Monday, May 25, 2009

It's not about tank rides

So tiresome, the careless use of "Hitler" in today's political discourse. It's an insult to those who died taking that madman down. But 64 years after the little corporal did the world a favor and blew his brains out, what if he's still a prime influence in US foreign policy?

While WW2 was a justified war, it's another insult to the victims, calling 1941-1945 the "good" war. Simply turned out after the shooting stopped, our enemies across both oceans were evil on a level that beggars the imagination. At the seats of power our leaders were well informed, but the whole thing came as a shock to ordinary Americans when revelations of death camps and "comfort houses" became common knowledge.

In the European front, in purely chessboard terms WW2 looks like the Napoleonic wars. In the Pacific, it was simply a burgeoning empire reaching out for hegemony and natural resources. WW2 is seen like it is because the folk on the other side of the chessboard were in this case, operating from the heart of a nearly unfathomable Manson-like ethos.

The Cold War, well domino theory was real. USSR was an empire, pursuing hegemony via asymmetrical methods, hiding naked aggression behind the scribblings of Marx. We had no choice but to engage the USSR in that series of proxy wars. That it was imbued with a sense of ourselves again in the role of liberators? Well, that thinking isn't a natively American value, and it hampered us, through the process to the outcome. Dumb and destructive as Marxism is, once it gets power it's seldom been practiced in a way that mimics Bushido Japan or Nazi Germany, except by Stalin and Pol Pot.

Now it's 2009, and part of the American heart still wants to find itself in a tank rolling through Paris in 1945, as crowds cheer. All wars are about land, power and natural resources. This WW4 is no different, and neither was WW2, seen in purely chessboard terms. Our foreign policy since 1945 has been influenced by a strong desire to re-fight Hitler. That has at times been used skillfully by amoral opportunists to some extent, I suppose, but mostly? It's now a very real American desire, and has been for sixty years; one more tank ride through Paris.

So yeah, that pathetic little psychopath still influences much of American foreign policy, in a very real way.

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