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John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis makes passionate case against America withdrawing from the world
‘We ought not to forget the example of the Greatest Generation,’ former general tells young naval officer in Q&A

I’ve got news for you, General.

The Greatest Generation is long gone.

It reflected circumstances which no longer exist.

Indeed, if you read some detailed history, that phrase has been, to a considerable extent, misused even for what occurred during and immediately after WWII. It could fairly be called a self-congratulatory slap on the back by pop American historians.

In any case, what we have today in America is something quite ugly and dangerous. Greatness is not remotely associated with it.

Comparing America in, say, 1941, to America in 2017, is a bit like comparing Hitler’s life as a young boy to his life as a grown-up.
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Response to another reader who wrote “I would be truly impressed with America if it made its own country a shining example of how a country should be. Should be enough for them to be getting on with.”

Well said, indeed.

But they cannot think this way.

The current slogan of the American military-security monstrosity is “full-spectrum dominance” across a range of defined matters in the world.

It is not the thinking of enlightened or democratic people, but the thinking of tyrants.

Mattis forgets one of the truest statements ever made, Lord Acton’s dictum on power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely.

I very much believe America has crossed the threshold towards absolute corruption.

It is fit to lead no one.
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Response to another reader who wrote “It was not the US that went to war with North Korea, it was UN that authorized the war”:

You are only technically correct.

The UN was quietly pushed into the effort, just as the US has pushed and used the UN so many times for its own purposes.

Today, this phony effort to make every American decision about intervention appear international in character more typically uses NATO, an organization which today is more pliable and which can almost not be recognized when compared to its early purposes.

Even inside the Truman government, there was at first a serious question about whether Korea was worth fighting over.

It was not on the then-current list of places of real strategic importance to the United States, but America was under the witch-like spell of anti-communism at all costs and so decided to intervene.

Words like “losing this or that to ‘the commies’ or ‘the reds’” came quickly to the lips of various Congressmen and Senators. The atmosphere was poisonous.
North Korea was trying to reunite Korea, on its terms. Reunification has been a longing of all Koreans, but the US has stood in the way always, only willing to accept reunification on its terms.

America conducted the Korean War with total ruthlessness. At the outset, there was the infamous No Gun Ri massacre in which American troops slaughtered hundreds of civilians fleeing war for the south, including women and children, claiming later they feared spies and saboteurs.

America carpet-bombed North Korean cities for three years. General Curtis LeMay – the man who fire-bombed and leveled Japan, and later at the Pentagon pushed for an overwhelming first-strike against the USSR – later bragged that American bombing wiped out twenty percent of the entire country’s population.

It was much the same American approach as that which created a holocaust in Vietnam over the existence of a rump-state run by dictators, but one friendly to US interests, being re-united with the rest of that country. So, millions died horribly for that meaningless cause.

Considering all the fall-out over the decades after the Korean War, it likely would have been better and smarter to leave it to the Koreans themselves, a good general principle, leaving it to the locals, almost invariably ignored by America in its many post-WWII wars and interventions.

Under those circumstances, a unified Korea would certainly have evolved into something new over time, as virtually all communist states have. And there’s no use talking about dictatorships here because South Korea was ruled by dictatorial government for decades after WWII.

It is America which keep North Korea as “the hermit kingdom.”

A huge well-equipped American army to the south. Ships frequently offshore. Deliberately provocative plane flights. Regular war games on a massive scale. Thermonuclear weapons stored just over in Guam.

No diplomatic recognition. No direct talks ever, even now. No peace treaty even considered for going-on 70 years.

The US has been powerful and stupid here, as it has been in so many parts of the world.
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Response to a reader who said “Mattis must be one of those who simply don’t understand just how much the USA is loathed across planet earth. The vast majority of conflict, suffering and unrest is solely due to the actions of his country.”

None of America’s leaders understands that fact.

When they show up somewhere, it is all pomp and ceremony, making them feel good, no matter how twisted they or their secret mission may be.

Look at Nikki Haley.

An utterly ridiculous figure at the UN, embarrassingly preaching to and patronizing diplomats, who in many cases know far more about the matters under discussion than she does, yet of course she must be given all diplomatic courtesies.

The often highly-educated people listening to her truly ignorant speeches just have to grin and bear it, and, of course, like so many American diplomats, she actually threatens her listeners with reduced American financial support to the UN if they don’t agree with what she suggests. A thoroughgoing bully.

I should add, nor do America’s leaders really care what other people think. Remember candidate George Bush actually bragging and chuckling about how he never read the international section of his newspaper? It is a popular and widespread prejudice in America.

It is the pure arrogance of power, not really different in any detail to the attitude of great dukes in France in the early 1700s. Their carriages simply left peasants in their path as “road kill.”

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