The World is again full of turmoil, that is not surprising. What should be surprising is how of it could have been avoided, but wasn’t. One of humanity most innate instincts is that of surviving. As a result we have an affinity to learn find out what the mistakes were and what caused them. For instance, early man had to learn that fire burns, that some animals were unfriendly, same with some other groups of humans. We had to learn how to plant crops in a way that we would reap the most benefits. We learned which plants we could eat, which to avoid, how to cook some that would otherwise kill us. We learned not to cross rivers after torrential rains, how to make metal instruments, etc. All was done through trial and error over the millenia. We learned to build cities, to fortify them and then to write things down so that future generations would benefits from their knowledge.
Here we are in the 21st Century, today the combined knowledge of thousands of years of humanity is available at your fingertips in the internet but in many ways we are still that primitive man trying to cross that swollen river, despite the lessons of those that got washed away. As a result we have to re-learn the lessons again and again. No, we can not cross that river but we keep believing that if we turn this way or that way and if we do it diagonally or more slowly we will get to the other side.
Current events are just examples of getting swept away by the currents. Vietnam which for decades dictated how our foreign military policy would be conducted, taught us great lessons that should have prevented us making similar mistakes in the future but we forgot those lessons and are now having to re-learn them. The reality is in war there has to be a victor and the enemy must be vanquished, otherwise we will be doing it again or ultimately losing. Fighting half a war means winning half the victory.
After the costly victory in Vietnam in January 1973, and yes I said victory, we had destroyed the North Vietnamese’s ability to make war but we did not vanquished them. While we promised the South Vietnamese that we would support them with military aid, not troops, we reneged on that promise. The North Vietnamese on the other hand got lots of assistance from China and the Soviet Union, when they launched their Spring Offensive in 1975 the South Vietnamese ran were defenseless and collapsed, granting a real victory to the North who vanquished the South by re-uniting it with the North into communist united Vietnam. The lessons were clear, a war is not won on half measures, our refusal to attack the North directly dragged the war for years at horrendous human cost. Once we changed our tactics the North sued for Peace but we did not follow through we left a divided Vietnam and a South Vietnam which had been devastated by years of fighting to fend for itself.
During the First Gulf War we applied the one lesson from Vietnam and went in with a large force, not incremental increases of troops that was the method in Vietnam, we quickly and overwhelmingly won the contest. But we did not vanquish Saddam, instead we watched as he vanquished those that tried to rise against him after the hostilities with our forces were finished. As we did in Vietnam we failed to vanquish the enemy, all the while we ask Iraqis to fight against Saddam, and left them defenseless once he turn his attention to them. We went back to Iraq, deposed of Saddam but after the country was pacified we again left the country to its own devices, we ignored the rising river of resentment of the new Iraqi government by the Sunni population which had backed Saddam. Reality is biting us again…
Reality is biting us in Africa as well, for years the State Department ignored the actions of Boko Haram and refused to call them a terrorist organization despite the many attacks against Christians and the violence against all things Western. In Libya we assisted helped to depose of Gaddafi without much tought what would happen after, now Libya is a failed state that resembles Somalia in that different Warlords control different areas of the country. Not to mention the issues in the Ukraine, the civil war in Syria, Yemen, the aggressiveness of China and Iran obtaining nukes.
It’s not just other parts of the World, but domestically that reality is biting us hard. Obamacare is train wreck, we have an artificially inflated stock market that is due for a large correction, unemployment numbers hide that millions have left the workforce and millions more are working part-time or underemployed, green energy is a costly fraud, Veterans are dying for lack of care, the NSA is spying on all of us, race relations are worse now, and our President loves to golf.
Little thought was given to what the Islamization of Northern Africa and the Middle East would do. What the takeover of 1/6th of the economy would do to our country, or what would happen when we retreat from the World. The theory seems to be that if we all gave up something that we all would be happier. A common redistributionist thought but taking from Peter to pay Paul has never worked. Making more countries Islamic Republics is not going to deter those that see us (the West) as evil or make more inclusive, it does the opposite. Providing health insurance at an inflated cost will not make people healthier, but it will incentivize many to do less and ask for more. Leaving a vacuum on the World’s stage is not going to make the World love us more, but it will allow others to fill the space to our detriment.
These lessons are not new, we have thousands of years of history behind us to teach us. Is not that we have lost the instinct to find out what went wrong or why but we have lost the ability to learn from the past. We have become so smug that we live in the 21st century that we feel that can ignore the past as we create our future. We feel that we can cross the raging rivers, no matter what evidence there is that we can’t. This transcends ideology whether Right or Left or Center. Innovation another great human trait, that has gotten us to were we are, only works if we listen to those voices from our past to help us guide us into the future.