Beyond the Cusp

March 19, 2014

Where is Our Winston Churchill Now That We Need Him?

Sir Winston Churchill over his years in military and public service identified three preeminent threats to the Western World. His most obvious and best known threat was, of course, Adolph Hitler and the Nazi threat to Europe and the world. Churchill was ridiculed and driven from Parliament being accused of being an old and befuddled warmonger for his incessant warnings about the threat posed by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. When the eventual truth was revealed when the Nazis invaded Poland after taking Austria and Czechoslovakia leading to World War II and Britain demanding the crazy old Churchill come and save them. The first warning came from one of Churchill’s earliest of writings when he was stationed in the Sudan where he named Islam which he identified as existing such that “No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.” He further observed Islam to be a “militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step.” The last one came during the twilight of his career in a speech given on March 5, 1946, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri which became known for the phrase he coined during that speech, the “Iron Curtain.” The phrase came near the middle of the speech when he stated, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere.” Where just a few weeks back if one were to name the main threat facing the Western World and world peace the selection would have likely included Iran near the top of the list followed by China and North Korea. That includes the remaining two threats identified by Winston Churchill and recent events have brought an addition to the list of threats as Russia has taken on expansionism by annexing the Crimea Peninsula taking it from the Ukraine by force. That brings to the front the menace Churchill had referred to in his “Iron Curtain” speech. The continuing veracity of the dire warnings and protestations in our time ring as echoes from the wise words of a great spokesman and leader who did not rise to fulfill his destiny until late in his life, but without the doddering old fool that was driven from the British Parliament where would out modern world be today? And worse, what would it look like had the British Isles not been under Churchill’s steadfast leadership and raw nerves of steel and resolute never say die attitude which gave a small set of islands the backbone to withstand the furies of hell unleashed by the Nazi war machine.


Now that I have likely proven that I find Winston Churchill to be one of the greatest men in all of history and the defining leader of the twentieth century, could somebody please point me to who might possibly fill similar shoes today when we once again have a world under duress from threats coming from all directions. Everyone is concerned with the awakened and ill-tempered Russian bear from its hibernation and stretching its paws towards Europe once again taking the Crimean Peninsula from a weakened and in disarray Ukraine which was defenseless against the invading force, a mere force of 6,000 troops, though there had been more than sufficient reserves should they have proven necessary. But the growls of the Russian bear are far from the only threat and may have some stiff competition from other nations which have also taken advantage of a world with a weak United States which has taken a noninterventionist foreign policy believing that if the United States took a passive and altruistic approach the world would appreciate the kinder, softer, hands-off policies giving nations the breathing room to act without the United States pressing them on their agendas and actions. We saw this more accepting approach with the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program where the United States forced an agreement which allowed Iran great amounts of wiggle-room with the belief that by respecting Iran and trusting their stated intentions that such trust would produce a willing and cooperative Iran and that respectful trust would produce an Iran which would eschew the pursuit of nuclear weapons. When the Chinese government declared an increase in their maritime borders in the South China Seas which included within their claimed waters where two Islands claimed and recognized generally as belonging to Japan, the United States instructed all civilian airlines and ships to respect the Chinese extended boundary and contact the Chinese as requested should they be transgressing the waters or airspace now within an extended China. To Washington’s credit, there was one pass made by United States naval vessels without requesting clearance from the Chinese, but these ships did simply pass through the waters and did not linger or otherwise really challenge the Chinese claims and demands. But the United States has shown far more than a more passive approach in the world and what has become obvious is far more troubling than being more passive and less imposing of United States policy in the world.


In so many cases the United States passivity regarding foreign policy would have been welcome compared to their spineless and timid approach to the real threats, actual attacks on personnel and unfolding conflicts we have seen all around the world. There was the constant retreating “red line” concerning Syrian use of chemical weapons until the United States had pretty much red lined itself backwards completely out of the picture. After allowing United States President Obama to squirm and be shown as the paper threat he is sufficiently long enough that the entire world was shown the reality that there is no United States force to be feared, then Russian President Putin saved the day by providing President Obama an exit from his cornered position but by doing so installed Russia as the preeminent power and only real super power which was willing to use their available military capabilities and forces. There was the crisis in Benghazi where the United States Ambassador to Libya along with one of the embassy assistants along with two former Navy Seals who without orders proved to have more presence of applied force than the entire remainder of United States military force as no orders to engage in rescue, and possibly an actual bonafide stand-down order, were ever given to the numerous military assets which were within the general theater and available. About the one foreign policy that has any force from President Obama has been to the detriment of almost every former ally of the United States throughout the Middle East, especially Israel and Egypt.


The latest threat the world is struggling to get a grip on is Russian forces under orders from President Putin taking control over the Crimean Peninsula and possibly posing an immediate threat to the rest of the Ukraine. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a moment of unprecedented clarity compared President Putin’s aggressions including their occupation of the two provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia in 2008 and the ongoing invasion of Crimea to the occupations of Czechoslovakia and Austria before they then invaded Poland forcing the start of World War II. There are some, including former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who firmly believe that Russia and Putin are not anywhere near finished and will be satisfied with just Crimea and possibly not even with taking the Ukraine as well. One truth that is obvious is that Russia will not simply settle with annexing Crimea as there is no actual land bridge between Russia and Crimea without crossing over the Ukrainian borders. This will require that the Russians also take control of at least a fair share of eastern Ukraine and if Putin is going to have to take the risks and have to actually militarily acquire any part of the Ukraine, especially as the Ukrainian military is readying their defense of the remainder of their country, then he will simply continue until he had completely defeated the Ukrainian military in order to assure that they would not pose a threat in the future and in the process annex the rest of the Ukraine. It would be difficult to judge which former Russian leader who used military force on the Ukraine and its people Putin most resembles, Catherine the Great or Stalin, except that I believe I remember an interview with President Putin where he spoke of his admiration for the strong leadership that was Stalin. The real question is will President Putin be satisfied with just the Ukraine or will knowing that he has a free hand to take as much as he desires and not expect any resistance from the United States and realizing that he has Europe cowed as he holds control over the gas and oil they require to survive.


If President Putin, Vlad the Invader, is really chomping at the bit to reassemble the Warsaw Pact nations under Russian rule and reverse what Vlad the Invader refers to as the greatest calamity of the twentieth century, the fall of the Soviet Union, then we should try and come up with what would be his most likely order of attack. The first three plums Vlad the Invader would likely take after he pockets the Ukraine without arousing any real opposition would be Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These three nations are ripe fruit just sitting there ready for Vlad the Invader to pluck and would likely take well under a week. Beyond these three Vlad the Invader will be pretty much out of easy pickings and his next move would probably prove to be more problematic. It is anybody’s guess whether an invasion of Belarus would prompt a response from the rest of the world. It is quite possible that even if the rest of the world sits shaking in their boots that Poland and likely Romania would take such a move very ominously as a direct threat to their security. Rumania would realize that if Russia under the rule of Vlad the Invader were to absorb Belarus, then Moldova would not pose much of an impediment to Vlad the Invader preventing him from opening a front to take Rumania next. If the world decides to avoid taking real and forceful measures to force Vlad the Invader to return to just simply President Putin before he decides to invade Poland, then the world would begin World War III for the exact same reasons that it responded to both German, and what many forget, Russian encroachment, dividing up Poland between Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Joseph Stalin’s Russia starting World War II. The question is, once this domino theory of Russian reconquest of the former Soviet dominated states, will another power also begin to exercise their military might which they have been expanding and building over the last decade to satisfy their expansive desires and ally with Russia just as Imperial Japan allied with Nazi Germany. The state in mind is Iran which has threatened Israel and the United States but has closer and more immediate desires sitting right off its borders; namely the oil fields right next door in northeast Saudi Arabia. Iran and Russia are already fairly close allies and such a united front would make sense as both Iran and Russia have designs on gaining more control over oil. How far will Vlad the Invader go and will it take actual military confrontation to end his expansionism or will it continue and also spur Iran to act on their expansionist designs. This is already boding ill, how much further will these threats go, how will they end, and will it take a new Winston Churchill to make the defiant stand and who would this new Winston Churchill be; those are the big questions and fears.


Beyond the Cusp


1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.


    Comment by OyiaBrown — March 19, 2014 @ 10:13 AM | Reply

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