Today’s installment is from Victor Davis Hanson:
The United States has slashed its defense budget to historic lows. It sends the message abroad that friendship with America brings few rewards while hostility toward the U.S. has even fewer consequences. The bedrock American relationships with staunch allies such as Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan and Israel are fading. Instead, we court new belligerents that don’t like the United States, such as Turkey and Iran.
No one has any idea of how to convince a rising China that its turn toward military aggression will only end in disaster, in much the same fashion that a confident westernizing Imperial Japan overreached in World War II. Lecturing loudly and self-righteously while carrying a tiny stick did not work with Japanese warlords of the 1930s. It won’t work with the communist Chinese either.
Radical Islam is spreading in the same sort of way that postwar communism once swamped postcolonial Asia, Africa and Latin America. But this time there are only weak responses from the democratic, free-market West. Westerners despair over which is worse — theocratic Iran, the Islamic State or Bashar Assad’s Syria — and seem paralyzed over where exactly the violence will spread next and when it will reach them.
A large war is looming, one that will be far more costly than the preventative vigilance that might have stopped it.[Emphasis added]
Isn’t that always the case?