There Will Be Wars and Rumors of Wars

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

Checking my daily email from Reuters Thursday morning revealed these two stories:

  • US President Joe Biden is expected to sign a new security agreement with Ukraine to pledge America’s long-term support, while British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will announce up to $310 million in bilateral assistance to the country.

“Diplomacy falters” is one of the sub-headings, which is assuredly the case, assuming diplomacy was even tried.

The BLUF, or bottom-line upfront, to use an Army acronym, is more death, dying, and destruction in Ukraine and Gaza.

Reuters still refers to Israeli ethnic cleaning in Gaza as the “Gaza war,” but only one side has tanks, combat aircraft, 2000-pound bombs, heavy artillery, bulldozers, and even nuclear weapons. It’s not exactly a fair fight, is it? The Israeli government says it’s out to destroy Hamas, but what it’s really after is the destruction of Gaza and the forced relocation of Palestinians there, after which Gaza will be annexed and assimilated into Israel.

What Israel has done and is doing to Gaza

Turning to the Ukraine War, the longer it lasts, the greater the suffering, and the higher the risk of further escalation. Yet the focus is always on deterring Russia and defeating Putin, as if it’s 1938 yet again, with Putin as Hitler and Ukraine as Czechoslovakia. Any diplomatic settlement with Russia will be the equivalent of appeasement, another Munich Agreement, so the war must go on, I guess until one side or the other collapses from the strain. Perhaps 1918 and the chaotic end of World War I is a better year to think about than 1938.

Meanwhile, Reuters tells me there are “challenges” in Africa and that China must be corralled and contained. Poor Africa. European nations (and the United States) are always offering answers to Africa’s “challenges,” but those answers address the interests of the West, not of African peoples. The U.S. has a whole military command, AFRICOM, to address those “challenges,” mainly in the form of U.S. weapons sales and “security assistance.”

Finally, resurrecting the racist “yellow peril” trope with regards to China is only driving that country into closer contact with Russia, which has the added benefit of justifying immense Pentagon spending due to the dual threat of Russia-China. (Democrats tend to stress Russia as the big threat; Republicans prefer China.). Thus we hear of a new Cold War, which of course necessitates colossal military spending, because do you want China and Russia to rule the world?

There will be wars and rumors of wars: And so it goes with U.S. foreign relations, in perpetuity, seemingly.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools. He writes at Bracing Views.