Newsmax: Free Trade Is More Than Trade

Lost in the desert that is now called public discourse regarding trade are the nontrade benefits of free trade arrangements.

Like so much that is polarized about American politics, the extreme camps dominate the public discourse. We have taken the complex universe of trade and attempted to box all positions into either “Free traders” or “Protectionists.”

It is granted that extremists on both ends usually can be revealed easily since their positions on economics supersede the nation’s needs. Free trade extremists, acolytes of the religion of globalization, would sacrifice national security interests for profit. At the other end of the spectrum, extreme protectionists would ensure that failing industries, that would eventually hurt the nation, continue under government largesse.

Often lost in this swamp is one of the principal benefits of actual free trade, which increases security and diplomatic power. The common-sense approach realizes that free trade, which is based on mutual benefit, secured against government corruption, predatory pricing and lending, dumping and over-regulation, is a net positive.

Needless to say, China engages in all of those harmful practices, making it the most flawed example of free trade on the planet.

One free trade agreement that would knit together economic, security, diplomatic and cultural alliance is the one between the U.S. and the U.K.

One of the potential positive outcomes of Brexit is to reignite the need for this economic union. What comes to mind is Winston Churchill’s famous quote of 1940, “We must be united, we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible. Our qualities and deeds must burn and glow through the gloom of Europe until they become the veritable beacon of its salvation.”

Many economists have focused on the failed attempt from 2013 to 2016 to create a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), which failed primarily due to the EU overregulation and protectionist practices in areas such as agriculture and automobiles.

Prior to Brexit, any free trade arrangement with Great Britain would have had to be under an EU umbrella. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was vilified by many on the U.S./U.K. leftwing for supporting Brexit, though few would trade the U.K.’s response to the COVID pandemic with that of the E.U.

As a result of Brexit, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Johnson engaged in five negotiation sessions which started on May 5, 2020, to hammer out a U.S./U.K. FTA.

The Trump administration envisioned the benefits of such an agreement to expand economic opportunities in all sectors, create better-paying jobs for Americans and eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers between the two. In addition, the U.K. felt that such an agreement would enliven British GDP and consumer choice.

Although there are many more positives than negatives, there are hurdles to overcome. For example, British food standards that oppose particular GMOs, chemical, antibiotic and hormone use by U.S. producers are a clear issue on their side of the Atlantic, while Americans view the British National Health Service (NHS) effectively undercuts American pharmaceuticals through government support. There are also sticking points over digital service taxes.

This U.S./U.K. FTA would join the world’s first- and sixth-largest economies and promote military and defense sales and technology exchange when anti-Western adversaries are growing in strength. More importantly and beyond the scope of any economic calculation, such an FTA would strengthen the Anglo-American special relationship at a time when Churchill’s dream of the destiny of the “English-speaking peoples” is needed more than ever.

It would fulfill the fifth clause of the 1940 Atlantic Charter between President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill: “Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;”.

This is not merely the concrete military and diplomatic link which is the strongest between two nations, perhaps in history, but a bond of history, law, culture, religion and society.

Such an agreement is the natural and organic outgrowth of the Anglosphere as the center of gravity of western democratic and Judeo-Christian values whose influence over democracy promotion, human rights, the rule of law, the free flow of goods, services and ideas are the very cornerstones needed for a bright 21st century.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 6 May, 2021.

Newsmax: It’s Time the Biden Administration Recognizes That Space Force Is No Farce

There seems to be a cottage industry developing around the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, and her gaffes and mischaracterizations.

For example, when asked about the Biden administration’s support for the new military branch, the United States Space Force, Psaki was caught off guard.

A reporter asked about the Biden administration’s commitment to keeping Space Force, and she responded, “Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today.”

The reporter pushed back, and Psaki continued by saying, “It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if we have any update on that.”

House Armed Services ranking member Mike Rogers was blunt when he remarked, “It’s concerning to see the Biden administration’s press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I’m sure China would find funny,” Psaki later walked the comment back.

The White House confirmed their “full support” for Space Force.

However, most analysts agree that space-national security is not a top priority of this administration.

As one of the presenters and authors of Space Command’s, The Future of Space 2060, it is incumbent on those enmeshed in space strategy to comment during this genesis period for the new U.S. Space Force.

Space Force is under siege by various factions with drastically different ideologies, ranging from left-wing secular progressives that believe Space Force will militarize an already militarized space to libertarians who believe that it is a colossal waste of money.

These two vastly different groups share two traits: firstly, they want to characterize Space Force as a “Trump vanity project.”

Secondly, they have zero understanding of the strategic precipice America is walking on. Thus, these groups focus on cosmetic attacks because they are entirely out of their depth on strategy.

They make fun of the uniforms, the name “guardians,” the use of the delta insignia (which pre-dates Star Trek), and the general absurdity via a Netflix series.

A review of the fundamental issues is in order. There were long-standing debates about the need for a military space branch. Ultimately, these debates distilled down to arguments over the concepts of “Guard,” “Corps,” and “Force.”

The third idea, a Space Force, would be an independent branch after transitioning from the U.S. Air Force.

These debates were held among space and military professionals in niche areas and did not include the broader national security elite or the electorate. This is one reason why the extremists have controlled the narrative and may offer cover to those in the new administration that want to stall Space Force rather than eliminate an already existing institution.

In an interview with the NYT on March 8th, General Raymond, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, summarized the new branch’s importance: “I think it’s really important for the average American to understand access to space and freedom to maneuver in space is a vital interest.”

The benefit to the American people protected by our Space Force Guardians is immeasurable. Any professional looking at the future of American national security realizes that this security will depend on which power exercises military primacy and space governance.

Thus, there will no longer be a separation between what we call national security and space strategy, to be precise. They will literally and figuratively be the same. Let that sink into any reader as one evaluates the need for the U.S. Space Force. The benefits and threats from space will dwarf those on Earth.

All of those benefits and threats on Earth will ultimately be decided by space strategy.

The mightiest Carrier Task Force, tank platoon, or bomb squadron will be utterly vulnerable to space-based threats just as the medieval fortress became almost useless versus mobile artillery and, later on, warplanes.

China and Russia are embarked on complimentary space policies to beat us in space. They already have their versions of a militarized space branch, and more importantly, space dominance doctrines that are specifically designed to dethrone the United States from its military and economic position.

Thus, a newsflash for opponents or those that mock Space Force is this: space was militarized long ago and continues to be militarized. Russia and China fully intend to amplify this regardless of American efforts, including diplomacy and or negotiations.

The coming economic revolution, the revolution of “New Space,” the revolution of the “triplanetary economy,” will unleash economic forces and powers that will extend economies and resources beyond anything in human history. This econosphere will either be protected by Space Force or left to be exploited by America’s adversaries.

The new space economy will need to be protected, communication will need to be managed, travel and spacecraft control maintained, and debris will need to be cleared. No economic system can exist without the protection of the law, private property, contracts, and protection from hostility, violence, chaos, and criminality.

The future of WMD defense, cyber defense, energy production, environmental protection, and democratic values will be entirely dependent on American space strategy.

The creation and success of Space Force now signal to America’s adversaries the seriousness in which we take American security beyond rhetoric.

The Space Force is the foundation to build this security for the future.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 29 March 2021.

Newsmax: US Must Draw Red Line Amid China Saber Rattling

China engaged in high-level saber-rattling and boldness when Chinese Politburo member and State Councilor Yang Jiechi used the muscular red-line term in diplomacy.

“We in China hope that the United States will rise above the outdated mentality of zero-sum, major-power rivalry and work with China to keep the relationship on the right track,” Yang said on February 2, 2021, in a speech to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

He exhorted the U.S. to stop “harassing Chinese students, restricting Chinese media outlets, shutting down Confucius Institutes and suppressing Chinese companies.” He said Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang affairs were a “red line that must not be crossed.”

As I have written about before, the famous diplomatic red line’s origins transport us back to the Roman Republic. It revolved around a meeting between the Roman ambassador and the King of the Seleucid Empire, threatening Egypt’s Roman protectorate in 168 B.C.

The meager Roman mission was to force the king to return to Syria. The exchange between the two, as the story itself, has many variations. Initially, the Seleucid’s laugh at such a paltry show of force until the lone-old ambassador draws a line in the sand and says that he had better be marching toward Syria when he steps across the line, not Egypt.

The king retreated, and the red line was born. The concept of a red line was reborn in the contemporary period during the Obama administration when on August 20, 2012, Obama declared an American red line if Assad used chemical weapons again. The Assad regime continued to use them, and there were no dire consequences. The administration had failed in their weak attempt to learn from antiquity.

This vacillation was the bane of the Obama years. The diminishment of American credibility abroad, the self-loathing of American exceptionalism, and the inability to take a firm stand against the worst tyrants, all while hollowing out the U.S. military.

If we parse Communist bombast, we are left with the following: China, which wishes to be the sole superpower by the 100th anniversary of the PRC’s founding in 2049, hopes for the USA to stop an “outdated mentality.”

America should allow Chinese companies to engage in economic espionage, propagandize through our media, and ignore the grossest violations of human rights on the planet. This is all within the context of China’s subjugation of Hong Kong, the ethnic cleansing of the Uighurs, the internal colonization of Tibet, and the intimidation of Taiwan.

If there was ever a self-evident difference between the kind of nation the United States is versus others, it is here. We issued a red line to stop an evil regime from using weapons of mass destruction on their people, and China issues a red line to engage in the same style of evil at home and abroad.

The China red-line speech reflects a very typical Chinese diplomatic style: mix threat, friendliness and victimhood in the same statement and policy.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken responded by stating, “that the United States will work together with its allies and partners in defense of our shared values and interests to hold the [People’s Republic of China] accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait, and its undermining of the rules-based international system.”

China responded by dialing up the temperature on its original red-line rhetoric when Ambassador for the PRC to the United States Cui Tiankai belittled America in an interview stating that America “still shows the example of power rather than the power of example. You don’t have an effective foreign policy just by talking tough or playing tough. This is not the right way of doing diplomacy.”

China has recently escalated its hostile posture toward Taiwan with continuous probing into Taiwanese airspace. It further plans to engage in a “trilateral naval exercise” with Russia and Iran in the Indian Ocean.

China’s neo-Maoist ideology, combined with anti-democratic propaganda, a self-righteous persona, mixed with revanchist psychology, is a toxic atmosphere that the United States must stand against at every point globally. China needs to be taught the real meaning of a Roman red line.

This post first appeared on Newsmax on 11 February 2021.

Newsmax: Challenges for the Next Presidential Term

During the next four years, the man who occupies the presidency will face many serious challenges, none of which received any attention during the last election cycle or, bizarrely, any time during the presidential debates.

The American people may pay a high price for the media’s inability to prioritize, engage, and understand foreign affairs and international relations.

This is not a discussion of every foreign policy problem the president will face. The realm of strategic flashpoints is the area least likely addressed by the media since these are long-term strategic issues fundamentally based on geopolitics and astropolitics.

Thus, a brief primer will illustrate the strategic challenges the president will face. These are best exemplified by the potential flashpoints that condense the national security decision process into a short period. Eleven likely flashpoints could erupt during the next four years to some degree or another. Seven of the 10 involve China in a significant way.

The four remaining primarily involve Russia.

The first two Russian flashpoints are the Euro-Russian frontier stretching from Poland to Romania, and the second is the Baltics. These potential eruptions are all within the context that the EU is in directionless chaos. Russia continues to bully the Baltic and utilizes the ethnic Russian population as a potential menace while threatening to use gray-zone-hybrid warfare to destabilize Baltic independence.

They couple this with the Russian Air Force’s continual harassment of NATO forces and airspace. Now that the Baltic states are full partners in NATO, Russia’s attempt to use any type of force or threat of force must be considered an attack on American national interests.

Russia’s shadow is just as dark when it comes to Russia on the eastern European frontier. Russia has attempted to use energy as a weapon and campaigns hard to drive wedges between the east part of NATO and the core western powers. Needless to say, the threat of a “Soviet” style conventional attack has never evaporated.

Finally, we have Russia’s overt use of conventional strength and expansion into the Arctic, setting the stage for major territorial and resource grab.

The Middle East is a perennial hotspot, but it crosses into great power conflict with Russia’s specter. Russia’s power projection into Syria and its unholy relationship with Iran bolsters the two of the three worst regimes on the planet (the third being North Korea, which maintains close ties to the others.) Any calculation for American actions in Syria or Iran must factor in the Russian equation at some level, even if it is actively to ignore it.

The remaining seven flashpoints center on China’s hostile actions. Those don’t consider the tipping point where western nations will no longer take a passive attitude toward China’s human rights abuses. The next three flashpoints all have to do with China’s strategic maneuvering in Asia. China’s march toward hegemony is finding a demonstration in the South China Sea, which at some point could explode into an outright territorial grab beyond what they have done up to this point.

China’s naval actions make all of her neighbors in the Sea of Japan very nervous. China’s continued backing of the totalitarian regime in North Korea allows that regime a free hand to engage in nuclear weapons development and genocide at home and weapons proliferation abroad.

Two other flashpoints are in and around the sub-continent. The Indian Ocean and the Sino-Indian border illustrate India and China’s tension and conflict as India attempts to rebuff an Asia dominated by her enemy.

The 10th flashpoint is exceptionally dangerous. The potential for naval conflict or a maritime dispute that escalates again relates to China’s power projection, with conflict zones in and around the Taiwan and Tsushima straits a possibility.

Finally, and most importantly, is the realm of space power and space economics. The next few years will determine space leadership. China makes a clear bid for space supremacy with concrete policies and advances that will need to be aggressively and vigorously countered. We are the opening act of a real space opera.

All of these potential flashpoints will either not erupt or will be short-lived based on American decisions. America’s role as the dominant world power has created order, stability, and hope. Any American retreat from this role will enhance violence and chaos.

Newsmax: Biden’s Foreign Policy Without a Strategy

As a young Foreign Service officer without authority or status, one of my first experiences in Washington was attending a debate between the senior foreign policy advisers to Senator Jesse Helms and Joe Biden.

I sat in the small hearing room and listened as both men displayed their acumen as surrogates regarding missile defense and the legacy of President Reagan’s SDI. It astonished me that Biden’s man had so little understanding of realpolitik and, in particular, the goals of our adversaries.

The back and forth continued until the Biden representative retreated into the old canard that the SDI vision could not be accomplished regardless of the political issues because of the problem of technology. During the Q&A, I distinguished myself as a member of the minority in the audience by asking the following question. I still ask today: “In the end, your argument is about a lack of technology and innovation, but that is not your real problem, if we had the technology today, would you still be against it? Is your real problem a disdain for American primacy?”

This vignette, reported to you by less than a bit player, was a colossal change for me. The exchange ultimately led to my introduction and friendship to one of the most outstanding Americans of the age, Ambassador Jim Lilley. The contrast to the vision of Ambassador Lilley and that of the Biden campaign could not be greater. It also serves as a microcosm that haunts Vice President Biden’s record and trajectory on foreign policy and national security.

It is, at its core, a view with no vision and without a strategy. It fails to embrace the very roots of successful American national security strategy, based on Primacy, Democracy Promotion, Preemption, and Prevention, all within the greater sphere of American exceptionalism and superiority.

A review of Vice President Biden’s foreign policy failures has been done and redone. Some have less meaning to the youngest generation, but for those of us in Generation X and older, much will resonate.

As far back as 1975, he showed his true colors opposing support of our South Vietnamese ally following American withdrawal and withholding assistance for South Vietnamese refugees requested by President Ford. In the 1980s, he fought support for the anti-communist resistance in Nicaragua and the anti-communist government of El Salvador. In the 1990s, he voted against Operation Desert storm to expel Saddam from Kuwait and, of course, opposed the National Missile Defense Act.

In the 21st century, he opposed the surge in Iraq that saved Iraq from further civil war and national disintegration. He even openly advocated that Iraq should destroy its sovereignty by dividing the country into three parts, a plan that would have been the greatest gift to Iran that could be conceived. He was consistently critical of President Bush’s foreign policy to right the ship of state from the disastrous Clinton years.

Naturally, as vice president, he supported President Obama’s trio of appeasement, apology, and “leading from behind.” Many are aware of Obama’s Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ quotation:

“I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Gates was right. He opposed moving the American embassy to Jerusalem and advocated a “two-state” solution. The same mantras that the Democratic Party has supported for decades leading to inaction and negative inertia. He was integral to an administration that allowed the people of Syria to live in a forever nightmare, failed to prosecute the war on terror, opposed the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, and squandered the successes that President Bush bequeathed them.

He continues to advocate a tactical rather than strategic response to counter-terrorism, returning to a Clinton-Obama policy that created the weaknesses in our defenses. As one architect of the Iran deal, he offers no solution to the fundamental problem of the Iranian regime and its imperial dreams.

China was and is Biden’s mixed bag; until he decided to run for president, Biden advocated more significant trade relations with China, downplayed their human rights abuses, has been ambiguous about Taiwan, and ignored their military modernization, attempts at dominating space and strategic aggressiveness. His current rhetoric is more hawkish, but his record is the opposite.

Russia is perhaps the strangest odyssey for not just Joe Biden, but also the Democratic party. One would wish Truman or Kennedy’s spirit was pushing them to talk tough, but this would not be accurate. Clinton, Obama and Biden were all part of the group that downplayed the Soviet and then Russian threat. They consistently mocked conservatives and Republicans (Romney-Obama debate) who warned of both. Only when they thought they could use Russia as an election tool against President Trump did they suddenly wake up to a Russian threat.

The very people who exposed the United States to the machinations and aggression of Soviet and then Russian foreign policy now expect the American electorate to believe they have had a change of heart and have morphed into stone-cold realists.

The most worrying aspect regarding specific policy is Vice President Biden’s total lack of vision regarding space, space policy, the new Space Force and the recognition that all the above will determine the future of American national security. His vigorous opposition to the Strategic Defense Initiative and national missile defense grants us a window that his attitude here is one of feebleness.

Ultimately, we elect someone whose primary job is to manage American grand strategy, not a health adviser, curriculum planner, job officer or tax accountant. This, at a minimum, requires a president to understand the grand arc of American history and its trajectory toward the horizon and the stars. Biden’s lack of policy coherence and consistency, combined with his denial of American exceptionalism, will place the Republic on dangerous ground.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 8 October 2020.

Newsmax: VJ Day Ended an Epoch

Sept. 2, 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, an event monumental enough to deserve our remembrance. Japan’s formal surrender occurred aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, in Tokyo Bay.

However, more significant than this, it marked the end of a multi-century epoch and the beginning of a new one.

Americans today live in the shadow of the end of the Second World War like no other event in international affairs. As hard as some try, the legacy of the American victory at the cost of over one million American casualties shines as a beacon of national and individual sacrifice, demonstrating the character of American exceptionalism.

More importantly, the failure of America, to turn the tide would have meant a global descent into chaos, evil, and horror.

As hard as our allies fought, it was American blood, treasure, and leadership that determined the outcome.

America had to fight the triple threat of German Nazism, Italian Fascism, and Japanese Militarism and then immediately pivot against Soviet Communism.

If this was not divine providence, nothing was.

The war did not just up-end the dictatorships of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo, but ended the multi-century international relations period of multi-polarity and ushered in a tense bi-polarity between the United States and the Soviet Union placing the United States as the only defender of human liberty and human dignity.

This is the role we continue in today and will continue into the new space age.

The prior global system was dominated by an era of multiple great powers whose thinking was dominated by irredentism, racism, expansionism, the birth of communism, and imperialism.

The western powers, self-doubting and self-loathing as some on the left engage in today, had attempted the twin titanic failures of isolationism and appeasement because they doubted the rightness and goodness of their own societies.

The end of the war began an American grand strategy and national security that championed democracy abroad as a way to both secure national interests and promote its moral values.

It produced a Pax Americana of international order, civil society, institution building, human rights, free trade, and progress.

This point cannot be overemphasized: American promotion of the empire of liberty has never simply been about elections; it has always been about civil society and liberty under law, whose most tremendous success was illustrated with the creation of a new Germany and Japan under American guidance.

The end of the Second World War created a profound change in American thinking about national security and defense.

The term “national security” came out of this period, and the Truman administration quickly realized that it had to steer a new course for America.

America needed a permanent national security system to forestall another Pearl Harbor and to keep Soviet imperialism at bay. It understood the need for a permanent and sizeable professional military, a new branch of the armed services in the U.S. Air Force, a permanent new intelligence service in the CIA, and a new body to advise the president, the National Security Council.

All of these foundations we rely on today come out of the aftermath of VJ Day (Victory Over Japan Day).

America resisted the calls to return to a self-absorbed, inward-looking fool’s paradise.

The United States took the more challenging road and not only built a Republic devoted to liberty at home but liberty abroad as well.

America unleashed forces that would give hope to nations and people seeking independence, and the desire to throw off the tyrant’s yoke put men on the moon and became the engine of a global economy based and stability and prosperity.

My father, who was a combat paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne during the war mirrored most of his citizen soldiers in that they sought no great accolades or triumphal arches, just the understanding they had fought for the most remarkable civilization humans had ever created.

In short, America went from a great power to a power for greatness in a single generation.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 31 August, 2020.

Newsmax: 75 Years Ago the Bomb Saved the World

My last column concerned the legacy of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences that were the final summits at the end of the Second World War. The atomic bomb was integral to the outcome of those summits and completely altered both American foreign policy and American national security to this day.

It has and is fashionable to decry President Harry Truman and his decision to use the atomic bomb against the Japanese empire during the Second World War.

The decision has been mutated by the educational and media establishment, which seeks to cast the judgment as incompetence, but more likely, decries it as evil.

Like so much lost in America today, there is no appreciation for the history of this period, and more importantly, the existential struggle the United States faced against the Axis powers, and then immediately with the Soviet Union. In case some readers are unaware, the term “existential,” when applied to foreign affairs literally, means that the civilization involved will cease to exist if the decisions are wrong.

It’s probably difficult for those who possess little education, however much they might have on paper, to fully grasp the horrendous struggle America engaged in from 1941 to 1945.

They are less likely to understand how close to defeat we came on several occasions.

It’s lost on many that had the United States lost a few pivotal battles like Normandy, and Midway, the entire outcome of the war would have changed.

It’s also beyond the scope of many to fully grasp the casualty rates that America suffered.

Contemporary Americans may be shocked to know that America suffered 6,000 casualties on the first day of Normandy, and 49,000 during the battle of Okinawa.

One should pause here because part of Truman’s decision was because of the casualty rates that came in from Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Truman’s decision followed the absurd fighting in places like Iwo Jima and Okinawa and, more importantly, the projected casualties (as reported to Secretary of War Stimson) of Operations Olympic and Coronet (the projected conventional invasion of Japan) to be over 1 million Americans and 5 to 10 million Japanese.

Other myths and fairytales have grown up surrounding the decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9.

We must keep in mind that the United States had three total bombs, one of which had already been used during the New Mexico test.

The most common myths associated with Truman and this period need a quick dispelling:

Truman had a committee considering alternatives, including using the bomb as a demonstration or continuing the much more horrific option of enforced starvation through a blockade. He also wanted to ensure that the targets made political and cultural sense, and therefore Tokyo and Kyoto were not ultimately targeted.

Truman’s decision was also affected by the growing kamikaze casualties and the militarists of Japan, who clearly stated that it would be better for Japan to be destroyed than surrender. Finally, it must be remembered the Soviets invaded Japan in between the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The question of whether Japan today would have been better off being divided like Korea is one that is easy to answer with an emphatic no.

Can the Japanese people or we even conceive of what the horrors and genocide inside a Peoples Republic (North Japan) of Japan would have looked like?

Finally, an item rarely discussed is that both the Germans and the Japanese were working on their own atomic bomb projects. We know the Soviets were stealing ours during our creation of it.

It’s worth reflecting on what kind of world would have existed if any of those powers would have had a first nuclear weapon, and worse, an atomic monopoly.

The decision to drop the atomic bombs was the hardest any president faced. Truman exhibited the first taste of his national security doctrine with this decision, and it was one that he neither relished nor regretted.

The dropping of the bombs ended the war in the Pacific and saved millions of allied soldiers and Japanese civilian lives. It blunted the immediate Soviet threat and gave the West breathing room to deal with the looming Communist threat that sought world domination through the spread of evil, misery, and terror.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 6 August, 2020.

Newsmax: Ghosts of Past Summits: Yalta and Potsdam

Seventy-five years ago, the Allied victory against the Axis was on the horizon. The crisis in international relations was only beginning. For almost 100 years, the world suffered under what international relations scholars clinically refer to as a “multi-polar” world system. Prior to that, there was a brief period of stability with the Pax Britannica from 1815 to 1871. Taking the long view of history, minus the brief period of British stability, the world had 1,500 years of great and small power conflict, starting with the fall of the Roman empire. This “system” of constant warfare, chaos, lawlessness and violence came to a crashing end in 1945 when the world experienced, arguably, for the only time in world history, a bipolar division between the USA and the USSR.

Two allied conferences occurred in the late winter and mid-summer of 1945. These conferences were designed to end the war and to sow the seeds for the future world system. The failure of the United States at Yalta pre-determined a problem at Potsdam and should remind us that when a liberal (Wilsonian) view of diplomacy is held, the interests of the United States are never met. This can best be translated by the idea that when the deal itself becomes more important than the mission, the United States always loses. We can see this conflict dynamic today over Iran created by the Obama administration and North Korea, created by the Clinton administration and the overall liberal failures regarding relations with Russia and China. Those forces that seek victory through a declaration of a deal versus those who see victory through American interests.

In February 1945, the sickly Roosevelt attended his last conference at the Crimean resort of Yalta. He believed he needed the Soviet Union to defeat the Japanese and therefore issued his call for free elections in Europe merely as a face-saving device; he received a promise from the Soviet Union that it would enter the U.N.

Roosevelt believed that a Soviet sphere of influence was a reality and opposing it was not worth the risk of the Soviet Union not entering the U.N. or the war against Japan. He saw few alternatives, as he did not believe the American public would accept more casualties over a war with the Soviets. Roosevelt’s obsession with the Grand Alliance blinded him to the future catastrophe that awaited the United States during the Cold War and beyond. Roosevelt’s obsession over the ideal of the deal, for him, the U.N., blinded him to the reality on the ground. His insistence on unconditional surrender had merit until opportunities in Germany in 1944 presented a different picture. Roosevelt’s doctrine of fighting in Europe first, then Japan, made grand strategy sense, as did his use of the presidency to rebuild the U.S. military as much as he could before the war started. His role as a wartime leader is untarnished, but his view of grand strategy was mixed and murky.

Roosevelt’s appeasement of the Soviets at Yalta led to the problems of Potsdam. He traded liberalism and realism like a horse broker, compromising over Poland to get Soviet promises over Japan and the United Nations, arguing to advisers that he could “work with Stalin.”

The infamous Yalta Conference Declaration was made on February 11, 1945. Although it reiterated unconditional surrender and the need to punish the evil of the Nazis, it also guaranteed that liberated Europe would be treated under the terms of the Atlantic Charter. For all of FDR’s railing against appeasement, Yalta seemed to appease the Soviets.

FDR was attempting to lay the foundations for the Grand Alliance to outlast the war and thought that accommodating the Soviets was worth this price. This strand of thought continued throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, with those advocating accommodation to get some perceived concession by sacrificing American values.

The new U.N., FDR’s ultimate legacy of liberal internationalism, was supposed to be an “instrument of American leadership.” Mirroring Wilson, FDR seemed to be willing to sacrifice genuine issues, such as Poland, on the altar of international organization participation. FDR saw the so-called four policemen dividing up law and order for the world with Great Britain in Western Europe, the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, the United States in the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific and China in the rest of Asia. These spheres of influence would contain Germany and Japan and also solidify American internationalism. Wilson had conducted even worse diplomacy to get international support for the League of Nations, arguably sowing one of the major seeds causing the Second World War.

Harry Truman became president because of the death of FDR in April 1945. Truman immediately faced two immense national security decisions, one of which — the decision to use nuclear weapons — no leader and no human had ever faced before. The other was the Potsdam Conference from July 16 to August 2, 1945. The “Big Three” were Truman, Stalin and Churchill, who was replaced by Atlee. The only person to have attended all of these was Stalin. When Truman was vice president, he had been locked out of national security and foreign policy decisions by FDR, and he was only allowed to meet with FDR twice.

Potsdam was a strange conference in that it occurred after the German defeat but prior to the surrender of Japan, which many did not foresee until 1947. During the Potsdam Conference, Truman was informed about the successful test of the atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Truman informed Stalin that America had a superweapon, not realizing that Soviet intelligence had already provided Stalin with more information than Truman probably had. The result of the Potsdam Conference was the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945, calling for the unconditional surrender and occupation of Japan. It promised that if Japan did not surrender, “the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.”

The Potsdam Conference sowed the seeds of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union by dividing Germany and Austria into four occupation zones and doing the same for the city of Berlin. It pledged to treat Germany as a single nation and to de-Nazify the government and society. The failure of the Japanese to accept the conditions of the Potsdam Declaration led Truman to authorize the dropping of the only remaining two atomic bombs that the United States possessed — on Hiroshima on August 6 and on Nagasaki on August 9. There were reasonable military and political reasons to use the bombs.

Truman’s radio report on August 9, 1945, to the American people, after Potsdam illustrated the initial goals of the U.S. national security policy, his desire to work hand-in-hand with the U.N., his frustration over past conference agreements (especially over Poland) and his defense of using the atomic bomb:

“We must do all we can to spare her from the ravages of any future breach of the peace. That is why, though the United States wants no territory or profit or selfish advantage out of this war, we are going to maintain the military bases necessary for the complete protection of our interests and of world peace. Bases which our military experts deem to be essential for our protection and which are not now in our possession, we will acquire . . . The question of Poland was a most difficult one. Certain compromises about Poland had already been agreed upon at the Crimea conference. They obviously were binding upon us at Berlin . . . Our victory in Europe was more than a victory of arms. It was a victory of one way of life over another. It was a victory of an ideal founded on the rights of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, on the conception of the State as the servant — and not the master — of its people. A free people showed that it was able to defeat professional soldiers whose only moral arms were obedience and the worship of force.”

He believed at Potsdam and afterward that the only thing the Russians understood was force.

Truman salvaged FDR’s titanic mistakes at Yalta as best he could. In 1947 he declared what became known as the Truman Doctrine, which combined American realist interests with its democratic values righting the ship of state and creating the only successful template for American national security. Truman’s legacy has guided successful foreign policy since that time, namely a foreign policy that confidently faces the future based on robust strength, clear national interests and democratic values.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 16 July, 2020.

Newsmax: Failed Economic Ideology on China

“Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the way to survival or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed.” 

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If you say something often enough, you can either talk others or yourself into believing it.  We have been told repeatedly by pundits who lecture us on how vital pragmatism in politics is and how ideology is irrelevant and that the only thing that matters is the bottom line.

Utilitarianism in politics and economics is equally attractive as it is useless. We call this column “From the Heartland,” and so a saying from the heartland is appropriate. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. This is especially true when one analyzes the assumptions of the status quo regarding China. The media devote much of the news to the “new Cold War” and “sudden tensions” between the United States and China. Those primarily on the Left will use this narrative, with help from some libertarians, to condemn the current administrations’ more robust approach towards China, advocated by officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The problem is that the narrative is false.

In reality, America and the PRC have been on a collision course since 1949. The Truman administration quickly realized that the creation of a left-wing totalitarian dictatorship would not only destabilize Asia, condemn the Chinese people to state terror but also create a permanent enemy to American values and strategic concerns. This situation literally blew up with Mao’s engineering (with the support of Stalin) of the Korean War, which set the tone not only for our relationship with China but with the tragedy on the Korean peninsula.

Early on, there were advocates in the United States that sought accommodation and during the Nixon years, an attempt to use our enemy in Beijing with our stronger enemy in Moscow. When Deng Xiao Ping began opening China in 1978, there were early American promoters who wanted to take advantage of this situation. This resurrected the 19th century American merchant dream of the “China market.”

The 1980s and 1990s saw this blossom into full-throated advocacy of entering China, no matter what the cost, in order to take advantage of a cowed workplace, low wages and a corrupt Communist Party willing to accept bribes and favors to streamline business ventures and foreign investment.

China was lauded as the “workshop of the world,” and billions of dollars of products ranging from heavy industry to electronics to medicines were moved to the communist dictatorship. Many Democrats and libertarian inclined Republicans bought into the idea that globalization and a mutated free-market could change China’s behavior and reap generous profits at the same time.

This became the status quo religion and anyone who opposed it was a heretic. These “panda huggers” took over the levers of the American foreign policy, academics and the corporate boardroom establishment. In more formal language, this camp referred to itself as advocates of “constructive engagement.” This group believed that the economic liberalization and greater opening to the West would lead to democratic liberalization. They saw China’s military growth in the context of internal national security rather than expansion. They argued the necessity of keeping trade open as the only source of Western influence in the PRC.

These establishment thinkers in the public, private and academic sectors were wrong on all counts. It was, to use modern slang, an epic fail. These same experts were the ones who told us that the USSR would never collapse and that terrorism was only a mild irritant.

This “practical” argument was as attractive as it was useless. When I was in the government, I took from a Fulbright report I authored earlier, where I wrote, “The Peoples Republic of China will be the next superpower in the 21st century. She will rise to prominence economically, politically and militarily over the next few decades. The PRC will either rival American supremacy or work around it… these security issues that America faces will lead us and the PRC to conflict.”

Such ideas were heresy and had there been some firewood and stakes I might have ended up as a human bonfire. Later, at the beginning of the 21st century, I and other conservatives identified the flashpoints where conflict with China would occur: the South China Sea, a potential military or economic invasion of South Asia, an attempt to dominate the various maritime straits in Asia such as Malacca, Taiwan and Tsushima. China would use intimidation to coerce Taiwan and Japan, destroy freedom in Hong Kong, modernize its military to expand and use coercive economic diplomacy.

Unlike the constrictive engagers, those advocating containment were right on all counts.

We can add to this the latest and boldest attempts by China regarding their insidious actions concerning the COVID virus, the economic imperialism of “One Belt-One Road,” and the beginning attempts to dominate space.

Those who opposed the status quo thinking of the late 20th Century, advocating containment, were castigated as right-wing warmongers. The “panda huggers” excoriated them, insisting they did not understand the supremacy of the market and the inevitability of democratic thinking.

Just as liberals and progressives have suddenly discovered the Russian threat, a threat they belittled for decades, they failed to see the threat from China and continue to misunderstand China’s strategic objectives. Republicans, who had stars in their eyes about the China market, allowed themselves to rationalize PRC behavior and told conservatives to wait, that China was an adolescent that needed to mature.

Conservatives understood that there was never a utilitarian argument, just as there is no right moral utilitarian argument in philosophy, a curse from the nonsense of Jeremy Bentham and the Benthamites.

Conservatives are believers in the free-market, but they do so because they believe the free-market enhances economic and political liberty. A conservative would never serve his nation on a platter to a foreign entity for business. Conservatives made the case that there were national security imperatives that overcame economic utility and industries ranging from high tech to medicine to heavy steel were, by necessity, needed to be domestically maintained. They understood that the driving force behind the Chinese government is the twinning of a corrupt communist party and her grand strategy globally.

The communist party will do anything to stay in power, exemplified by President Xi’s lifetime presidency and a political crackdown on any dissent or freedom. Strategically, China desires to overcome U.S. power regionally first, globally second and finally to dominate the final frontier in space. The “constructive engagers” were wrong in the ’80s, the ’90s and today.

Their poor decision-making has cost America dearly, including the thousands dead of the COVID virus. Beware when someone advocates pragmatism, as it is rarely “what works,” but it is almost always a ruse for a selfish narcissism whose goal is sinister and backward. Conservative principles are the only anchor for any policy regarding China now and in the future.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 19 May 2020.

Newmax: How Coronavirus Felled ‘Woke’ — For Now

As our nation goes through the trauma of Covid-19, we remember one of the cultural and political effects seen in the aftermath of 9/11, namely the death of “woke.”

Of course, in 2001, no one was using the term woke.

Back then it was known as “poltically correct” (PC).

Regardless, the current national crisis ensures the death of yet another variation of the same sentiment by a segment of the population with a desperate desire to control and manipulate the First Amendment.

Ask yourself the following: since the Virus has gained national attention, what stories and news items have survived the cut? One telling area that has survived “virus primacy” is religion. This has been mainly focused on how Christian churches continue to operate and provide services and how people are unhappy that they cannot go to those churches as they once did.

There have been stories about trade, the stock market, unemployment, and the direction of the economy. There is much concern about how families, primarily married people with children, will manage hosting school at home.

This dialogue is not on woke issues, but on educational fundamentals and making sure children continue their education at home.

There have been a few reports on the machinations of Iran, Russia, and China.

We also have a smattering of stories on the American military, the space program, the Olympics, Islamic Extremism (and terrorism), and the question of the elections.

What have we not seen?

There is no serious person today that is addressing what one could call woke concerns.

These include, but are not limited to, concerns about pronouns or labels-mislabeling in general, white male patriarchy, social justice warrior activism, or spending on a myriad of dubious woke monetary programs that do not help people in economic need.

One school of thought will argue that the absence of these stories proves nothing.

They will say that the crisis is unusual, and therefore the “normal” role of the media and people’s concerns have shifted.

This is an interesting pseudo-intellectual response that proves the point about importance.

If one’s issue is not essential during times of stress and turmoil, how essential is it when things are normal?

That is forgetting that woke people hate the word “normal,” to begin with.

The virus has been and continues to be horrible.

Every normal person on the planet is saddened at the continuing tragedy, especially looking at places like New York City, and Italy. However, one morning we will return to the regular routine, and all the divisive coverage designed to isolate Americans from each other, forcing us at each other’s throats, might also return.

The woke movement will be one of the primary reasons for this, and they are much better adept than Russian and Chinese bot accounts.

The entire premise of the woke movement is to compartmentalize us, categorize us, victimhood us, and label us. This is George Orwell’s “1984” without the state as the main actor, but a movement made up of sad little kings on sad little hills. Kings relishing in the politics of destruction and cancel culture. They are the enemies of free thought and critical thinking, and thus the enemy of true liberal education.

This crisis reminds Americans of the true purpose of a republic.

The role at the national level is to provide for the common defense and welfare.

This means to guarantee our comprehensive national security, which not only protects us from enemies foreign and domestic (ranging from space issues, counter-terrorism, and threats from great-powers, domestic radicals, unsafe food to an unstable medical supply chain) but safeguards our economic health and the health of the American people.

At the state and local level, it is to provide for fire protection, ambulance service, law enforcement, sanitation, and ensuring the roads are safe and maintained. Once all of these things are fully complete and funded, then should we look to anything else.

Americans have unified during this crisis, Democratic governors praising President Trump, and bipartisan legislation being passed in record time. This unification needs to continue, and an objective assessment of the good, bad, and the ugly of how the crisis at all levels was handled needs to occur.

This analysis should not focus on recriminations, but on avoiding it in the future.

When this is over, ask yourself this question when the woke people attempt to restart their assault: if these woke issues were unimportant during the crisis, why are they relevant today or perhaps, ever?

This piece originally ran on Newsmax.com on 1 April 2020.