Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Perilous Pledge?

Why on Earth is the president’s pledge perilous as this author states? Carpenter, of the Cato Institute, is actually upset that Bush noted that Lithuania’s entry into NATO means that should anybody attack Lithuania it will be an attack on all NATO members.

(Cue visual image: me scratching head with quizzical look on face)

Pardon my naiveté, but isn’t that by definition what a military alliance does for you? Didn’t he simply state the bleeding obvious? How is this shocking? I guess more to the point is how is this perilous for us rather than any fool nation that decides to take on the greatest concentration of military power in history by trying to capture Lithuania? Sounds like any aggressor should take on somebody else given the likely price one would pay to swallow the tiny country.

But no, Carpenter is worried specifically because at any moment the Russians might rouse themselves to revived-super-power-stoked irredentist fury and claim what was once theirs (and which we never recognized) is theirs again! Better for them they should retake Mongolia or Byelorussia. Has Carpenter not noticed that we won the Cold War and that the Russians, now free of communism, have decided that friendship with us is their road to prosperity and security? Are we to keep those red lines on the map that represent the high point of Soviet Russian imperialism and note to everybody within that line that we can’t talk to them because one day the Russians might get nostalgic for empire and want to reclaim them? Isn’t this just a teensy bit too panicky for the actual situation to warrant?

Is Carpenter actually serious?

Really, Carpenter is upset because defending Lithuania is not really militarily feasible; and besides, would we really count this as a “strategically and economically irrelevant” client over which we should risk nuclear war? I can only conclude Carpenter has been on a long sabbatical ever since Russia exploded its first nuclear bomb. We risk war over the security of France for God’s sake and they don’t even like us. And talk about indefensible states, how long were we going to hold most of Norway, Denmark, large chunks of Turkey and Greece, and even West Germany should the Soviets have decided to go west? Indeed, our early strategy for NATO called for us to retreat to the Rhine and hold there—sorry all you guys on the east side, we’re blowing the bridges. And what of West Berlin? Talk about strategically exposed. Yet the Russians knew, even when they had conventional force superiority, that they would risk nuclear war by attacking NATO—even the most strategically exposed portion. To all of these places we pledged our honor and our lives to defend.

Shoot, we would have gone to war, risking nuclear devastation of New York, Washington, and our other great metropolises if the Soviets had nuked Wichita. Wichita is strategically and economically relevant according to whose textbook? We’d risk our whole nation over one city? (Note: of course I’d defend the people there, for those reading too quickly) In the face of NATO conventional superiority that will not be challenged in my lifetime and the threat of nuclear war, a future Moscow would try to seize tiny Lithuania. Honestly, the Cato Institute crowd is perplexing to me. I sure wouldn’t go to war over that strategically and economically irrelevant organization.

Let me just say, that should the Moscow imperial school somehow gain power, they will look for a target a lot easier than any of the Baltic states. Say, a non-NATO state somewhere? As the president said, they’d make an enemy of us. They don’t want that.