Monday, May 2, 2011


   It Really All Started with that Insufferable Egomaniac Teddy Roosevelt Whom Modern Media Glorify as “Great.”
       As we digest the news of Usama bin Laden’s death and acknowledge that it is sweet retribution for all Americans…those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and the entire country which has invested billions in defense and anti-terrorism….let’s look ahead to a future where we can not be the combination constabulary and fire department for the world.         
        There is one important change in U. S. policy that is seldom discussed even in most conservative journalistic organs…and that is the necessity through election of a Republican president to move this country from being the world’s greatest busybody…sending troops to export democracy throughout the world—to returning to a foreign policy where our own self interest is paramount.
        And I don’t mean back to Ron Paul the erratic uncle locked up in the attic who every four years escapes to demand cutting the defenses back to the days of Lexington and Concord volunteers and the Navy to rented privateers. I mean back to sensible standards: ala Robert A. Taft.
         Overwhelmingly, Democratic liberals…the same ones who engage in hate America “peace movements”…are the ones who with support from the Kept Press, start agitating on grounds of “conscience” for U. S,. global intervention.   They’re joined by Republican neo-conservatives—an admixture of all but official duo-citizenship intellectuals…Charlie the Kraut, Bill Kristol…touting a misguided variant of  “American Exceptionalism” by which they mean an imperialistic America as the retributive arm of world “justice.”
         Exceptional America is --but its founders did not mean us to be the world’s constabulary.  There must be change guided by a Republican president—a change to the wise guidance of the West’s greatest legislator since Edmund Burke, a man ignored in recent years by historians, Sen. Bob Taft (R-Ohio).  More of this unheralded great man who ought to become an exemplar for future Republican presidents later.
       Still any change that must come must be subtle enough not to fracture a major coalition that is important for winning GOP_ elections.  It means a gradual change can be accomplished by a president as courageous as a lion and as cannily resourceful as a fox.
      Without embracing the near unilateral disarmament  advocacy, abject libertarians (who like Paul believe we had 9/11 coming because of our pro-Israel stance—which equates him with the hate-America-spewing Left) also want to repeal the Patriot Act which protects us from domestic terrorists--the next Republican president should return us to the posture of watchful vigilance coupled with minding our own business, using as pretext to any foreign involvement this question: Does what is happening in the Middle East…revolutions, movement imbroglios,  usurpations by tyrants… directly—and we meandirectly—threaten the peace and liberty of citizens of the United States?
       Which means I I inveigh a pox on both houses: the neo-near dual loyalty people who are set to cry “charge!” on any suspected threat to Israel…and the embittered true isolationists who mistakenly…through anti-Semite hatred…view us being victimized by an inner cabal endebted to Israel.   I reject both views equally. 
        How do we most usually drift to interventionism? It comes primarily from the Left.
        Take a typical case. Fictional oil-rich Middle East Arab principality, Lower Slobovistan is a key supplier of our oil.   We desperately need the oil since liberals put the kibosh on expanding our domestic drilling. Our economy will suffer with its deprivation.  Thus we should avoid sticking our nose into a neighbor’s domestic disputes.    But liberal bleeding hearts and editorial boards plead in the misguided cause of “anti-genocide” anguishing for imposition of U.S. sanctions. 
       Then liberal churches get into it including some of our own wimpy Catholic bishops (the kind who usually go easy on Catholic pro-abortion politicians here). First thing you know the USSB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) delegates some pimply-faced kid, an ex-DNC intern, fresh from Brown University to write a tract urging sanctions and more.  Bored bishops, glancing at their wristwatches to see if they can catch the next flight back home, give the resolution an  almost unanimous thumbs up.   The New York Times, The Washington Post, the AP and those sitting around the rim of the desks writing copy for the TV networks’ Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos are inflamed.  Savvy congressional media hounds—aka New York’s bird-dog whose nose twitches for scent of media opportunities, Chuck Schumer—nab the issue to get on the networks…and the rush for another global intervention is on.
        Pleading the case of demonstrable history does no good. Since the days of its control by the Ottoman Empire, Lower Slobvastan  has been roiling in Arab tyrants committing murder and pillage.  It does not warrant our or UN sanctions, nor intervention, nor saturation preemptory round-the-clock bombings by the U. S. air force (by the snap of presidential fingers, not the official consent of Congress)  and clump-clump-clump of our military boots on the ground on a messianic mission to install bucolic Jeffersonian democracy on a people who have yet to master the intricacies of installing home flush toilets.  
         Rejecting the oft-repeated cycle is not a repudiation of American Exceptionalism.  It’s not Fortress America (which never existed) and erecting a moat around us; it is not to embrace what globalists have always mislabeled “isolationism.”     But itdoes involve a fundamental reexamination of most recent scrapes we have waged including Libya and the often Machiavellian behind-the-scenes maneuvers of some of our most ambitious presidents to become “world leaders.”
       A Republican president and two Democrats started imbibing  “world leader” brew which led to our impasse: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and later TR’s fifth cousin Franklin.  The cycle was broken by a number of restrained presidents including those whom the media defame—Warren Harding…no rube as media has mis-portrayed him…a poker player yes with an eye for the ladies, but in womanizing a gelding next to JFK and Bill Clinton.
        He’s been defamed because of Teapot Dome which ranks 114th down the list of later scandals including the Truman ones… who initiated the first arms limitation discussions…and Calvin Coolidge who led 15 nations to renounce war as an instrument of conflict-settling (didn’t work but a worthy goal). 
      Among those who practiced masterly restraint in military intervention was Dwight Eisenhower (a 5-star general: in fact no general-presidents Jackson barring a few ambitious stints as pre-presidential general…Grant, Hayes… were adventurers), eventually yielding to sending 700 military advisers to Vietnam—and this due to pressure exerted from his secretary of state, Wall Street lawyer John Foster Dulles.. and Ronald Reagan.
      Then all to the good was the perversely brilliant Richard Nixon, a far smarter poker player in world affairs than is recognized through his brilliant smiting in twain of the Sino-Soviet alliance that really did threaten world peace.  But to begin--.
      The bad-guy presidential globalists start with good old Teddy Roosevelt.
       A psychiatrist would have had a field day with TR: Born and grown to spindly adolescence as an asthmatic weakling, he built a chest-beating reputation for masculinity through  boxing and cowboy antics out West sponsored by his wealthy family and largely contrived tales of derring do charges “up San Juan Hill” in the Spanish American war.  Egotism dominated him so hugely he was called (behind his back) The Great I Am after Yahweh’s self-identification in the Bible.
         It was Kettle Hill not San Juan and the exaggerated tales were written up by his sidekick, ex-presidential physician Leonard Wood (a chum of TR when both were Washington functionaries).  Wood saw real political gain by hooking up with this pompous young aristocrat who knew nothing of war but wanted bully action in Cuba to burnish his political credentials.
       Wood wanted a piece of political action too (and ultimately made a very close bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 1920).    During the Spanish-American war, looking forward to someday becoming governor general of a defeated Cuba and governor general of our colony Philippines  (which happened thanks to Teddy) Wood did the real heroics and flashed back to the U.S. media via telegraph key by a family-hired flack to dispel more authentic original notions of a spoiled eastern Harvard-trained political rich kid, educated by private tutors and who in adulthood wore gold aristocratic  pince-nez.
       It was  Wood who by his own physical and military bravado which he freely attributed to Roosevelt via a crack p.r. hack aided by an adulatory press hungry for media handouts countered what TR’s otherwise favorable biographer Edmund Morris saw as haughtiness, unmatched egotism and as a native effeminacy.  The hyped war stories got TR elected governor of New York and ultimately vice president with William McKinley. McKinley’s assassination in 1900 landed Roosevelt in the White House at the tender age of 42, the youngest man to hold the office.
       The Great I Am’s manipulation for the Panama Canal showed his deviousness. Needing a short-cut passage between Atlantic and Pacific, he tried to buy a 48-mile strip of land from Colombia: a good thought.  But his when his State Department botched the deal and Colombia wouldn’t ratify the treaty, TR got us to secretly finance a hoked up “revolution” that prompted Panama, then part of Colombia, to revolt on cue.  Panama split away and sold the land to us. We benefited and the sleaziness prompted a frat-style drinking spree with Teddy and his buddies in the White House, chortling we stole the land fair and square!
      Sadly for him, there was no opportunity to engage in war…although he did get a Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese war--but as soon as World War I erupted he was prodding his successor, Wilson, to get involved personally. In fact the before the draft was initiated he publicly asked President Woodrow Wilson for the right to organize a division—which he later hiked to two—which he would personally lead to France as its commander to fight the Kaiser ( which he intended to load up with U.S. press)—obviously a drum roll intended to return him to the White House for a third term (he was then only 59).   Wilson wisely turned the old blusterer down. 
        But it was Democrat Wilson who immeasurably stretched our global adventurism on a world scale.   A  Princeton professorial history Ph.D snob who scrubbed his hands with antiseptic after handshaking the vulgar mobs, he couldn’t have been elected in 1912 but for TR’s split of the Republicans due to The Great I Am’s boredom with private life.
       Wilson was reelected in 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of war.” The story of how we were deluded into war comes from the scholar Thomas Fleming in his definitive book Illusion of Victory: America in World War I [Perseus Books: 2003]. Historian Fleming is no relation incidentally to Dr. Tom Fleming, president of the Rockford Institute.
       Obviously WWI which began in 1914 with the assassination of an Austrian arch-duke leading to a spat between Austria-Hungary  and Serbia-Russia which pulled  in Europe’s colonial powers was no threat to U.S. security at all.    Safely reelected, at first Wilson was aloof from war but he was always partial to Britain.  Indeed he had often enthused as a Princeton academic how its parliamentary system was superior to ours.
        Now Britain was having a tough time financing its wartime role.   Then when old J.P. Morgan in January 1915 said he could not spare Britain from eventual bankruptcy due to its war spending, Wilson became despondent—fearing that Britain’s finances would tank and pull us down with it (which Wall Street pooh-poohed).  His pro-war propaganda office circulated unverifiable news stories of German brutality.  Worse, he began smuggling weapons in passenger ships to Britain.
        By hook or crook, mostly the latter, after his reelection he consulted with his cronies about how we could enter it without looking as though we barged in.  His zeal was animated when Britain and French foreign offices communicated secretly that the war would eventually be won, that America need not send overseas troops and all that was needed was America’s financial aid to enable the Allies to put the finishing touches on a preordained victory.  Meaning become a part victor of World War I on the cheap.  Wilson bought in but soon discovered he would have to put skin in the game.  A lot of skin—and American lives.
        So be it. Finally, the topping on the cake was the prospect of Wilson sitting at the big postwar peace table carving up Europe and the German colonies. He already had a vision of a world organization of nations where he could play a decisive role.  But first: how to get into WWI without looking like we barged in?
      Then came a straightforward statement from Germany that shipping to Britain must be curtailed else violators…ships suspected of carrying armaments to Britain…would be attacked by German subs.  The German statement was officious but earlier they had discovered that U.S. arms were being shipped in the cargoes of merchant ships bound for England.
       Key example: The Cunard luxury passenger ship Lusitania transgressed waters ruled off-bounds by German subs and off the Irish coast on May 17, 1915 was sunk by a German sub after having ignored a warning to steam away.   Of the 2,000 passengers on board, 1,198 died including 291 women and 94 children—with American dead numbering 128.   The marvel was that after being struck by a two torpedoes it exploded and sank in less than 20 minutes…due to the fact that its hold was filled to the gills with armaments bound for Britain.
       Immoral incidents like this…including a suspect telegram from the German ambassador to Mexico’s president “promising” to include him in on carving up the U.S. if Mexico joined in and attacked us, inflamed the country.  
        By duplicity…as TR did re Panama… Wilson got his declaration of war for which he composed the most dishonest pro-war slogan ever concocted:  We’re engaging in one of Europe’s endless bloody cauldrons “to make the world safe for democracy.”   Even in hell Machiavelli must have shuddered.
        It wasn’t to be the first time bipartisan presidential subterfuge with media cooperation were enlisted to get us into global war.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. "unverifiable news stories of German brutality"?

    The 1914 German massacres in Belgium are as well documented as the Nazi murders of a generation later. A visitor to towns and villages on the German line of march will find numerous mass graves: that is, array of 50, 100, 200 or more tombstones, all marked "Fusillé par les Allemands, Août 1914".

    These crimes were observed and reported by many neutrals in the area, including U.S. diplomats. The Germans "justified" their actions by claiming that German officers had been treacherously shot by Belgian civilians. They often said it was the son or daughter of the mayor. One U.S. diplomat joked that it seemed Belgium had an assassin cult recruited from the children of mayors.

    All this is well-established historical fact. See The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman.

    It is true that later in the war, British propagandists circulated wildly exaggerrated stories of German crimes, though the reality was damning enough. Postwar isolationist reaction veered into outright denial, which has tainted public recollection ever since.

    "a suspect telegram"?

    The Zimmerman Telegram was entirely genuine. It was from German Foreign Minister Zimmerman to the German Ambassador in Mexico; Zimmerman himself acknowledged it.

    The telegram was sent (in cipher) via a U.S. State Department cable from Denmark to Washington. Britain and France cut all German cables to the Americas, so the U.S. allowed the Germans to use our cable for diplomatic messages, as a courtesy.

    That cable passed through a relay station at Land's End in Britain, so the British monitored it. They had broken the German diplomatic cipher, so they could read the traffic.

    When they presented the telegram to Wilson, they did not admit monitoring the U.S. cable; they cooked up a story about stealing the ciphertext in Mexico. However, they did show us the ciphertext, and how they decrypted it; and the U.S. could verify that the ciphertext was the message the Germans had sent over our cable.

    All this is historical fact as well. See The SIGINT Secrets by Nigel West.

    "Sadly for him, there was no opportunity to engage in war..."

    For all TR's bluster, as President he never initiated U.S. military action. If he had really wanted to, he'd have found or made an opportunity.

    "...smuggling weapons in passenger ships to Britain."

    U.S. arms shipments to France and Britain were entirely legal and aboveboard. Shipment on a passenger ship was legal, too. Concealing shipment on a passenger ship from the public was an attempt to exploit the restrictions on submarine warfare. But it wasn't smuggling.

    I agree that it is an unfair burden for the U.S. to serve as the "policeman of the world". But if the U.S. withdraws from the world, then we will have two alternatives:

    1) Allow tyranny and massacre to flourish overseas, and when millions of people flee for their lives and freedom to the U.S., let them in.

    2) Allow tyranny and massacre to flourish overseas, and when millions of people flee for their lives and freedom to the U.S., keep them out. That includes sending them back if they get in.

    To the extent that we tolerate tyranny and massacre today, we already face this choice, and we do both.

    Our economic limitations and our need to maintain our national identity will not allow 1).

    Our basic humanity will not allow us to practice 2).

    What's left?