Honorable Exit From Empire
As any military historian will testify, among the
most difficult of maneuvers is the strategic retreat.
retreat from Moscow,
Lee`s retreat to
Appomattox and MacArthur`s
retreat from the Yalu come to mind. The
British Empire abandoned India in 1947—and a
Muslim-Hindu bloodbath ensued.
France`s departure from Indochina was ignominious,
abandonment of hundreds of thousands of faithful
Algerians to the FALN disgraceful. Few Americans can
humiliation of Saigon `75, or the
boat people, or the
Strategic retreats that turn into routs are often the
result of what
Lord Salisbury called "the commonest error in
politics … sticking to the carcass of dead policies."
From 1989 to 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet
Empire and breakup of the U.S.S.R., America had an
opportunity to lay down its global burden and become
again what Jeane Kirkpatrick called "a normal country
in a normal time."
We let the opportunity pass by, opting instead to use
our wealth and power to convert the world to democratic
capitalism. And we have
reaped the reward of all the other empires that went
before: A sinking currency, relative decline, universal
enmity, a series of what
Rudyard Kipling called
"the savage wars of peace."
Yet, opportunity has come anew for America to shed
its imperial burden and become again the republic of our
The chairman of Chiang Kai-shek`s Kuomintang Party
has just been hosted for six days by Beijing. Commercial
flights have begun between Taipei and the mainland. Is
not the time ripe for America to declare our job done,
that the relationship between
China and Taiwan is no longer a vital interest of
the United States?
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki`s government wants a
status of forces agreement with a timetable for full
withdrawal of U.S. troops. Is it not time to say yes, to
declare that full withdrawal is our goal as well, that
the United States seeks no permanent bases in Iraq?
On July 4, Reuters, in a story headlined
"Poland Rejects U.S. Missile Offer," reported
"Poland spurned as
insufficient on Friday a U.S. offer to boost its air
defenses in return for basing anti-missile interceptors
on its soil. …
"`We have not reached a
satisfactory result on the issue of increasing the level
of Polish security,` Prime Minister Donald Tusk told a
news conference after studying the latest U.S.
Tusk is demanding that America "provide billions
of dollars worth of U.S. investment to upgrade Polish
air defenses in return for hosting 10 two-stage missile
interceptors," said Reuters.
Reflect if you will on what is going on here.
Poland into NATO, we agreed to defend her against
the world`s largest nation, Russia, with thousands of
nuclear weapons. Now the Polish regime is refusing us
permission to site 10 anti-missile missiles on Polish
soil, unless we pay Poland billions for the privilege.
Has Uncle Sam gone senile?
No. Tusk has Sam figured out. The old boy is so
desperate to continue in his Cold War role as world`s
Defender of Democracy he will even pay the Europeans—to
Why not tell Tusk that if he wants an air defense
system, he can buy it; that we Americans are no longer
willing to pay Poland for the privilege of defending
Poland; that the anti-missile missile deal is off. And
use cancellation of the missile shield to repair
relations with a far larger and more important power,
Vladimir Putin`s Russia.
Consider, too, the opening
South Korea is giving us to end our 60-year
commitment to defend her against the North. For weeks,
anti-American protests against a trade deal that
U.S. beef into South Korea. Koreans say they fear
Yet, when a new deal was cut to limit imports to U.S.
beef from cattle less than 30 months old, that too was
rejected by the protesters. Behind the demonstrations
lies a sediment of anti-Americanism.
In 2002, a Pew Research Center survey of 42 nations
found 44 percent of South Koreans, second highest number
of any country, holding an unfavorable view of the
United States. A Korean survey put the figure at 53
percent, with 80 percent of youth holding a negative
view. By 39 percent to 35 percent, South Koreans saw the
United States as a greater threat than North Korea.
Can someone explain why we keep 30,000 troops on the
DMZ of a nation whose people do not even like us?
The raison d`etre for NATO was the Red Army on
the Elbe. It disappeared two decades ago. The Chinese
army left North Korea 50 years ago. Yet NATO endures and
the U.S. Army stands on the DMZ. Why?
Because, if all U.S. troops were brought home from
Europe and Korea, 10,000 rice bowls would be broken.
They are the rice bowls of politicians, diplomats,
generals, journalists and think tanks who would all have
to find another line of work.
And that is why the Empire will endure until disaster
befalls it, as it did all the others.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.