Saturday, April 2, 2016

Quickies: The Democratized Battlefield

     Yesterday, Bret Baier’s Special Report included a long segment of Barack Hussein Obama preening over his “nuclear security summit” of “world leaders” and its supposed “progress.” What progress, you ask? Why, toward Obama’s goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. All nuclear weapons, including those in the arsenal of the United States.

     There are days I think “they’ll never learn.” There are other days on which I’m sure of it.

     Russell Baker once noted that no one has ever died because of an H-Bomb: “There is no other bomb with a comparable safety record. You could almost grow fond of a bomb like that.” Yet virtually no one ponders the why of the H-Bomb’s remarkable record as a peacekeeper. Mind you, it isn’t that the H-Bomb could conceivably sterilize the entire planet.

     As I wrote some time ago:

     Since Waterloo there have been no examples of the political leadership of a belligerent nation being part of its forces in the field. [NB: Tom Kratman notes that there have been two exceptions: Napoleon III at the battle of Sedan in 1870, and Santa Anna at the Battle of the Alamo.] Those who order armies into the field stay home. Seldom does a ruling-class politician even have a child in his nation’s army. The severance between decision and consequence, between authority and responsibility, could hardly be more complete – and it’s a great part of the reason so many nations are so willing to go to war over any and every issue, no matter how trivial.

     The United States, despite its large military and its ubiquity, has displayed more restraint about warfare than other historically dominant nations. There are many reasons for this, but the “citizen soldier” aspect of American military power should not be overlooked. Even a politician who has no blood stake in a contemplated war will have constituents to face, some of whom will have family members in the fight, come election time. He’ll have to persuade them that his decision to go to war was right and necessary. That’s not the case with the satraps of many other nations.

     The only way to give an autocrat a blood stake in the war he contemplates is to make it thinkable that he could be one of its casualties. Nuclear weapons, particularly the sort that can be delivered ballistically, do exactly that. Thus, nuclear weapons “democratize” the battlefield for the first time since the Age of the Warrior-King.

     For as long as there are men to whom power is everything – i.e., as long as there are men – there will be a need to make them feel vulnerable. Nothing does the job nearly as well as the thought of a nuclear warhead falling straight down at their heads. To reject that device – that leash that pulls the dictator irresistibly onto the same battlefield as his armies – is to reject the most effective peacekeeping instrument Mankind has yet devised.

2 comments:

  1. Great point with this article. Only quibble is that Prince Harry of the UK appears to have served at least adequately, and perhaps with distinction in the armed forces recently.

    But the main point is that atomics serve to put the heads of state's necks on the line is well taken. Of course, the idiot boy king is trying to eliminate them. At least for the US. I understand he released a list of our entire inventory to the world last week. A bigger fool has never inhabited the oval office.

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