The great irony of 2018 is the world is a more dangerous place than it was before the collapse of the Soviet Union. How can this be so?
The amazing paradox is when the West faced the Soviet Union across the iron curtain everyone knew the rules of the game. The checks & balances were all in place to prevent a globally disastrous nuclear war. It was a terror we all lived with, mutual assured destruction, or MAD as we knew it.
Frightening but it worked, it was pragmatic. It sometimes wobbled, the Berlin air lift & Cuba were trigger points, but a pragmatic Russia always backed down. It seems we have lost the rule book. The West is now run by Mavericks without the levers of control politicians enjoyed in the Cold War era.
President Kennedy’s ambition was to disestablish the CIA, he had read the runes.
How has this come about?
There are many reasons but I list a few of the main ones.
The industrial military congressional complex of which President Eisenhower warned us in his auto biography. The military, naval & airforce budgets are beyond comprehension. Trillions of dollars exchange hands, arms manufacturers in swing states can influence elections & replace presidents.
The western democracies have seen the rise of a politicised bureaucracy, legislature & the abandonment of the constitution in America, Western European countries & Great Britain.
Congress & parliaments both have given ground. Pressure groups run democracies, party politics restricts change, the electorate vote red or blue, yet they know red or blue they are the same.
The golden rule is always follow the money if you really can’t understand the latest lunatic government decision.
Where are we now?
I suggest we have abandoned the concept of a legitimate sphere of influence.
This is largely the fault of the west. The end of the Cold War was not embraced, the peace dividend never materialised. Everyone had too much skin in the game. War is big business, cold or hot.
So NATO did not disestablish as an irrelevant anachronism, as it should, but expanded.
In spite of Western promises the alliance spread up the Baltic & into Eastern Europe.
This idiocy understandably bred continued hostility in the new Russian Federation which is not a natural post communist enemy of the west as history shows only too well.
The west never miss an opportunity to poke the Bear. Russia as a bogeyman keeps the budgets topped up.
Yet the taxpayer doesn’t want this, Trump was elected on a ticket to bring the boys home.
But the president no longer calls the shots, Deep State is too deep, too wide.
Can we reverse this increasingly dangerous Game of Thrones played with real lives?
Yes we can step back from the brink. Let us adopt a pragmatic policy of acknowledged spheres of influence.
The Eastern Baltic & Black Sea are legitimate Russian spheres, it is after all their back yard.
Let them have buffer states, empathise with their history, stop trying to destabilise their near neighbours. Stop expanding NATO, the original concept was for defence. It is now a danger to itself.
The South China Sea is a legitimate Chinese sphere of influence. Western aircraft carrier fleets have no place there, all that happens is China expands defence spending on their carriers. The Pacific Rim & Gulf of Mexico are legitimate spheres for America. Northern Pacific for Japan & South Korea.
Would the US tolerate a Russian fleet in the Gulf of Mexico? Why were short range weapons a no no in Cuba but OK in Poland? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Why does America have eleven carrier groups & eight hundred overseas military bases?
Does America expect to be invaded? If so, by whom? So they must be there for aggression not defence, try & see the other guy’s point of view.
The days of the good guys wearing white hats & the bad guys wearing black have long gone, there is no more black & white.