Thoughts from VDH on the danger of the Obama foreign lack-of policy:
I think we are going to see soon some regional flare-ups, minor in themselves, but terribly important as the world pauses to gauge the US reaction. Syria and Iran feel liberated and think they can act with impunity. Turkey is an emerging regional hegemon. I would not want to be a former Soviet republic—at least if I were consensually governed, pro-Western, and democratic.
If I were in Manila, I’d start learning Chinese; if in Tokyo, I’d think about massive rearmament. I would not wish to be in NATO if east of Berlin—“allies” in the West would (cf. 1939) stay theoretic and distant, enemies would be concrete and proximate.
The survival of Israel now depends on its pilots and missiles, not on any guarantees from the US. In today’s currency, what we guarantee is worth about as much as US treasury bills, or promises of missile defense for Eastern Europe. If I were an Israeli, I’d either pray for the skill and audacity of the nation’s Air Force pilots, or begin cultivating India, Russia, and China, or that and more.
The problem with all this pessimistic view of human nature is that our elite and anointed smirk at it. They seem to say, “Tsk, tsk, we are 21st century Ivy-Leaguers in the postmodern age. The world is no longer like it was in 1914. I explained all this in my latest piece in Foreign Affairs. Cell phones and the World Court are the order of the day, not Neanderthal notions of something called “appeasement””. But does anyone think human nature has changed since the Greeks due to improved diet, or that brain chemistry has altered with video games?
The problem is that the left doesn’t believe in human nature. And when you don’t know, or understand history, and think that Austrians speak Austrian, and that the Americans liberated Auschwitz, it’s hard to learn from it. Again, I’m thankful on this day that we’ll have elections in a little less than a year. I wish they were sooner, though.