US military dominance and various other miscellanea

Ian Welsh iwelsh@sympatico.ca
Sat, 27 Apr 2002 15:57:06 -0400


Hadn't read FoRK for a few days so I got the full American jingoistic blast
in one big go.  How amusing.

1)  The US has complete naval dominance greater than anything the British
ever dreamed of.

2) US infantry is very well equipped and very well supported by air and
naval power.  It is probably the premier heavy infantry in the world (with
some minor exceptions that aren't all that important).  But they're soft in
terms of the hardships they are willing to endure and the home front morale
is weak, very weak.  Not that that would stop a major war, all you need to
do to stop internal opposition is claim that they "hate America", that they
aren't "patriotic" and so on.  Remember, if  you're American and you have
doubts about the "War" on Terrorism you're obviously an America hater.  Love
it or leave it baby.

3)  Napoleon was indeed a great general.  However I'll go with someone like
Genghis Khan or Subhotai (sp).  In WWII Rommel was indeed great but I'll go
with Guderian.  Von Manstein wasn't too shabby either.  Hitler was a
military twit overall and his constant meddling may well have cost the
Germans the war (that and having the Italians as allies).

4)  The French resistance existed ... one of my friends was a German child
soldier in the occupation and he remember being shot at by resitance
snipers.  However it also didn't amount to much.  My favourite story along
those lines is that when his platoon had to withdraw from the village they
were based in the mayor advised them to put their heavy equiptment and
baggage in the back of the rearmost truck.  The villagers dug up an old WWI
machinegun and fired a few shots into the back of the truck.

5) Canada has always been in the thick of things.  In WWI we were in long
before the US and in WWII we were as well.  Our troups in both wars and in
Korea were generally considered elite and used to defend and take positions
that others had failed to take or that had to be held.  Seoul would have
fallen without us in Korea.  I don't think Canadians have anything to be
ashamed of in our military history.  I do, however, support doubling our
military budget, which is clearly inadequate.  The friendly fire incident
was regrettable but I'm not going to get all atwitter about it.  Since we
don't have enough troops for an independent command serving under US command
is better than the other option of serving under British command so that
they could, as always, use us as expendables.

6)  As Owen and Krugman pointed out LaPen is still a marginal force.  The
U.S. nutzo right isn't.  But both the US populist right and the European
right have some important points, some legitimate beefs, that neither the
left nor the corporate right wants to address.  For example immigration is
often used to keep wages down hurting the local working class, that's
indisputable.  Immigrant cultures often aren't compatible with Europena
cultures and there is a difference between the immigration of previous years
from European countries and the immigration today from non-European
countries.  I'm not saying that non-European immigrationis bad - I'm saying
it's different and pretending it isn't when everyone clearly knows that it
is just forces people over to people like LePen who are willing to say so.

7)  The US no longer controls over 50% of the world's GDP.  That's an
important point.  It means that while the US currently has complete military
dominance, that dominance can be challenged, albeit doing so would take a
buildup of at least a couple decades.  Likewise the existence of nuclear
weapons changes the strategic terain and options.  China and France have the
nuclear weapons necessary to make the US think twice, over time other
countries will gain them as well.  The US move to a doctrine that suggests
nukes are just another tactical option is a mistake in a world where nuclear
weapons are proliferating.  Keeping the taboo on nuclear weapon use high is
in the US interest given their massive conventional advantage.  But I
wouldn't expect the extra-chromosone conservatives currently running affairs
to understand that.  Using nukes is also one of the few things that could
cause Japan to re-arm in a major way.