Bolton’s Blunder: Hubris and Dead Empire Walking, by Yvonne Lorenzo

Hubris blinds to our own flaws and our enemies’ strengths. The US government right now may be history’s biggest case of hubris. From Yvonne Lorenzo at lewrockwell.com:

In hindsight, a good teacher can positively affect your life years into the future. When I was a teenager attending a private school in the 1970s, I took a course on Russian history. I remember my teacher well all these years later, but I also remember some of what he taught. Americans think of themselves as the principal cause of the defeat of Nazi Germany, but Russia lost tens of millions of lives defending against her invasion. And my teacher told me that a way to understand the existence of the Eastern Bloc, especially the partitioning of Germany was that Russia decided it would never be invaded at such great human cost by Germany and its allies ever again; if paranoid, there was a reason for the paranoia and the decision was less about Russia expanding and taking territory, which the nation didn’t need, but creating a buffer zone against possible incursion, hence also the partition of Germany so that she could never again become a mortal threat. I also recall his stating that Stalin couldn’t inspire the people to fight and die for Soviet ideals; instead, he returned to historical themes of saving the Fatherland, their homes, their nation from destruction and enslavement by a foreign enemy.

I mention my personal experience because I was reminded of what I learned so long ago in a new book, currently available on Amazon Kindle and in paper by Andrey Martyanov, entitled Losing Military Supremacy The Myopia of American Strategic Planning. Yet the title, although in fact the heart of book, doesn’t do the book justice because for interested Americans Martyanov explains the very different cultures, American and Russian. If “culture” is not a precise word, one should say that both Russia and America have unique experiences and the experiences of America today put her in great jeopardy.  Let me quote an excerpt from the book that makes this point better than I can:

While speaking to the US military at Fort Bragg after the official conclusion of US operations in Iraq in 2011, in what can only be described as an acute case of myopia and ignorance, President Obama doubled down on a his dubious “finest fighting force in history” claim, assuring all that “we know too well the heavy cost of that war.” Here was the problem: America doesn’t. With the exception of those who fought and died or were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and their immediate families, America, as it was with every American foreign war, never knew the real costs. Even as bodies of American GIs started to arrive in coffins into the US from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans continued, as if nothing really happened, to go to work, buy lattes at espresso stands, sell and buy cars, go on vacations, travel around the world and pay their mortgages. Normal life went on as if nothing of significance happened. The very phenomenon which was responsible for the United States emergence as a superpower—war, WWII in particular—was never a factor which had a real impact on the nation and created no real inhibitors in the political elites to their often ignorant, boastful and aggressive rhetoric nor created a necessity to study the subject, which was foundational to American prosperity and success after WWII. This still hasn’t been done.

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