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Military foreign policy

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


SEPT. 21, 2011 -- China builds a large army -- but only to maintain law and order. China has reasoned that any military engagement between China and the United States will surely go nuclear, destroying both nations. As we puff and blow about China's military, China doesn't worry about the U. S. military. Taiwan becomes a part of China with its investments and tourists, and under the Shanghai communiqué the United States already recognizes Taiwan as a part of China. The Wall Street Journal editorializes for sales of F-16s to defend Taiwan, but Congress is not going to war to defend Taiwan. China realizes that in globalization "it's the economy, stupid," and wins influence by economic assistance building railroads and using its biggest market in the world.

The United States develops a foreign policy by winning influence with military aid or spreading democracy by invasion. We forget the lesson of Vietnam: a country's culture cannot be changed militarily. Now we repeat the Vietnam mistake in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before we invaded Iraq in 2003, the United States was already protecting the religious sects in Iraq with over-flights from Incirlik, Turkey. After eight years of war, the religious differences in Iraq are even more pronounced. U. S. Senators ask for 25,000 troops to remain in Iraq at the end of the year - only to become a referee; only to become the enemy -- with our GIs wasted. It's best to withdraw and let the sects settle their differences.

The Pentagon says it will need three more years to develop an Afghan army to secure Afghanistan. Charlie Wilson told us we won the war in Afghanistan against the Russians because the Afghans hated foreigners. We, instead of the Russians, are now the foreigners. The Afghans don't want us. The warlords who still control Afghanistan with its drug culture don't want a national army. Pakistan doesn't want an Afghan national army. Deserters from the Afghan army are plants by the Taliban to identify weak spots. Petraeus thinks he can "out-CIA" the Taliban, but this will never happen. Save lives, save money. Out!

"We are so blinded by our military that we continue to prove Osama's case with troops in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and drone-killing in Libya, Yemen, and Somalia."

-- Hollings

Like China, the U. S. must depend upon "the economy, stupid," - which we are neglecting big time. Our best of capitalism, Corporate America, is off-shoring production and jobs faster than we can create them. We've got to make it profitable to produce in the United States. One way to do this is to enforce the War Production Act of 1950. We've been so intent on getting support for NATO that we have off-shored our defense production.

We are so blinded by our military that we recognized the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in every way but to ask "why." Time magazine published a special issue; daylong TV programs; but none discussed the reason Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Towers. Newsweek got close in an article of twisted logic by Andrew Sullivan, who wrote: "The bait was meant to entice the United States into ruinous, polarizing religious warfare against the Muslim world ...." The military has briefed me on Osama's attacks on the Air Force Barracks, the Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, his attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and each time it was because Osama thought the U. S. and west was already engaged in a "religious war against the Muslim World," i.e. a Second Crusade. We are so blinded by our military that we continue to prove Osama's case with troops in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and drone-killing in Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.

Now let's save face and stop the drone-killing wars. In 2006, the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review planned "the creation of a global environment inhospitable to terrorism" by stationing its military around the world to drone-kill terrorists and disrupt anything that could "offset traditional U. S. military advantages." In a nuclear world, the U. S. has no military advantages. In a hot war, drone-killing would be necessary. But a freedom-loving people can't approve the Pentagon's policy of eliminating terrorism by spreading terrorism.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2011, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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