Losing credibility

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

APRIL 30, 2014 -- The Afghan War doesn't help our credibility.


Afghanistan has never been a threat to the security of the United States. We chased Osama Bin Laden from Tora Bora into Pakistan. The terrorists, Al Qaeda or Taliban came from Pakistan. George Crile's book, Charlie Wilson's War, tells of Afghanistan's gratitude for the United States ridding the Russians but the words "Al Qaeda" or "Taliban" never appear. As the World's Superpower, warring in Afghanistan going on thirteen years questions our military. Now our military is training the Afghans. Whoever trained the Taliban?

The Afghanistan War was the first war we never paid for. The sacrifice by our GI's is not met with a sacrifice at home. The Afghan War is not a national effort. We have always used the military to "spread democracy". After losing in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, we have learned the military can't change a country's culture.

President Obama pivots to Asia, deploying 2500 Marines to Australia to contain China. We were challenged by China's military in Korea and Vietnam and we retreated. Any military engagement with China threatens to go nuclear - must be avoided. Now, President Obama reassures Japan that if the Senkaku Islands are attacked, we will defend it. Nonsense. We are not sending GI's to be killed over uninhabited rock islands. Foreign policy must be realistic. Since Henry Kissinger declared "one China" in the Shanghai Communique, we're not sending GI's to be killed defending Taiwan.

The European Union and Russia have contested for Ukraine to join either side economically. The U.S. weighed in for the EU with 66 entities of the National Endowment for Democracy, stirring dissention, "spreading democracy". NED is not a private endeavor, but funded by Congress, appropriating millions to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFLCIO. When Putin offered Ukraine $15 billion in economic aid, Ukraine opted to join Russia's Eurasian Union and the government of Ukraine was overthrown. President Yushchenko had been elected by over a million vote majority. NED minions helped in the overthrow.

Now, we are caught thousands of miles from home, engaged in the overthrow of a Russian country, Ukraine. If Russia had been "spreading Communism", overthrowing the government of Mexico, the U.S. would have moved to protect U.S. interest. Putin now moves to protect Russia's interest. Crimea joins Russia in an uneventful election. The United Nations votes to dismiss Russia's annexation of Crimea as illegal. The vote in the UN split - 100 votes in favor, 11 votes against, 58 abstentions, with important countries of Brazil, China, India and South Africa abstaining. To cover our overthrow in Ukraine, we now demonize Putin as a tyrant, a billionaire and the U.S. imposes sanctions.

This week's BusinessWeek (4/24/14) tells of our business leadership compromising U.S. sanctions. "Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Visa, Pepsi Co., Alcoa" all plan to attend the St. Petersburg National Economic Forum in May. Today's Wall Street Journal (4/28/14) headlines: "U.S. Beefs UP Its Military Plans for China". The text: "Under the U.S. options, any new moves in the region by China to assert its claims unilaterally would be met by an American military challenge intended to get Beijing to back down". The New York Times (4/28/14) headlines: "U.S. and Philippines Agree to a 10-Year Pact on the Use of Military Bases". The text: "Still, administration officials said the deal was not intended to contain China". Again, the loss of credibility.

In December 2006, Alan Blinder, the Princeton economist, estimated that in ten years, the U.S. would offshore 30-40 million jobs. Corporate America continues to offshore its research, innovation, technology, production, jobs, payrolls - to build China. President Obama moves to contain China. Again, the loss of credibility.

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).

© 2014, 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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