Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reagan, Berlin, and Now

In case anyone missed it because the media decided to worship their sun god Obama, yesterday was a special day.  Twenty five years ago President Ronald Reagan sounded the clarion call for freedom in what used to be West Berlin.  He demanded of Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!"  Which wall?  Why the Berlin Wall of course, a gray concrete monstrosity that encircled West Berlin in an attempt to prevent people from escaping that paradise called East Germany.  Many paid with their lives in the attempt.

That day in 1987 is fondly remembered in countries of the former Warsaw Pact.  For example Poland and a guy named Lech Walesa struggling to free themselves from Soviet tyranny and dreaded visits by the secret police.  It told them they were not forgotten even when some in the free West, like the rioters in West Berlin protesting Reagan, wanted to forgot so they could 'normalize' relationships with the USSR.  The classic do not provoke the Russian bear least get eaten type.

Just a few years later, many Germans, East and West, were busily smashing those concrete walls with hammers.  And a market for bits of the Wall rapidly sprung up.  Pundits in the West declared it was the end of the Cold War.  One even bravely proclaimed it to the be end of history.

So where are we in 2012.  Obviously we did not reach the end of history that was predicted in those heady days.  As for the end of the Cold War.  Has it really ended?  Looking at things across the globe in objective terms, that answer is also no.

The USSR, the arch nemesis, no longer exists this is true.  Many of the countries it controlled with bayonets and bullets are no longer its satrapies.  But has the country that replaced it, Russia, given up the idea of global ambitions?  With Putin at the helm and supplying such rogue governments as Iran with the means of nuclear warfare along with its efforts to undermine US foreign policy, that answer most definitely is no.

That other communist super power of the Cold War, the Peoples Republic of China, still exists.  And its power and influence has grown whilst that of the USSR has waned.  Even if it's economy appears headed for the wall, the ambition and military might of this country can not be ignored as US re-alignment of its military posture towards the PRC shows.

So now that I have offered evidence that the Cold War has not died but merely changed a few labels, what is the US doing to answer this challenge?  One I have already mentioned, the shift of focus from Europe to the Pacific.  There is also increased interfacing with countries being threatened by the PRC, except in one instance - the current administration has denied Taiwan 66 F-16 fighters.  Meanwhile the US Navy, who would bear the brunt of fighting for the US to assist allies and itself to keep the sea lanes open, is seeing its strength drop from a hoped for 313 ships to 'around 300.'  Aegis cruisers are being retired and $3billion DDGs of the Zumwalt class are simply too expensive.  Meanwhile the Littoral Combat Ship is being produced in two incompatible types.  US Air Force fighters are getting older while the F-22 has finished production and still waiting for the first F-35, which means the F-16 will still roll off the production lines.  Of course a lot of this procurement assumes Washington D.C. will get its act together before mandatory sequestration strikes the Dept. of Defense budget and guts everything.

So while the Cold War seems to be still alive though socialists are loathe to admit it with their constant harping it's over, foolishness and shortsightedness in elected officials in Washington D.C. still seems rampant.  So do not mind me if I am getting a pre-WWII in the Pacific vibe from all this.  Only firm clear leadership can sort out this problem before another Pearl Harbor is experienced


Bird said...
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DirtCrashr said...

I remember that wall, I visited and went through Checkpoint Charlie - a looong timne ago...

Anna said...

Never got to see Checkpoint Charlie. My trips to Germany were all after it fell. Never got to visit Berlin at all.