It didn’t take long for the U.S. national-security state’s “pivot” toward Asia, after its disastrous 12-year foray into the Middle East, to produce a new crisis for Americans. In response to China’s decision to implement a new air zone involving a long territorial dispute with Japan over a group of islands, the U.S. military sent two B-52 bombers flying over the zone to test China’s resolve, proving that China is just a “paper tiger” given that it didn’t shoot the planes out of the sky.
It was a childishly dangerous taunt. What would have happened if China had shot down the planes? Then what? Would the U.S. national-security state have stood idly by, thereby exposing itself to being accused of being a paper tiger? I don’t think so. To show its resolve, the U.S. government would have had to retaliate with some sort of bombing campaign against China.
Don’t forget, after all, that under our system of government the president can now send the entire nation into war without a congressional declaration of war.
More fundamentally, why should an island dispute between China and Japan be any business of the U.S. government? Would you be willing to give up your life to help Japan win its fight for those islands? Are you willing to sacrifice your spouse or your children for the sake of those islands?
Americans have become so accustomed to living under a giant military empire that it doesn’t even occur to many of them to question the entire concept of a worldwide military empire, one that polices the world with B-52s, pouring fuel on ancient conflicts and taunting nations into doing something about it. Such Americans just continue deferring to their old Cold War national-security state, believing that U.S. military officials know best.
Don’t forget that it was a war between Japan and China that motivated President Franklin Roosevelt to provoke the Japanese prior to America’s entry into World War II. Ironically, at that time Roosevelt was taunting the Japanese and taking the side of the China.
I wonder how many Americans realize that treaty obligations, not to mention tens of thousands of U.S. troops that are still occupying Japan notwithstanding that World War II ended a long time ago, require the United States to go to war on the side of Japan if Japan gets into a war with China? How many Americans are ready and willing to involve themselves in that sort of Asian war, especially after more than a decade of warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere?
And where is the money for such a war supposed to come from? Do we really need to remind everyone that the government continues to lift its debt ceiling on a perpetual basis because its expenditures continue to far exceed its income? Do we really need to remind ourselves that the federal government is heading our nation into financial and economic bankruptcy?
Ever since the advent of the national-security state, Americans have lived lives filled with constant crises, chaos, war, strife, conflict, and fear. It’s all so unnecessary. Look at Switzerland, whose foreign policy mirrors that of America’s Founding Fathers. Do you see the Swiss getting embroiled in disputes between China and Japan or between any other nations? No, their government minds its own business and is strictly limited to the defense of the country.
With the war on terrorism fading, the national-security state would love nothing more than to revive its beloved Cold War, once again inculcating the American people with fears of communism and threats of nuclear war. Fear is the coin of the realm when it comes to the national security state. And new enemies — or even old enemies renewed — are always necessary, even if one has to generate them.
Americans have a grand opportunity, one that they had when the Cold War ended. They have the opportunity to dismantle the entire national-security state apparatus and foreign military empire that was engrafted onto our constitutional structure after World War II, without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment. They have the opportunity to embrace, once again, the foreign policy of non-intervention on which our nation was founded.
If Americans choose instead to keep the national-security state and worldwide military empire in existence and to continue embracing an interventionist foreign policy that butts into everyone’s disputes, they had better prepare themselves for a continuation of perpetual crises, chaos, and war, not to mention national bankruptcy.
Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.