I am a little bit skeptical this memorial day about many things today being in a philosophical disposition. I recall a church lawn with a cross representing powers of ten of each aborted child since 1974-something like 40 to 60 million.
I recently read George S. Patton’s poem on Armistice day ending the first world war-it has a glorious opinion about soldierly deaths.
I think though, that the decision of the U.S.A. to enter the First World war was perhaps the pivotal mistake in foreign policy of the last century. If the European powers had continued to grind each other down toward some kind of peace its unlikely that World War Two would have occurred, the holocaust also wouldn’t have happened and Lenin would have continued his N.E.P. reform policy and Stalin wouldn’t have become leader of the Soviet Union.
I believe that the Ottoman Empire would have continued in the middle east to slowly wither away with Arab enmity directed towards Turkey rather than the west, and the United State might have entered war on the side of China to liberate Manchuria occupied by Japan if Japan had attacked Pearl harbor and Attu which isn’t likely.
The cold war would never have happened and a German aristocracy resembling that of today’s Britain might have developed a stable social environment. The First World War ended with an armnistace leaving many German veterans convinced they had not lost. It also brought the end of the German aristocracy with a leftist led revolution to get rid of the war government and replace it with a popular government. That process led to many internal German changes such as the ending of the 700 year old Bavarian principality and the rise of the German Democratic Socialist party led by Adolph Hitler.
With a weakened Germany following the end of the First World War the Soviet Union was able to build up its military forces while Germany was tied down by the onerous terms of the armistice. With the aristocracy gone and populism rising with much communist activity the German Army leadership sent the charismatic Hitler to take over the German Democratic Socialist Workers Party and the rest is history; the populist NAZI party was able to agitate against the communists and received approval in that regard from the deposed aristocrats. Logical political developments as a series of reactions to internal and external political organization and events were challenges prompting responses. The United States failed to realize the consequences of destroying the comparatively moderate German aristocracy in creating a very imbalanced and unstable Europe with the military intervention.
When the United States intervened in the First World War it upset the balance that had been reached between Germany and Russia. Lenin had signed off on the treaty of Brest-Litovsk giving away the Ukraine to Germany, and it isn’t improbable that Stalin and others hated Lenin deeply for that later finding an excuse to poison Lenin.
With the second world war as has been said the last battle of the First World War the allies pumped up Stalinist Russia with arms and intelligence in order to roll up Hitler. If Clemenceau’s advice that the U.S.A. not sign a separate treaty with Germany that did not guarantee the peace had been followed another opportunity to avoid the Second World War might have forestalled the great changes ahead.
Because the Soviet Union presided over a wrecked Eastern Europe the Cold War and the nuclear arms race developed. The Vietnam War was enabled by the tremendous military power that the United States had enabled Stalin to gather during the Second World War and its aftermath.
When so many people die following bad foreign policy decisions its a little like a chess game in time that reduces the options one may take as the game unfolds. Now the U.S.A. is moving beyond the middle game in its bad political intervention decisions and failing to upgrade the quality of life of its citizens consistently.
That’s some of why I am skeptical today of Memorial Day observations by a nation pursuing oil development globally, polluting the atmosphere and spending more on war than realistic national defense of environment and quality of life of the poor.