Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. My cousin Jimmy will, and I assume my late uncle Mike who spoke Irish would, greet everyone today with the word Sláinte which means best wishes for your health to which the response is sláinte agatsa, meaning to your health as well. So I will appropriate that term for myself today and wish all those reading these words Sláinte.
I wrote yesterday about the pending surrender to the Taliban in Afghanistan. We have been there for about 20 years and have lost over 2,000 Americans in that ongoing war against the Taliban. Are we running because our patience is exhausted, it has been said America plays checkers while older countries play chess? Wasn’t there a hundred year war between Britain and France?
Are we doing it because the prior administration afraid of using America’s ground forces has decided to try to bring all our troops back home regardless of their presence ensuring peace as we saw when it abandoned our Kurdish allies when Erdoğan demanded it?
I have been wondering lately whether America is willing to enter into a war with a nation somewhat equal in strength to itself. Are you aware that no American has died in combat as a result of enemy air actions since the Korean War that ended almost 70 years ago. We have totally controlled the air space to such an extent that our forces have not feared an attack from the air since that time. There are circumstances awaiting us in the future that may not be quite so auspicious.
I read the other day that President Xi of China has set a five year deadline for taking over Taiwan having had such success with the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong. China’s latest five-year blueprint suggests President Xi Jinping is girding for battle. It is reported, Beijing is intensifying preparations for geopolitical and corporate arms races. A “standalone paragraph in the Central Committee’s 6,200-word message related to armed forces also hints at new directions. China will “comprehensively strengthen military training and preparation for war”, it said, reflecting Xi’s hardening stance on Taiwan and the disputed waters in the South China Sea.”
Can you imagine the cost in lives if we defend Taiwan against China? How do we do it? Our aircraft carriers through which we normally project force have a great chance to be sunk either by their land-to-sea missiles or their submarines. Will we put at risk the lives of 5,000 sailors and Marines? The basic question will come down to whether we are willing to defend Taiwan.
On the other side of the world we are looking at Russia. They took Crimea without any pushback; and they are actively supporting a war in the Donbas region of Ukraine. It was noted that it was hoped Putin would change his polcies after that but “Such assessments turned out to be little more than exercises in wishful thinking. If anything, the Kremlin’s policy toward “core Europe”—Germany, France, and the United Kingdom—has followed the same aggressive, in-your-face approach, leading to growing awareness that Moscow is not at all serious about lowering the tensions that followed the annexation of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine.”
Will the United States stand up to Russia if it attacks another nation in Europe? What are our core interests there that must be defended? Or are we best to let the other nations fend for themselves?
I’m glad I don’t have to make these decisions if the others take aggressive actions. But somehow I get the feeling that America with all its might and power is basically unwilling to fight especially since we have become a house divided against itself. Just hope our enemies don’t figure this out.