Wednesday, April 11, 2018


           "We Americans have no commission from God to police the world. Let those who would die for the flag on foreign battlefields give a better proof of their patriotism and give greater glory to their country by promoting brotherhood and justice."---President Benjamin Harrison, 1888. 

         Thanks largely to our dysfunctional public school system, few Americans know much about our 23rd President. But Benjamin Harrison is significant because he was the first Conservative---in the modern sense of the term---to be elected president. In the late 19th Century, there was a political movement called Progressivism. The Progressives believed in a larger, more proactive government. Inspired by some European politicians and discouraged by the recent US Civil War; they felt that the Constitutional emphasis on individual rights and economic free-enterprise had become antiquated. They desired us to become more like the corporatist and imperialist European systems; much as modern Progressives wish us to follow European socialism and cultural imperialism.

        The Progressives' political opponents back then had a slogan about 'conserving' the principles of our Founding Fathers. The media began referring to them as Conservatives and the name has been around ever since. 

         For our purposes, with the Administration considering another illegal and ill-thought out attack on Syria, it should be noted that this type of intervention is not a Conservative position---the number of RINOs supporting it to the contrary. When Benjamin Harrison made the speech quoted above; he was referring to the very principles laid down by George Washington. (Harrison, BTW, was inaugurated on the 100th Anniversary of Washington's Inauguration). 

           The Founders and the earlier political leaders restricted our military to our own hemisphere and to the Pacific Islands. The reason for this was to encourage foreign trade without the intrigues and entanglements of foreign power-politics. The warnings coming from Russia about a Syrian Intervention should not be ignored, as too many do. 

          Global conflicts have started because it's completely unpredictable where one power is going to choose to draw a line and react. Some pundits snort that Russia won't go to WW3 over Syria. But how do they know this? Obama came within a hair's-breadth of a world war in 2016 because he didn't think that China would fight for the Nansha Islands. 

         In WW2,  Hitler didn't believe that Britain and France would fight for Poland. Stalin didn't believe that the Nazis would invade Russia. Roosevelt didn't believe that the Japanese would dare attack US territory. WW1 started from a whole chain of miscalculations like these. 

          Ever since the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Russia has been double-crossed by series of US Presidents promising a 'Reset in Russian Relations' and then cynically betraying Russian trust. Russia very well may react over a Syrian attack with the ferocity of people who feel they've been pushed and goaded once too often. And Russia's allies China, Iran, and India may not sit idly by either.

          The question Trump needs to consider is not whether Russia will go to war over Syria; but whether the US thinks that Syria is worth risking the start of a world war. 

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You?

No comments:

Post a Comment