by Patrick J. Buchanan
October 25, 2016
Alliances are transmission belts of war.
So our Founding Fathers taught and the 20th century proved.
When Britain, allied to France, declared war on Germany in 1914, America sat out, until our own ships were being sunk in 1917.
When Britain, allied to France, declared war on Germany, Sept. 3, 1939, we stayed out until Hitler declared war on us, Dec. 11, 1941.
As the other Western powers bled and bankrupted themselves, we emerged relatively unscathed as the world’s No. 1 power. The Brits and French lost their empires, and much else, and ceased to be great powers.
Stalin’s annexation of Central Europe and acquisition of an atom bomb, and Mao’s triumph in China in 1949, caused us to form alliances from Europe to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Australia.
Yet, with the end of the Cold War, we did not dissolve a single alliance. NATO was expanded to embrace all the nations of the former Warsaw Pact and three former republics of the USSR.
This hubristic folly is at the heart of present tensions with Russia.
Now, Beltway hawks have begun to push the envelope to bring former Soviet republics Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, with some urging us to bring in the Cold War neutrals Sweden and Finland.
Given the resentment of the Russian people toward America, for exploiting their time of weakness after the breakup of the Soviet Union, to drive our alliance onto their front porch, such moves could trigger a conflict that could escalate to nuclear weapons.
Moscow has warned us pointedly and repeatedly about this.
Yet now that the election is almost over, neocons burrowed in their think tanks are emerging to talk up U.S. confrontations with Syria, Russia, Iran and China. Restraining America’s War Party may be the first order of business of the next president.
Fortunately, after the Libyan debacle, President Obama has lost any enthusiasm for new wars.
Indeed, he has a narrow window of opportunity to begin to bring our alliances into conformity with our interests – by serving notice that the United States is terminating its 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with Manila.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is proving himself to be an unstable anti-American autocrat, who should not be entrusted with the power to drag us into war over some rocks or reefs in the South China Sea.