by Dan Lucas
In 1945 the United States and its allies defeated imperialist Japan and NAZI Germany. At great cost and after great sacrifice the Allies stopped these two aggressor nations who had been committing horrific atrocities across the globe — atrocities like the Rape of Nanking and the Holocaust.
Then, based on some hard learned lessons after WW I, the United States committed to rebuild these former totalitarian nations as democracies. We made solid, long-term commitments to these countries and to their neighbors. We demonstrated our commitment with the Marshall Plan, with the Berlin Airlift and with a strong U.S. military presence as a counter balance to Communist Soviet and Chinese expansionist ambitions throughout the Cold War and its proxy “hot wars.”
I served in West Berlin as part as the Army of Occupation in Germany more than 30 years after the end of WW II. The U.S. still has numerous bases in Japan and Germany today — a remnant of our commitment at the end of WW II.
That was a different time in America.
The lessons of history are soon forgotten by new generations. Already by Vietnam the American media, public and voters were selling out U.S. forces in the field. Our enemies had learned that the way to defeat the most powerful military in the world was on the campuses, airwaves and streets of America.
The U.S. reneged on its commitments to the people of South Vietnam, including to the brave Hmong people. Commitments made by five different U.S. Presidents. The death toll after America’s abandonment has been estimated from several hundred thousand to 2.4 million South Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians at the hands of the North Vietnamese led Communists.
That abandonment has been followed by others.
At the conclusion of the first Gulf War in 1991, President George H. W. Bush first encouraged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein but then abandoned them — leaving them to face deadly retribution by Saddam’s ruthless regime.
As I wrote back in March, the Clinton administration gave security assurances in 1994 to Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine relinquishing the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. In the face of Russia’s current ongoing invasion of Ukraine, “those assurances have turned out to be meaningless.”
We are so ashamed of our behavior that our government and media can’t even acknowledge that Russia invaded the Ukraine — saying things like Russia’s “annexation” or “incursion”. You only say something like that if you want to justify not doing anything about it. As the Canadian CBC reported from a foreign relations expert “I think they don’t want to use the word invasion because it makes harder the next question: And what are you going to do about it?”
Another current abandonment is Iraq. President Obama finished pulling out U.S. forces in 2011 and then the world went on to watch this year as ISIS captured cities like Falluja, Mosul and Tikrit. Cities that had been freed with the blood of brave Americans. ISIS went on to commit terrors and horrors, “including mass executions, abducting women, and using girls as sex slaves, according to a UN report.”
Imagine you’re a witness to a murder by a powerful crime boss. You agree to testify because the district attorney promises to keep your anonymity. Your testimony sends the crime boss to prison, but then a subsequent DA decides your name and contact information should be made public information. How many people do you think will come forward to testify in the future? On an international level, who will trust Americans in the future? Who will agree to provide information on terrorists or serve as translators? Who will sign meaningful treaties with us?
President Obama isn’t to blame for the U.S. reneging on our promises to Ukraine and Iraq. As South Vietnam, Iraq and Ukraine learned the hard way, U.S. presidents come and go. Ultimately, it’s the will of the American people — expressed mainly through their votes — that determines whether or not we keep our word.
For some time now, the U.S. has shown the world we can no longer be trusted to keep our word. The world is a far less safe place because of it.
To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com