June 7, 2014
About 14 million American and allied soldiers (including all military services) died in WW II. Of those, about a half million were Americans. Surprisingly, (to me, at least) three to four million were Chinese and over eight million were from the old Soviet Union, especially Russia.
I certainly don’t want to take away from the courage and commitment of the men whose storming of the beaches at Normandy we remembered this week – especially those who lost their lives there. But, all this week, I’ve heard how we stormed the beaches of Normandy and won the war, as if none of the sacrifices that went on before counted. Over eight million soldiers in Russia and the Soviet Union died repulsing the German push to the east; the battle of Stalingrad destroyed the best of the German Wehrmacht. Over three million Chinese soldiers died in fighting Japan’s expansion across Asia, without which we might not have survived the war long enough to drop the atomic bombs on Japan.
But Germany and Japan are now Imperial allies, while Russia and China are on the Empire’s shit list, having apparently rebuffed our demands that we be allowed to spread “freedom and democracy” via NATO troops missile batteries and military bases right up to their doorsteps.
We accuse China of the very same kind of spying on our corporations that our government and corporations do on China, even indicting five of their military (though, unless we are so stupid as to try and kidnap them, they will never be handed over to us for prosecution). And we have surrounded them with military bases and created the same type of imaginary monsters out of China that we have made of Russia, for the same reasons – money, oil and power.
In designating ourselves as the exceptional and indispensable nation, a shining city on a hill, chosen by God to go forth and maintain order (our version, anyway) globally, we are in danger of believing our own propaganda. We have not had a clear cut victory in any of the wars we’ve fought since “we” won WW II. Now, there are those in our military and government who have convinced themselves we can win a nuclear war with Russia and China if necessary. (Though they haven’t seemed to consider what would remain of the world they so want to rule, by “winning” such a war.)
It is never wise to base your policies on your own propaganda. The peaking of conventional oil has come and gone, the peaking of unconventional sources is just ahead, climate change is accelerating and so are its costs and, despite the illusions of a soaring stock market – pumped up by QE3 – our economy and financial structure is no more sound than it was in 2008. We are not in any shape to fight a war – economic, conventional or nuclear – with Russia and China.
And if history teaches us anything, it is that alliances shift, Empires fall and complex systems can grow or fail in ways both unexpected and non-linear. We are fools if we let these lessons of history slip down the memory hole.