add up. Example; For someone who is so “Not worried” you seem to be awfully concerned over getting involved in helping our friends on the mere possibility that Russia may use it’s nukes.

  21. Michael says:

    Whereas I notice in one thing at least you’ve not changed… you’re willing to accept defeat without firing a shot.

    Are you seriously suggesting that not using the US Military to drive Russian forces out of Georgia would be a “defeat” for the US?

    And what do you do when Iran threatens us with Nukes? I mean, how do you look in a beard?

    How does Russia threatening Georgia with conventional forces equate to Iran threatening the US directly with nuclear weapons? Obviously a line exists somewhere, nobody is suggesting that we never use military intervention, just as nobody is (seriously) suggesting that we always use military intervention. You and anjin-san disagree over where to draw that line, nothing more, nothing less.

    Bushies? Hardly. But I understand the need to group those with whom you disagree, but whom prevent your side from getting what it wants, in, you know, the non-violent way, with the evilest most Nazi like caricature.

    Way to claim the Godwin prize, bains. Nobody was associating Bush with Nazis until you came along with this wonderfully thought-provoking post.

    And what do we do the next time the bear gets hungry, as it will? It’s the one issue you never seem to manage to answer.

    What do you do when an actual bear gets hungry? You keep him out of your fridge, but you don’t shoot at him for eating what he finds in the woods. Unless we consider Georgia “our stuff”, in which case we would be compelled to intervene now.

  22. Bithead says:

    How does Russia threatening Georgia with conventional forces equate to Iran threatening the US directly with nuclear weapons?

    Look closely, Mike. Anderson’s complaint was that he didn’t want to get involved in a war with Russia on the chance they might use nukes. His concern about nukes being used seems selective at best.

  23. Michael says:

    Look closely, Mike. Anderson’s complaint was that he didn’t want to get involved in a war with Russia on the chance they might use nukes. His concern about nukes being used seems selective at best.

    It was anjin-san, not Anderson, but I do see that he originated the argument of non-intervention due to risk of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. Though I seriously doubt Russia would be willing to use them unless US troops were headed towards Moscow.

    Every nuclear armed nation understands that the use of those weapons means the end of their existance as a nation. Thus, short of an equally existential threat, they will not use them.

  24. anjin-san says:

    the mere possibility that Russia may use it’s nukes.

    I think that if we commit an act of war against Russia, such as using military force inside it’s sphere of influence and attacking and killing it’s forces, that the possibility of nukes being employed goes up a notch or two. No, I will not lie awake at night worrying about it, but it does concern me.

    Interesting that the neocons are in such a hurry to get involved in another war, especially considering the not particularly happy outcome of the one in Iraq. If there is general war in that part of the world, oil tankers are going to start being attacked. Then we can look forward to a major war and a depression.

  25. Bithead says:

    It was anjin-san, not Anderson,

    the correction’s gladly accepted.

    Are you seriously suggesting that not using the US Military to drive Russian forces out of Georgia would be a “defeat” for the US?

    On many levels. Not least of which, when our freinds called for aid, we didn’t respond, due in part to their nuclear capacility. Trust me that’s not going to sell well going forward with our allies. I know there are people who think that a good thing. I do not.

    Also, were you not one of the ones involved in the discussion of the difference between a military victory and other varieties of victory?

    I mean, at the risk of calling down chants of “Godwin! Godwin! on myself, consider Hitler annexing certain portions of Europe because they … (And since there are many similarities between this situation and that, it seems uncomfortably apt a comparison)… Was our not responding to Hitler when he did it a military loss?

    My own answer… not right away, though I suggest our lack of response cost us bitterly in lives given that by the time we ended up forced to respond, they were stronger… But it was certainly a strategic loss.

    I suggest that’s true in Georgia as well.

    Interesting that the neocons are in such a hurry to get involved in another war, especially considering the not particularly happy outcome of the one in Iraq.

    You’re still trying to sell Iraq as a loss?
    Amazing.

  26. Bithead says:

    think that if we commit an act of war against Russia, such as using military force inside it’s sphere of influence and attacking and killing it’s forces, that the possibility of nukes being employed goes up a notch or two. No, I will not lie awake at night worrying about it, but it does concern me.

    I broke this out seperately because I think it an important point.

    Yes, it SHOULD concern you. It speaks well of you that it does. But I submit to you the reverse is true as well; That problem becomes worse when we don’t respond to atatcks inside our sphere of influence, which like it or not includes Georgia.

    Or are we somehow to take the security of our sphere of influence less seriously, somehow?

  27. od says:

    I assume not driving China out of Tibet is also a defeat for the US?

    Some of this is silly. Every country has vital areas which have to be protected. For most countries those areas are internal or on their borders. A few involve resources such as oil in the middle east. But any country that sees every part of the world as something they have to defend at all costs is going to bankrupt itself, and drain its own military capacity. The big winner in a US-Russia war over Georgia would be China.

  28. Michael says:

    On many levels. Not least of which, when our freinds called for aid, we didn’t respond, due in part to their nuclear capacility.

    Anjin-san’s comments aside, I don’t think the lack of western response was entirely due to concerns about nuclear weapons. Like I said, Russia wouldn’t deploy nukes just because we were kicking them out of Georgia. Mostly it was because nobody really cared about Georgia in the first place.

    Also, were you not one of the ones involved in the discussion of the difference between a military victory and other varieties of victory?

    I believe I called them “goals”, but essentially yes. In this discussion, however, I’m not even sure what our official “goals” are, much less our unofficial ones.

    I mean, at the risk of calling down chants of “Godwin! Godwin! on myself, consider Hitler annexing certain portions of Europe because they …

    There are plenty of historical allegories to be made, some where Russia is justified, and some where it isn’t.

    Was our not responding to Hitler when he did it a military loss?

    No, but it was a strategic and diplomatic loss, it also opened the door for the Molotov-Rippentrop pact, which essentially opened the door to western Europe.

  29. Michael says:

    The big winner in a US-Russia war over Georgia would be China.

    Probably Iran too, especially if Turkey gets pulled into it.

  30. Michael says:

    That problem becomes worse when we don’t respond to atatcks inside our sphere of influence, which like it or not includes Georgia.

    I wouldn’t consider them as part of our sphere of influence. They certainly haven’t been historically. We were trying to make them part of it, yes, but they have been a part of Russia’s sphere for quite a while, and there was no reason to think their recent western leaning was a permanent societal change.

  31. anjin-san says:

    That problem becomes worse when we don’t respond to attacks inside our sphere of influence, which like it or not includes Georgia.

    Hmmm. Well, China can just as easily announce that Cuba is part of it’s “sphere of influence” tomorrow. I wonder how well that would go down.

    You’re still trying to sell Iraq as a loss? Amazing.

    Lost lives, lost national treasure, lost opportunities, lost credibility, lost moral leadership, lost trust of allies. Balanced against what? One less dictator in the world? There are plenty more where he came from. Less aggression in the world? Not really. A stable democracy in Iraq. Might happen, might not.

    The recent improvements in the tactical situation in Iraq do not make it a win at this point. It just increases the chance that it may eventually become a win. Bottom line is still that we are trying to dictate an outcome which will severely test the limits of our power and its ability to dictate the outcome, especially considering that we are dealing with a culture that we do not understand.

  32. Bithead says:

    I assume not driving China out of Tibet is also a defeat for the US?

    Depends. Do we have strategic interests there?

    I don’t think the lack of western response was entirely due to concerns about nuclear weapons. Like I said, Russia wouldn’t deploy nukes just because we were kicking them out of Georgia. Mostly it was because nobody really cared about Georgia in the first place.

    I think that oversteps a bit. Obviously, Russia does…. I tend to agree with the idea that Russia wouldn’t deploy nukes in that condition… but that furthers my question about why the objection to taking action?

    wouldn’t consider them as part of our sphere of influence

    Well, again, why Nato, then?

    Well, China can just as easily announce that Cuba is part of it’s “sphere of influence” tomorrow. I wonder how well that would go down.

    We would ignore it, unfortunately, as we already ingore heir incursions into the oil fields down there.

    Lost lives, lost national treasure

    That happens, invariably in war. Of course, what too often does not get considered is the longer term loss of these things as a result of not responding to aggression early enough to make a difference.As my German expansionism comparison shows.

    lost credibility, lost moral leadership, lost trust of allies

    Look to the American left, and heir actions for these faults, Anjin. The war wasn’t the cause of these, but the left’s reaction to it.

    The recent improvements in the tactical situation in Iraq do not make it a win at this point

    Ever hopeful, aren’t you?

  33. anjin-san says:

    That happens, invariably in war

    Yea, the neocon mantra. “This is war, men die”. Just not the cheerleaders like you who stay at home.

    Look to the American left, and heir actions for these faults, Anjin. The war wasn’t the cause of these, but the left’s reaction to it.

    So we lost our moral leadership when the left said “we think torture is bad, America should not do it”?

    As my German expansionism comparison shows.

    Well, an educated person might rebut that, back in the 60’s the domino theory postulated that if we did not stop the communists in Vietnam, communists would go on to conquer all of Southeast Asia. We did not stop the communists in ‘Nam, they did not conquer all of Southeast Asia, and today, Communist Vietnam is a solid business partner to the USA, just as is Communist China. Go figure. All that your comparison shows is sloppy thinking on your part. A single example does not prove a rule.

    We would ignore it, unfortunately, as we already ingore heir incursions into the oil fields down there.

    Right. Have you seen any UFO circling the Chinese oil fields there?

    why the objection to taking action?

    Because its an incredibly bad idea?

  34. Michael says:

    I think that oversteps a bit. Obviously, Russia does…. I tend to agree with the idea that Russia wouldn’t deploy nukes in that condition… but that furthers my question about why the objection to taking action?

    Russia doesn’t care about Georgia, just what Georgia can do for them (or, if they’re pessimists, against them).

    If my rook is about to take your pawn, it’s not because I care about your pawn, it’s because I want the position I will get by taking it. Likewise, if you move your bishop to counter, it’s not because you care about your pawn, it’s because you want to deny me the place it holds.

    Well, again, why Nato, then?

    That’s the question that many people have been asking since the US tried to get them membership. I agree that those who supported membership should support intervention now (which is also what James argues). If keeping Georgia safe from Russia was important 2 months ago, it should still be important now, regardless of treaties.

    That happens, invariably in war. Of course, what too often does not get considered is the longer term loss of these things as a result of not responding to aggression early enough to make a difference.As my German expansionism comparison shows.

    But there are also times when doing nothing was more cost effective than doing something. We can’t generalize all future choices because of Germany.

  35. Space says:

    Russia simply lacks the manpower and resources to expand its borders by force.

    Damn it. You should ask first, does Russia want it at all or not!! It’s your but not Russia’s own native american prerogative! It’s surely hard to imagine for you, but there are nations in the world that don’t want to rule it and crash anyone on their way! Look into history, and you’ll assure. Russia never had a goal to invade and seize new colonies, only to defend it’s own territory and people. But you won’t stop at doing anything to live at the expense of others lives or deaths! You’ll nether be ashamed to attack any retard or weak country yelling hundreds of reasons for that except the true one. Or drop an atomic bomb on the one with which you have no advance. Explain please, what the hell are you doing in iraq? Look what your government have done commanding georgia to crash a tiny province! They trampled children by tanks, dropped grenades to the basements full of civilians, they rounded up women to the fold and burned alive, shot away a cars with the refugees. But 1st their “peacemakers” bombed out their russian and ossetian colleagues! But should i tell? Guess it looks like a new bloody entertainment for you? And the bribed EU govs said it’s russia’s attack on georgia!! Russia just couldn’t refuse to protect it’s people. But one day ppl doing these things get their reckoning.

  36. Space says:

    Russia simply lacks the manpower and resources to expand its borders by force.

    Damn it. You should ask first, does Russia want it at all or not!! It’s your but not Russia’s own native american prerogative! It’s surely hard to imagine for you, but there are nations in the world that don’t want to rule it and crash anyone on their way! Look into history, and you’ll assure. Russia never had a goal to invade and seize new colonies, only to defend it’s own territory and people. But you won’t stop at doing anything to live at the expense of others lives or deaths! You’ll nether be ashamed to attack any retard or weak country yelling hundreds of reasons for that except the true one. Or drop an atomic bomb on the one with which you have no advance. Explain please, what the hell are you doing in iraq? Look what your government have done commanding georgia to crash a tiny province! They trampled children by tanks, dropped grenades to the basements full of civilians, they rounded up women to the fold and burned alive, shot away a cars with the refugees. But 1st their “peacemakers” bombed out their russian and ossetian colleagues! But should i tell? Guess it looks like a new bloody entertainment for you? And the bribed EU govs said it’s russia’s attack on georgia!! Russia just couldn’t refuse to protect it’s people. But one day ppl doing these things get their reckoning.

  37. Wayne says:

    Anjin
    I’m retired from the military and there is a small possibility of being called up once again. Does that mean only those who served can comment on war? What is your service record? A commenter’s experience is relevant in determining what weight to give their conclusions. However, in the end, comments have validity or not regardless of who says it. If you can’t support your arguments then shut up instead of resorting to name calling.

    Those of you who go around screaming “Chicken hawk” are nothing but a bunch of “Chicken Sh*ts”.

    Sorry, had to throw that in.

  38. Bithead says:

    Those of you who go around screaming “Chicken hawk” are nothing but a bunch of “Chicken Sh*ts”.

    Sorry, had to throw that in.

    Don’t be. It’s quite accurate.

    I tend to take Anjin here, with a grain of salt.He’s revealed his hand a long time ago.

    See, there are only two types of people involved with this conversation. Those who geniunely fear war, for varied degrees, and those who fear victory.

  39. Bithead says:

    That’s the question that many people have been asking since the US tried to get them membership. I agree that those who supported membership should support intervention now (which is also what James argues). If keeping Georgia safe from Russia was important 2 months ago, it should still be important now, regardless of treaties.

    And I tend to agree, here.
    I’m willing to allow that the administration may ahve reasons of it’s own for not responding… even past the pure logistics of the situation. However, I;m concerned about the consequences of not responding in terms of being trsted again in world affairs, particularly with those we sign treaties with.

  40. Michael says:

    See, there are only two types of people involved with this conversation. Those who geniunely fear war, for varied degrees, and those who fear victory.

    There is no reason a person can’t fear both or neither. I would suggest that smart people fear both.

  41. Michael says:

    However, I;m concerned about the consequences of not responding in terms of being trsted again in world affairs, particularly with those we sign treaties with.

    Only an idiot trusts the sovereignty of their country to a treaty.

  42. anjin-san says:

    Wayne,

    People who seem to be genuinely eager to go to war, yet will not have to do any the fighting deserve to be called on it, in my view. Bit is one such.

    Of course anyone is welcome to comment on the subject. How do you feel about men who have never had to fight, but seem to get very excited by the thought of others doing some fighting? It is understandable in a 20 year old perhaps, but I don’t think any of us fall in that category.

    It is also worth noting that most of the neocon hawks never served, much less saw combat. I leave you with Gen. Eisenhower’s thought on “preventative war”

    “I don’t believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn’t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.”

  43. Wayne says:

    Anjin
    A higher % of peace protestors never served. Yet they feel free to speak and take actions that can and often are harmful to those who do serve. What ticks me off even more is when they claim they are doing it on our behalf when most of the time they doing it for their agenda.

    Yes I would be weary of anyone who think we should fight at the drop of the hat but I would be weary of those who think there is nothing worth fighting for either.

    Not sure what you mean by “preventative war”. You can’t prevent war in itself by conducting war. However you “can” prevent a war with a particular entity by going to war and winning against a different entity. Also you can choose to engage in a war that is unavoidable prior to your opponent being ready or strengthening their position so you will win instead of them.

  44. anjin-san says:

    I would be weary of those who think there is nothing worth fighting for either.

    Well, I do not fall in that group. I strongly endorsed Bush’s actions in Afghanistan, up to the point when he turned his back of finishing the job there to pursue his Iraq obsession. War is a reality of our world. But it should be our last, last resort…